02 December 2016

"This is not communion for the weak; it is communion for the stable and solid and respectable."

Catholic New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has written an analysis of the Amoris Laetitia conundrum.  The title is the message: The End of Catholic Marriage.

Mr. Douthat, sometimes irritating (he writes for the NYT to begin with...), is no intellectual slouch. Nor is he a moonbat "liberal" Catholic, as if.  Calling the Amoris Laetitia of Francis' hints, henchmen, feckless bishops and petulant silence "the end of Catholic marriage" is. Right. On. the. Money.

I'll give you one three-paragraph excerpt from the full piece. I add one small aside, which you may note below. It is nails. This is the most brazen attack on Christ and His Church since Arius.

Which is why, finally, McElroy [SLC note: you may substitute "Kasper" or even "Francis of the airplane magisterium" and it comes out the same] seems to take for granted that nobody in such a second marriage would ever consider permanently leaving it, or permanently living as brother and sister, or permanently refraining from receiving communion. Instead, the decision to receive the body of Christ while living conjugally with someone who is not, from the church’s perspective, your true wife or husband is treated as a question of when, not if — do it now if you feel ready, wait a little longer if it might hurt your kids or your ex-spouse or you feel like have some spiritual maturing left to do.

This is a teaching on marriage that might be summarized as follows: Divorce is unfortunate, second marriages are not always ideal, and so the path back to communion runs through a mature weighing-out of everyone’s feelings — the feelings of your former spouse and any kids you may have had together, the feelings of your new spouse and possible children, and your own subjective sense of what God thinks about it all. The objective aspects of Catholic teaching on marriage — the supernatural reality of the first marriage, the metaphysical reality of sin and absolution, the sacramental reality of the eucharist itself — do not just recede; they essentially disappear.

Which means that is not at all a vision under which a small group of remarried Catholics in psychologically difficult situations might receive communion discreetly while they seek to sort those situations out. It is, in fact, by implication almost the reverse: The only people who might feel unready for communion under Bishop McElroy’s vision of spiritual maturation are Catholics whose lives are particularly chaotic and messed-up, who don’t feel sure at all about where they stand with God, to say nothing of their kids and ex-spouses or lovers or boyfriends or whomever. Is Sonia the prostitute from Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” ready for communion in the diocese of San Diego? Maybe not; maybe she should wait a while. But the respectable divorced father of three who gets along well enough with his ex-wife and has worked through all his issues in therapy can feel comfortable receiving ahead of her. This is not communion for the weak; it is communion for the stable and solid and respectable.

01 December 2016

Raymundus Magnus

Can I please get an Amen for the ongoing witness and leadership of Raymond Cardinal Burke?

His Eminence is the Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis.  He chose that title, and not that of his titular Church given him at his elevation. How blessed are we in Saint Louis to have had such a shepherd, and who still treasures his flock here?  It is unnecessary to go over his entire history here, but let's instead focus on his efforts to defend the faith in this pontificate.

Cardinal Burke tirelessly promotes the faith, the liturgy, and the rights of Catholics. He does so publicly and privately, and in the ecclesial and political arenas. 

Mistake not, he is hated by the enemies of the Church, and often underappreciated by Catholics themselves.  He does not seek the spotlight, and does not shun its glare when the faith is at stake. He is a true warrior for Christ. Gentle. Strong. 

He asks us to storm heaven with prayer, especially the Rosary. For what intention? How's this:

That bishops and priests will have the courage to teach the Truth and defend the Faith against all her enemies both within the Church and outside the Church. And may all confusion be dispelled from the Church.

He is among the leaders of the effort to defend the Church's timeless teaching, Her dogmas and doctrines, concerning marriage and the Eucharist. And really to hold the faith as it was taught by the Lord Himself and handed down in Sacred Tradition. And if the unthinkable should happen and the pope not uphold the faith, then to bring blessed clarity.  No, His Eminence is not absolutely alone, but he stands with few others of the hierarchy. He stands, at considerable risk (as the worldly would reckon it), to witness to Christ. For the love of Christ and His Church.

This is a period all too reminiscent of the Crucifixion, and how few there were to stand with Our Lord then?

And he stands for the timeless Liturgy, which is part and parcel of standing for the Catholic faith. 

He, and some few others of the hierarchy and laity, stand in the gap. He is holding the line.

Being a life-long St. Louisan, and knowing the Cardinal, I want to publicly support His Eminence, express my gratitude for his witness, and assure him of my prayers.

Can I get an Amen?

30 November 2016

Feast of St. Andrew; Beginning of Novena to the Immaculate Conception

Happy Feast day of the brother of St. Peter! St. Andrew is not only the patron saint of Scotland, but also of Russia.  As my brother said to me, what better day to pray for the conversion of Russia as Mary desires?

This segues nicely into the Novena to the Immaculate Conception which begins today at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.  The full schedule is here, Mass tonight at 6:30pm.

Egypt Loves the New Sweeties of the White House

CNN's ratings might improve if they hired this guy. At least he is entertaining.

29 November 2016

"Will they never blush?"

I stumbled across an extremely well-measured and insightful take on the fracas of the possibly heretical exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the unanswered dubia of the four faithful Carndinals at the blog That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill. The title of this post comes from that piece. In what ought to embarrass any Catholic worthy of the name, Francis does not at once--ever?-- defend the faith, and he and his cohorts seem not to show embarrassment. Indeed, will they never blush?

I wanted to post just a few excerpts here. As the article is quite long, I really think it merits your full reading there to give these excerpts the proper context. I agree with the takes, but in the proper context. Just to give a taste, consider the following items:

The Church is the possession of Christ. It doesn't belong to itself. The Church is united to Jesus Christ. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. The whole Church, including Peter, belongs to Christ. He Who says 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' (for Peter never says that Peter is the Way, the Truth and the Life, nor does the Lord say that of Peter) is always both the giver and the possessor of authority and it cannot be given by the Giver and yet stolen by the recipient. Christ's authority is never removed from Him, He himself never dispenses it only for it to be taken from Him. The power exercised by the Pope belongs to Christ. That which He gives, He also retains. Christ gives His authority to Peter as His Chief Shepherd on Earth but Christ never ceases to be the Chief Shepherd Himself. He delegates to Peter authority that, even when given, is never lost by the Giver Himself.

Thus we see that Peter is not the possessor of authority. How can he be if he is the recipient of authority - always the recipient. And he exercises papal power by virtue of being the recipient of power from on High. It is not self-generated. He cannot separate his authority from the will of Christ and exercise it divorced from Christ's will without some form of censure from Successors of the Apostles with care for souls. The authority given to Peter will until the Second Coming of Christ pass to another who comes to fill his Office, but it never passes from Christ to another to the effect that Christ's authority is diminished. He is all-powerful. Peter is not. He is the Word of God. Peter is not. He is God. Peter is not! The Supreme Authority in the Church is Jesus Christ, the Divine Head, in Whose name the Pope - we pray - speaks and acts. The authority placed within the hands of Peter is not Peter's own authority but Christ's authority and just as it is that Peter's authority over the Church is not Peter's own possession but Christ's, so it is that the Church founded upon Peter belongs not to Peter but to Christ. Christ will render an account from every Pope for how this donation of power has been exercised in his name.

Yes it is Christ who says, 'Tu es Petrus', not Peter who says, 'I am Peter' and he is Peter as long as he enjoys Communion with Christ in saying, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the World', but like any of us, he is just as easily Judas as long as he breaks faith with Christ or betrays him or hands Him over to the wicked. God regards the free will of the Pope to be as sacred a gift as that of our own. The Pope enjoys papal authority because it is conferred from above, but he himself is not from above. Peter is as bound to obedience to the Faith he receives as you or I. If he wantonly breaks faith with Christ, he is as much cast adrift from the Barque as you or me.


So when the Pope says such things as 'if the Pope says that black is white then we should believe that it is white' Catholics everywhere can say that if Christ and the Fathers of the Church, if the Magisterium in the service of the Truth and the Salvation of mankind says that white is indeed white and black is indeed black, we can say quite categorically that white is white and black is black. We do not have to believe a lie and be told that to believe a lie is some kind of disloyalty to the Pope. And if the Pope says that pastors exercise their pastoral duty best by rejecting a vision of life which is black and white, signifying a preference for 'shades of grey', we can say that there must be times when the distinction between black and white, or good and evil must be made absolutely clear for the good of souls. For this is in the service of Christ the Lord. And if the Pope says that certain people wish to see things in 'black and white' and uses that as a tenuous justification to refuse an answer to some very simple questions concerning faith and morals from his Cardinals, in the service of Christ, His Church and the Salvation of souls, we can say that this is an injustice to Christ and to the flock over which the Pope has been given authority to tend, to serve, to instruct, to teach and to confirm in the perennial Faith of the Church.

All this can be said and in this critical time even must be said by those who know that the Pope is the recipient of authority given to him for a unique and particular purpose in the service of the truth, in the service Christ and His Church. If a Pope places the souls in his paternal care at grave risk or peril by teaching error or attempting to build a faith at odds with Jesus Christ the Lord, then those who ask questions seeking clarification in line with the teachings of the Magisterium do so not with malice or ill-intent, but in fidelity to their Lord and to Peter, who was once resisted to his face, in person, by Paul. All this can and must be said because Peter does not act in isolation. He is the possessor of nothing in the Church. Nothing belongs to him, not even his Throne and most particularly the Faith of Christ does not belong to him. This belongs to the man or woman in the pew as much as it belongs to the Pope. I am as capable of changing Truth as the Pope is. That is, completely and utterly incapable.


No Catholic should have to imagine that he may one day have to choose between fidelity to his Conscience and fidelity to the Pope, or that these could ever be in any way contradictory. But if that day comes, choose Conscience, because the Pope is not God nor is he the Voice of Almighty God. Your Conscience, however, is. This will be in the service of Christ and of Peter. For there is but one Judge. Peter will not judge you on the Last Day and read your Conscience to you, to your eternal Salvation or to your condemnation. It is Jesus Christ Who will do that. May He, the Lord of all, preserve His Church from error and schism and make us faithful to Him, until the end, come what may even if what comes our way is Fr Antonio Spadaro implying, 'He's Pope so there!' or Cardinal Tobin saying, 'Suck it up, he's Pope so there!' or the head of the Greek Latin Church, Franciscan Fragiskos Papamanolis saying that to question the Pope's document is 'heresy' or 'schismatic' or 'apostasy' for no reason but 'He's Pope, so there!'

We will hear such things a lot. Such statements may be excitable exclamations of papal power, but such statements do not cover these men in much glory now nor do they give any hint as to whether these men will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away when the Chief Shepherd appears. It is easy indeed for a Pope to decide one day to remake the entire Church in his image and place Christ, His Teachings and throw what has preceded him into what he regards as the dustbin of history. Unfortunately for that Pope, and his entourage, it is intellectually and theologically-speaking impossible for him to do that while he or those who support him in this work of destruction claim that he does so with Christ's blessing. This would be a delusion of gigantic proportions and not a very convincing one at that. A Pope might change his mind, but a Pope cannot change God's mind. God can change the Pope, but the Pope cannot change God. New Popes, true Popes, false Popes may appear, but not, in reality, new Gods, true Gods or false Gods. There is but One True God. He is Eternal. [...]

28 November 2016

The Nightmare before Christmas

Fr. Brian Harrison has written a piece for The Remnant Newspaper taking on Francis' comments labeling "proselytism among Christians" as a grave sin.  Yes, he said that.  

Anyway, Fr. Harrison does such a good job, I thought I'd repost it here:  

From a recent (November 2016) off-the-cuff papal plane interview:

"Proselytism among Christians, therefore, in itself, is a grave sin,” said Pope Francis.

The journalist then asked, “Why?”

“Because it contradicts the very dynamic of how to become and to remain Christian,” he said. “The Church is not a soccer team that goes around seeking fans.”

It would be hard to conceive of a more superficial, more puerile, remark on relations with other Christian denominations. How much lower can the papacy sink - in terms of both cheap jibes that demean and dishonor the supreme office of Christ's Vicar on earth (lambasting an opposing position with a crude straw-man caricature that would discredit a junior high schooler) and outright heterodoxy?

The American left is currently urging the Electoral College to hand the White House to Hillary on the grounds that Trump is "manifestly unfit to be President". Dare we hope that the scarlet-clad Eminences of the Church's own Electoral College will soon declare Francis "manifestly unfit to be Pope"?

I mean . . . Trying to help non-Catholic Christians, by reasoned argument and apologetics, to recognize and embrace the fullness of revealed truth - and for Francis, that certainly qualifies as "proselytism" - is now to be condemned as sin? And indeed, grave sin? Even though Vatican Council II (to which the Holy Father professes his full adherence) clearly restates that all have a moral duty to seek, embrace and hold fast to this truth of the Catholic Church (cf. Dignitatis Humanae, #1)? Even though the Council (Lumen Gentium, #14) and the Catechism (#846) reaffirm the dogma "Outside the Church there is no salvation", explaining it to mean that those who recognize the Catholic Church as embodying the true religion, yet refuse to enter or remain in her, cannot be saved?

I myself am a convert from Presbyterianism. Prompted by the aforesaid conciliar teaching, I became a Catholic in order to save my soul. The Catholic faith I have professed now for 42 years is the most precious gift I have received. And now the head of Christ's Catholic Church on earth, no less, is telling me that those Catholics who by personal conversation and written argument helped persuade me to abandon my Protestant heresies and embrace the fullness of revealed truth were thereby committing grave sin? And he's justifying this excoriation of convert-seeking with a vapid "explanation" that explains nothing ("Because it contradicts the very dynamic of how to become and to remain Christian”)? 

How many previous Successors of Peter must be rolling in their graves at such comments!  This, coming from a pope, is . . . outrageous. Mind-boggling. Unspeakable. Incredible. The stuff of nightmare. It is calling good evil, and by implication, evil good. Sorry, I can't find adequate words here, so will simply give up seeking them and sign off.

23 November 2016

The Day before Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement

Beginning tomorrow you will be able to watch It's a Wonderful Life on a coninuous loop through Christmas Day.  

You have been warned.

On the other hand, pumpkin spiced products are being shown the door. A decent exchange.

For your amusement, I want to link to an ancient post and an even more ancient link to another site with two somewhat beside-the-point economic and political takes on the Frank Capra classic. The late, lamented Reader X-- who won't read this site anymore-- used to make me laugh with his anti-Wonderful Life rant about how it infantilizes the faith. He, and the two takes linked above, sure do take that movie seriously. 

I enjoyed the surface misogyny of young George Bailey's interaction with Mary, who sure could have done better. I also enjoyed a druggist who couldn't read the word POISON on his bottle of, well, poison. Dancing for drinks in a rough bar, sitting next to an odd gentleman ordering a flaming rum punch (looking at you, JJR), firing gunshots indiscriminately into a crowd, screaming in horror that your wife might acually work at the Library-- who hasn't done this? And what's with Sam Wainwright and the hee-haw! thing?  Bizarre.

I sometimes look at the inner workings at the Bailey Bros. Building & Loan and think I'm looking at my own firm. Chilling vision, to be sure. Am I George or Uncle Billy? Maybe the bird.  Ah, yes, but my wife is Donna Reed, so there's that.

Anyway, it all comes together quite well for me, in what our Rector would call a gesamtkunstwerk. I enjoy the heck out of it.

But the real question still remains: How can a person set up a podcast and call himself "The Catholic Movie Guy" if he hasn't seen It's a Wonderful Life?

Answering Spadaro, Tobin, Cupich and Their Ilk: St. Edmund Campion

“In condemning us you condemn all your own ancestors - all the ancient priests, bishops and kings - all that was once the glory of England, the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter. For what have we taught, however you may qualify it with the odious name of treason, that they did not uniformly teach? To be condemned with these lights… by their degenerate descendants, is both gladness and glory to us. God lives; posterity will live; their judgement is not so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to sentence us to death.”

--Saint Edmund Campion, at his sentencing, 1581

Cum autem tradent vos nolite cogitare quomodo aut quid loquamini dabitur enim vobis in illa hora quid loquamini. Non enim vos estis qui loquimini sed Spiritus Patris vestri qui loquitur in vobis.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 November 2016

Good Morning!

Too much, and not enough, going on to post constructively. The reign of Francismercy continues on a collision course with the truth and its consequences. The dubia of the four Cardinals sits, not really answered, as Banquo's Ghost while a new consistory of cardinals occurs. And don't I know that posting snide comments on the internet isn't really intellectual engagement?

Of course, for some reason we are not to notice or wonder about, the new cardinals must go and see the Pope Emeritus.  For his blessing? Approval? Personal whim? No matter. In all of the consistories of Pope Francis, Benedict has been present. Don't ask why. Such questions are idle.

Like I said, not enough and yet plenty. There is a rumor about today that the Apostolic letter to be issued by the Pope to mark the close of his Year of Francismercy will contain a present-- maybe a prelature-- to the SSPX.  Such rumors are always wrong, until the day they are right.  We shall see.

Watch and pray. Enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather. Until next week...

15 November 2016

Perhaps an Apology to Cardinal Burke Might Be in Order?

I believe His Eminence deserves an apology from those many pundits who faulted him for silence or weakness in the face of the promulgation of the Exhortation of Desolation, and the subsequent letter from the Pope to Argentine bishops confirming a sacrilegious interpretation of the same as it relates to unrepentant public adulterers receiving Holy Communion.

I believed then that the Cardinal's response was, though seemingly subdued, at least adequate in that it explained to dismayed faithful that such a document could not form part of the authentic magisterium. Wrong, said most. Weak, said all.

As it turns out, the Cardinal had taken steps commensurate with the level of threat as it became necessary. He was not idle. When other interpretations were possible of this shameful document, he gave them. When not, he acted with the mind of the Church.

We now know that he and the other three Cardinals responsible for the dubia had acted prudently. First, as St. Paul advised, they remonstrated privately. While Francis was silent and they were castigated for weakness, they waited.

Now they make the dubia public, and they are in a position of forcing an answer: either an official interpretation that precludes violence to the moral law, or an admission of guilt by guilty answer or guilty silence. Checkmate.

It is for Francis to declare himself Peter-- or Arius-- or Honorius.

This isn't the last we hear from these dubia.

In this faithless time, we can be grateful for Cardinal Burke and those other few willing to shepherd.

Maybe an apology is in order?