01 September 2015

Just One More Reason to Go

God's Lifeline for Troubled Times Ahead?: Comparing SSPX faculties for Absolution and Summorum Pontificum

The news of the day is that the Pope has decreed that the faithful who approach priests of the Society of St. Pius X for confession during the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy will receive valid and licit absolution.

Praise God for this announcement; it is undeniable good news to all Catholics, regardless of one's previous view on the validity of SSPX absolutions.

I will not be the one to give vent to cynicism on the motives or timing of this announcement (though, understandably, the mind seeks to find the logical play in the move from all sides). It is good sometimes just to be grateful and leave it at that. The Pope deserves thanks, and I for one thank him.

And whatever is the motivation for this, and for that matter whatever the need for it, my take is similar to what I felt upon the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. Though it is now known that the traditional Mass had never been abrogated, and that the faithful could always have assisted at it, many Catholics were, in good faith, ignorant of this, and were unable in conscience to go.

After Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio, I believed that God was ensuring that all the faithful who wished to do so could now attend the Mass without any cloud of illegitimacy. Thus, no matter what calamities might befall, there was no hovering doubt to prevent access to the sacraments in the ancient rite.

In like manner, now (for the upcoming year at least) any Catholic can seek absolution in the traditional form from the Society. Why does this matter? Well, the reach and presence of the SSPX far exceeds the FSSP, ICRSS, and other priests. The Fraternity and the Institute are growing but are not yet present in the number of countries and dioceses as is the Society. It is a simple matter of availability.

Certainly, one can imagine a situation in the next year that persecution, schism or calamity could make it difficult to find a confessor. This act of the Holy Father, like that of his predecessor, removes doubt and widens access to the sacraments.*

God is good indeed. He has a plan more perfect than ours, and one that cannot be thwarted.

Let us all go forth with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:16)

*As an aside, even sedevacantists acknowledge the apostolic succession and validity of SSPX orders, so I guess Pope Francis' mercy really does reach everyone.

"To Spread the Reign of Christ in All Spheres of Human Life": on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Laudetur Iesus Christus!

On September 1, 1990, the Feast of St. Giles, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was canonically erected in Mouila, Gabon. A brief history of the antecedents, founding, and early growth of the Institute can be found here.

The growth of the Institute from small beginnings to a worldwide apostolate is testimony to God's Grace and love for souls. Though
still a relatively young society, the rate of growth in the number of priests, oblates, sisters, and lay faithful is remarkable. Consecrated to Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception, and following the example and spirituality of its three secondary patrons-- St. Francis de Sales, St. Benedict, and St. Thomas Aquinas-- the Institute is ever at the service of souls, in furtherance
of the mission of the Church. Defenders of Tradition in liturgy and doctrine and apostles of the Love of God.

Those who are blessed enough to have an Institute apostolate
nearby know the beauty of the liturgy, the apostolate of hospitality, and the Salesian spirituality that ever draws souls for, and to, Christ. They are islands of faith and culture in the secular wasteland. The Institute has been a profound blessing to my family and me. My wife and I are members of the Institute's lay society, the Society of the Sacred Heart.  In this way we are able to participate in the charism of the Institute, and through the Church's liturgy pray for the Institute, and receive spiritual blessings from the prayers of our fellow Institute family members.

In 2008 the Institute was elevated by the Holy See to the status of a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, confirming its mission and the charism of the Canons and Sisters of the Institute.

Since 2008, the number of priests, seminarians, sisters, and lay members has increased even more rapidly.

God is good.

This anniversary also coincides with the feast day of St. Giles, the patron saint of our beloved founder and Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach.

May God continue to bless the Institute of Christ the King
Sovereign Priest!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!
St. Benedict, pray for us!
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Finally, on this anniversary, I post below the daily consecration of
the Institute to the Immaculate Conception:

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.

31 August 2015

Time to Rally the Faithful

I make no secret of my admiration for The Remnant Newspaper. Michael Matt has done much over the years to bolster the spirits of the traditionally-minded Catholics of the world, to promote the timeless Faith and the timeless Mass of the Church, and to chronicle some very difficult times, and for that he deserves our thanks.  He has always written from the position of one who supports tradition-- i.e., the handed-down faith of our fathers-- in all its forms and locations.  He supports the efforts of all who seek to preserve and promote the faith, whether in the SSPX, FSSP, ICRSS, other traditional groups, or in the novus ordo parishes and orders throughout the world.

He has provided a platform for some of the best Catholic writers and journalists of our times.  He has taken a ton of heat.

As I am a relative newcomer to tradition, I remember first making note of the Remnant's "pan-traditionalism", if you will, when Matt published an editorial calling for full-on support for the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI to restore the faith and liturgy.  This was roughly at the same time that the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, formerly affiliated with the SSPX, decided to reconcile with Rome and their ordinary.  These events weren't linked, of course, I just remember the timeline.  He, like they, took heat.

For my own part, I have always tried to be a "pan-traditionalist" as well, trying to support in my own small way whatever efforts have been made towards the restoration of the Mass and the Faith itself, having much sympathy for the SSPX, though I myself cannot justify my own attendance there at this time.  I am very happy and blessed to have an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest nearby, and am thankful to God for it.  Not all have such an attractive option.  Being a member of the Institute has left my conscience free to consider the SSPX questions in a more academic light. Conceivably, of course, I may have to make practical decisions someday, but as it is I am morally sure I am where I need to be. 

Back to Michael Matt.  He has posted an excellent video calling for common effort among us all, whether of the SSPX or the "approved" societies, or of those within the "normal" structure, and for a concord of faith and charity so that we may stand strong in this and more trying times. Differing strategies but the same cause-- that of Christ and His Church.  I can't recommend this video highly enough.  Here is the link.  Please watch it. God bless you.

27 August 2015

Just Two More Victims in a Godless Nation of Death

The vile and narcissistic on-air murder of a young reporter and cameraman in Virginia yesterday hit me particularly hard, though of course considering the state of affairs in America it seems arbitrary to be so affected. We live in a nation that not only permits, but publicly funds, mass infanticide complete with sale of body parts for immoral "medical research."  Our fellow citizens kill each other to the point that it fails to shock.  Prosecutions and convictions are based not on law or public safety, but on political agendas. We fail to worship God, let alone to acknowledge the temporal Kingship of His Son. We no longer foster and protect virtues, even the purely natural.  On the contrary, vice is promoted and enshrined into law.

Closer to home, we see microcosm of the national problem: a brewing race war and a growing tyranny.  Life is cheap indeed.

Both the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities have ceded the field to demagogues.

We call evil good and good evil.  We are a nation of murderers, liars, adulterers, fornicators, and sodomites.

This cannot go on.

Yes, I guess I loved him too
I can still see him in my mind climbin’ that hill
Did he make it to the top, well he probably did and dropped
Struck down by the strength of the will
Ain’t nothin’ left here partner, just the dust of a plague
that has left this whole town afraid
From now on, this’ll be where you’re from
Let the dead bury the dead. Your time will come
Let hot iron blow as he raised the shade

Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
When your foot of pride come down
Ain’t no goin’ back

-- Bob Dylan, Foot of Pride

25 August 2015

"Never forget that sin is the only great evil in the world."-- the Feast of Saint Louis

May this great saint and ruler pray for his namesake city and archdiocese in these troubled times.  From Fisheaters:

Louis, the quintessential Christian Prince, was born in Poissy, France on 25 April 1215 to King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. His father died when he was just eleven years old, and he was crowned -- at Rheims, like almost all French Kings -- on the First Sunday of Advent in 1226. His very strong and pious mother acted as his regent, suppressing various revolts to secure her son's place. She acted as regent even after he reached the age of majority, and guided his career with strong Christian advice, forming his character in holiness. She would say to him, "Never forget that sin is the only great evil in the world. No mother could love her son more than I love you. But I would rather see you lying dead at my feet than know that you had offended God by one mortal sin" -- sentiments that he took to heart and would later pass on to his own successor.

In 1230, he outlawed all forms of usury and compelled usurers to contribute toward the Crusades when their debtors could not be found to be compensated (later under his reign, in 1240, would come the famous disputation of the Talmud in Paris, after rulers and churchmen discovered what blasphemies the Talmud taught. Copies of the Talmud were burned in great fires in the streets of Paris).

Louis married at age nineteen, in 1234, taking to wife Marguerite of Provence, with whom he had eleven children -- five sons and six daughters. He went on a Crusade in 1248, and fought nobly and with great honor, forbidding his men to kill prisoners and always expecting them to act as Christians. But he lost the battle and, weakened by dysentery, was captured in Mansoura, Egypt. During his captivity, he sang the Divine Office every day with two chaplains and conducted himself with such honor as to impress his captors. When the Sultan was killed by his own emirs, he was set free, but didn't immediately return to Europe; instead, he went to the Holy Land, and remained there in order to help fortify the Christian colonies, not returning until 1254, during which time his mother died.

Very dedicated to the cause of peace, he not only arbitrated and made treaties with Henry III and James I of Aragon, but did much to curb a lot of the petty, feudal warfare that caused so much harm. He was a great patron of learning, the arts, and architecture, and under his patronage, the Sorbonne was founded; abbeys built; the choir, apse, and nave of St. Denis Basilica -- which contains the tombs of almost all French Kings -- were refurbished, etc. His crowning architectural glory, though, is Ste. Chapelle, the beautiful chapel with the walls of stained glass that sits on the tiny Ile de la Cité right in the middle of Paris, in the Seine River (the same island where Notre Dame Cathedral is found). This chapel was built to house a part of the Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross which he purchased from Emperor Baldwin II in Constantinople, and it became St. Louis's personal royal chapel.

Glorious and fruitful was his reign! Indeed, having dealt with economic woes by expelling the usurers from France, King St. Louis ruled over a time that became known as "the golden century of Saint Louis."

He was most famous, though, for his charity, humility, and concern for the poor. He built many hospitals, among them the hospital known as "Quinze-vingt" ("Fifteen-Twenty") -- a hospital for the blind and whose name comes from the fact that it could care for 300 patients. He built homes for reformed prostitutes. Every day, he met with the poor personally and saw to it that they were fed, inviting them to dine with him, and washing their feet in imitation of Christ at the Last Supper. He gave special attention to the indigent during Advent and Lent. All who knew him admired him; no one spoke ill of him and he spoke ill of no one else. His biographer, Joinville, wrote, "I was a good twenty-two years in the King's company and never once did I hear him swear, either by God, or His Mother, or His saints. I did not even hear him name the Devil, except if he met the word when reading aloud, or when discussing what had been read."

He was also very devoted to the cause of Justice, and eliminated the feudal method of conflict resolution through combat, replacing it with arbitration and judicial process. He eradicated his ancestors' "King's Court" and established popular courts in which he, himself, would hear his subjects' grievances.

In 1270, he went off on another Crusade, this time in an attempt to convert the Emir of Tunis after being inspired by acting as godfather to a Jewish convert. Again, his Crusade failed, and again he became sick with dysentery. This time, though, he did not recover. He died at three in the afternoon on 25 August 1270. His last words were those of Christ: "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit." He was canonized in 1297, 27 years after his death, and was succeeded by his son, Philip III. His line continued after him until the French Revolution, when King Louis XVI was guillotined on 21 January 1703. At this act of regicide, the Abbe Edgeworth said, "Son of St. Louis, ascend to Heaven!"

King Louis's remains were laid to rest, like those of almost all French Kings, in the Basilica of St. Denis (now a northern suburb of Paris). The Basilica was sacked during the infamous Revolution and its royal tombs were emptied into a mass grave -- with some of the tombs themselves being destroyed, including that of St. Louis (the tomb-smashing was stopped when an archaeologist of the time urged the revolutionaries to consider them "works of art"). In 1817, the mass grave was opened and all of the bones were placed in a single ossuary, with the names of the monarchs recorded.

St. Louis is the patron of builders, kings, large families, and Crusaders (and, of course, St. Louis, Missouri). He is represented in art by the Crown of Thorns, crown, scepter, and the fleur-de-lis. 

Saint Louis, pray for us! 

24 August 2015

Meatless Friday Monday: Draxx Them Sklounst Edition

For no reason.  Content advisory: 2 minor vulgarities, view at your own risk.

Finding the Time for Writing the Things That Are Close to My Heart

That night, after he had recited his verse, I remarked it was too bad he did not find more time for writing the things that were close to his heart.

"I wish I could," he said almost wistfully, "and each day I plan for the morrow to be the day I begin, but always there is some obstacle and the day goes and another dawns and I still have not begun. The world, the flesh, and the devil seem to be in constant conspiracy against me."

Now, as Dan spoke, Archer, the pharmacist turned novelist, rose abruptly and left us, saying it was time for him to get upstairs and to work. Dan watched him go with admiration.

"The Lord surely has Justus under His wings," he said, quoting the Ninetieth Psalm. "He is afraid neither of the business that walks about in the darkness nor the noonday devil."

The business that walks about in the darkness did not bother Dan too much. But the noonday devil persecuted him tirelessly.

"He is the daylight devil, the worst of all the fiends," Dan declared. "Wine cannot drive him away as it can the demons of darkness for wine cannot exorcise in the sunlight. It has been said that Satan's best trick is to prove he does not exist. I do not think so. I think his best trick is to assure us he is a gentleman. And his next best trick is to persuade us he is unimportant, is just passing by. That is the noonday devil.

"The smiling gentleman devil I can resist. Urbanity has never been persuasive with me. But the noonday fiend is primitive. He distracts, disrupts, takes away purpose and patience and time. He works through incidentals and accidentals. He seeks to involve us in trivia, to trip us up with inconsequential detail, so that we will be unable to do a day's work worthy of our soul.

"He suggests naps in the middle of the day, inspires acquaintances to drop in just to say hello, turns ankles, and tears trousers. He sends the toothache that leads to days with the dentist, breaks shoelaces, gives that boil just under the collar, makes us wait in the barbershop, and sees to it that the automobile battery is dead. He promotes corns and bunions and inspires the long telephone talker when lunch is on the table. He makes the leak in the roof, the rug that slides, and the closet door that won't shut. He snaps the pencil point and the rung of the chair.

"He writes letters marked personal and important' advertising yachts for sale, sends a pair of socks in two sizes, and puts the morning paper at the wrong door. He loses pens and wallets, stops watches, sours the cream, hides the dictionary, breaks fingernails, rings the front doorbell, rings the back doorbell, mislays eyeglasses, gives an itch, gives an earache, sticks with a pin, smashes the window, pulls off a button-- and so on and on, incessantly and relentlessly disrupting and interrupting, persecuting and torturing through endless infinitesimals. He creates frustration and drives to despair.

"He provides explanations for our defections and excuses for our sins. He wastes the minutes that waste the hours, the days, the years, until death is on us and nothing is done. He involves life, complicates it, dissipates it. He seeks so to fritter our labors away that we shall achieve nothing of merit for the salvation of our soul."

He was quiet a moment when he finished. Then, suddenly, he got to his feet, rising with a resolution rare to him.

"I think, perhaps, if you good friends don't mind, I'll go upstairs and see if I can't get my book started." He turned solemnly to me. "You're right. I must try to find time to write the things that are close to my heart."

He said good night and, erect with determination, left the room.

I was quite pleased that I had had some effect on him. But my pleasure was short lived. Doris, after Dan had gone, told me in her realistic fashion that I should not be misled by Dan's resolutions.

"Dan makes these dramatic decisions once or twice a week," she explained. "He goes up to his study to work-- and a half hour later I find him up there siting back in his armchair sound asleep."

This was a blow to my conceit. Nonetheless, that night as I rode home alone on the streetcar (Briggs not having returned from taking Doris home) I could not persuade myself that Dan was merely being lazy. I could see on this second visit what I suspected on my first, that he was troubled, at war with himself. Everything about him, his books, his music, his manner of life, and, paradoxically, even his bright talk and his ebullient good spirits tended to be proof of this. There was more, I felt certain, than conversational invention in his fear of the noonday devil.

--from Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by Myles Connolly