08 December 2016

Tota Pulchra Es

Today is the great Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, amazingly still considered an actual, all-day, Sunday-through-Saturday Holy Day of Obligation. If you have not yet heard Mass today, consider the 6:30pm Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

As Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is the primary patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful who assist at Mass at an Institute apostolate may obtain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

Daily Consecration of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to the Blessed Virgin Mary 

In the presence of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and with heaven and earth as our witness, we prostrate ourselves at thy feet, O Mary, Our Lady. 

We acknowledge Thee as our Mother, as the Immaculate Conception, living tabernacle of the Divinity, as Queen of angels and of men, as Mother of the Church and of the Catholic priesthood, and as refuge of the afflicted. That is why, small and weak that we are, we wish to consecrate to Thee our Institute, our families, our persons, our works, our future, all that pertains to us and is in us, and which God, in His immeasurable goodness, has entrusted to us for our good use.

We also consecrate to Thee the value of our good actions, past, present, and future, leaving to Thee the entire and full right of disposing of us and all that belongs to us. Mary, be our Mother; sanctify us, purify us, correct us, guide us, pray for us and protect us.

Help us to perfectly fulfill the duties of our state of life. Extinguish in us all self-love, which prevents Thy Divine Son, King and Sovereign Priest, from reigning in and around us.

Cover abundantly with thy maternal protection all the parishes, chapels, schools, works and missions entrusted to the Institute, and mayest Thou forever impede the devil from reigning, in any manner, in this Institute which desires to be entirely Thine for the greater glory of God, the exaltation of our Mother the Holy Catholic Church, and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.

07 December 2016

I Can't Wait to Read This One

"Justice is a big rug. When you pull it out from under one man, a lot of others fall too."

--Dorothy Kilgallen

One of the benefits of being married to the best woman in Christendom is being deprived of cable and satellite television. What's that, you say? Yes, my beloved wife Sharon does not believe in spending money on television. I can spend money on whiskey, bubble gum, books, trips, jewels, binoculars, and the head of a mule, but not on television.

This sacrifice I make to marital harmony (and no doubt to the betterment of my soul and the souls of my children) has one great material benefit: my lazy, TV-watching self has to take what comes over the old antenna. In this way I see stuff I would never take the time to see. 

This reality is a mixed bag, to be sure. For instance, a few years ago I became a regular viewer of the '80s dreck Knight Rider. I snapped out of it soon enough. But, on the other hand, I was fascinated by a local PBS show about St. Louis brick-making companies in the early 20th Century. Sad to say, I couldn't look away.

All this leads me to the inimitable Dorothy Kilgallen. Not having cable, I don't get the Game Show Network. I get the cheap, antenna-TV knock-off Buzzr, which sometimes comes in if the antenna is positioned justright. On this network, late at night, one may see the classic, horribly-preserved-on-film game show, What's My Line?.

One thing that some annoying and ignorant critics say of we rigid, traditional Catholics is that we hanker to a mythical, halcyon day of goodness and decency that never actually existed. I defy you to watch What's My Line? and tell me that class, decency, good manners and intelligence have not practically disappeared in the last fifty years. The panelists, host and guests of this show are witty, urbane, and cultured. It is a joy to watch. For one moment, compare this show to the current, Steve Harvey iteration of Family Feud. Do it. You now have an encapsulation of the fall of Western Civilization.

So, having had the joy to watch What's My Line?, I have developed an after-the-fact fascination and fandom for the late, great Dorothy Kilgallen. She is a personification of wit, wisdom, charm and social grace. She was a television star at the beginning of the so-called golden age of television.  Yet Dorothy Kilgallen was not an actress of stage or screen-- she was a newspaper reporter, and a good one at that. 

Kilgallen's success as a woman in a field where women were rarely seen (and please, I am no lefty-feminist, so I'm not going too far with this) was proof of the quality of her work. Tough as nails. Chicago-born, New York educated. Irish. Catholic. 

Her life was tragically and suspiciously cut short. She died in 1965 due to ethanol and barbituate poisoning. Yet, this cause of death might have been a Hillary-style deal, because there is nothing in her background that suggested addiction. She was not considered depressed, let along suicidal. Yet suicide or accidental overdose was the cursory conclusion, and likely you have never heard about her in any context apart from the game show.

So, was she murdered? And why in the world would anyone want to murder her?  

Let's see. What story was she investigating before her death?

The JFK assassination. And when Kilgallen was on a story, she followed it to the end. To the truth. Just saying.

I am very much looking forward to reading The Reporter Who Knew Too Much, by Mark Shaw.

06 December 2016

Days of '49

I'm old Tom Moore from the bummer's shore in that good old golden days
They call me a bummer and a gin shot too, but what cares I for praise ?
I wander around from town to town just like a roving sign
And all the people say, "There goes Tom Moore, in the days of '49"
In the days of old, in the days of gold
How oft' times I repine for the days of old
When we dug up the gold, in the days of '49.

My comrades they all loved me well, a jolly saucy crew
A few hard cases I will recall though they all were brave and true
Whatever the pitch they never would flinch, they never would fret or whine
Like good old bricks they stood the kicks in the days of '49
In the days of old, in the days of gold
How oft' times I repine for the days of old
When we dug up the gold, in the days of '49.

There was New York Jake, the butcher boy, he was always getting tight
And every time that he'd get full he was spoiling for a fight
But Jake rampaged against a knife in the hands of old Bob Stein
And over Jake they held a wake in the days of '49
In the days of old, in the days of gold
How oft' times I repine for the days of old
When we dug up the gold, in the days of '49.

There was Poker Bill, one of the boys who was always in a game
Whether he lost or whether he won, to him it was always the same
He would ante up and draw his cards and he would you go a hatful blind
In the game with death Bill lost his breath, in the days of '49
In the days of old, in the days of gold
How oft' times I repine for the days of old
When we dug up the gold, in the days of '49.

There was Ragshag Bill from Buffalo, I never will forget
He would roar all day and he'd roar all night and I guess he's roaring yet
One day he fell in a prospect hole, in a roaring bad design
And in that hole he roared out his soul, in the days of '49
In the days of old, in the days of gold
How oft' times I repine for the days of old
When we dug up the gold, in the days of '49.

Of the comrades all that I've had, there's none that's left to boast
And I'm left alone in my misery like some poor wandering ghost
And I pass by from town to town, they call me a rambling sign
"There goes Tom Moore, a bummer shore in the days of '49 "
In the days of old, in the days of gold
How oft' times I repine for the days of old
When we dug up the gold, in the days of '49.

03 December 2016

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. [...]