You aren’t going to believe this. Grace Community Church of Seal Beach is still sending me their newsletter. But wait there’s more. In the Feb. newsletter Dr. Shoemaker doesn’t promote the pope as a Gospel preacher; he doesn’t promote the creed, liturgy, and homily of the Catholic Church as going to the heart of the Gospel; instead, he goes to a whole new level of apostasy in bringing criticism to reformers, and in promoting the Catholic counter-reformation and Charles Borromeo who “directed and fervently enforced the decrees of the Council of Trent, fought tirelessly for peace in the wake of the storm caused by Martin Luther… [and] was one of the towering figures of the Catholic Reformation” (Shoemaker, Feb. newsletter). Dr. Shoemaker’s zeal for Rome has moved him to promote the heroism of a man that “fervently enforced the decrees of the Council of Trent.” The Council of Trent boldly declared:
“If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord; or, that they are more, or less, than seven, to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; or even that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament; let him be anathema.” Seventh Session CANON I
“If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not in deed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.” Seventh Session CANON IV
“If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.” Thirteenth Session CANON I
“If any one saith, that, in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is not to be adored with the worship, even external of latria; and is, consequently, neither to be venerated with a special festive solemnity, nor to be solemnly borne about in processions, according to the laudable and universal rite and custom of holy church; or, is not to be proposed publicly to the people to be adored, and that the adorers thereof are idolators; let him be anathema.” Thirteenth Session CANON VI
Some may read his letter as a “nuanced” promotion of Charles Borromeo and the counter-reformation. Nuanced promotion of pope, priest, heresy, and counter-reformers is exactly what we should expect to see from a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Matt 7:15)
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:29-31)
We must rebuke him sharply with all who would align themselves with him and his apostasy. We must warn the FGBC churches and call for Shoemaker’s expulsion from the national ministerium. Each of us must take seriously the Lord’s command to “Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge -- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim 6:20-21).
(St. Charles Borromeo) As a true Pastor who watches over his flock, he was alert to the way error was being presented at his time and took a strong position against it. Like many other preeminent figures of the Counter-Reformation, he helped Catholic doctrine progress by developing the doctrine that Protestantism denied. In his written works, he deduced new developments from truths already known. His position was always militant, as a Bishop should be. He was not an ecumenical Prelate who accepts little parts of truth that the error might have in order to appease the heretic. He would analyze the ensemble of the heresy he was dealing with and discern its ultimate bad intentions. Then he would refute the error in these malicious points and develop the opposite doctrine of the Church.
St. Charles Borromeo was not only a great Bishop of the Counter-Reformation, but in a certain sense he was the Bishop of the Counter-Reformation. This title is his not just because he was a very learned man, but rather because he became the very archetype of a Bishop. He was not satisfied with writing books against the errors of the time, which he did. But he did even more, he personified the truths he defended in his books. He became the very symbol of what he wrote.
I could describe various facets of St. Borromeo that made him a model Bishop if I had more time. But this would make me late for the meeting that follows this one. So let me summarize his life in an example I find very significant.
A Cardinal, as you know, is supposed to dress with pomp, grandeur, and solemnity to glorify Our Lord Jesus Christ before men. In addition to being a Prince of the Church, St. Charles Borromeo was a temporal Lord in Milan, born into a great and noble Italian family. In his 20s, he was entrusted with the responsible post of Papal Secretary of State. Therefore, he used to dress and appear in great style.
Once his carriage was on its way to one of his appointments when a simple friar, who was walking on the road, approached it. St. Charles Borromeo ordered the driver to stop the vehicle. The friar greeted him and said:
“Your Eminence, how nice it must be to live the life of a Cardinal, to wear such splendid clothes and travel in a magnificent carriage! Surely it is much more agreeable than to be a simple friar like me, and walk by foot.”
Cardinal Borromeo kindly invited the friar to accompany him. The friar seated himself next to the Cardinal and the journey re-commenced. Shortly the friar began to cry out in pain, because the beautiful cushions of the benches were placed over a board of sharp iron nails of penance that the Cardinal normally used to mortify himself. The pain became more acute with every movement of the vehicle. The friar could not support such mortification, and begged that the carriage stop for him to get out. Relieved, he returned to his "walk by foot."
That is to say, the silks and crystals of the luxurious carriage were meant to be seen by the people to glorify God and the dignity of his post. Underneath the splendid appearance of a Cardinal, the Saint continued to practice penance for his sins and those of his flock.
We can ask St. Charles Borromeo to intercede with Our Lord and Our Lady for several things on his feast day: • for the reform of today’s Bishops who so often are very different from the model he represented, • for the restoration of the seminaries, so immersed in bad morals and false doctrine, • and finally, for the restoration of the entire Holy Catholic Church today as he helped to restore her in his times. For ourselves personally, we might ask him to give us his vigilance against heresy and his heroic sense of sacrifice.