02 March 2015

There Was Joy in the Catacombs

Not merely fear, but true joy.

Further to my post about learning from Jesus in the desert how to fight with joy, I have been wanting to provide a link to an Ann Barnhardt post called Plausible Hypothesis on What Exactly the “Abomination ofDesolation” Might Be, but haven't had the time to write the introduction to it that I wanted to make sure readers read first.  You see, I like her work. She is obviously intelligent, faithful, and willing to fight for the faith. She is an intense, pull-no-punches type, though, and since I don't necessarily agree with all of her positions I didn't want to get lots of emails lamenting the link and my intransigence, etc. 

You see, I don't mind disagreeing with people for whom I have respect, and I don't mind acknowledging agreement with others with whom I don't always agree.  I know this is common sense, but in the social media-driven, PC environment, filled with products of modern education systems, it needs to be stated.

Well, back to the link.  I was shaken out of my lethargy by a Jeff Culbreath post called Preparing for the Catacombs, that covered the Barnhardt post and added his own observations.

To sum up:  Barnhardt speculates on the possibility that the Synod against on the Family this October might produce a system that is the "abomination of desolation" about which Our Lord warned us. And she states what she would do about it.  Culbreath gives his own take, that the semi-underground network faithful Catholics have tapped into as a lifeline for the last couple of decades or more will be severely tested and much reduced. 

Read both posts. They are well worth your time.

My take on both?  I enjoy the speculation game as much as anyone. But whether the result of the Synod, should it abandon the very words of Our Lord on marriage and Holy Communion, is or isn't the abomination of desolation, it remains that it will be an unmitigated disaster.  And tremendous pressure will be brought to bear on faithful priests and on the faithful themselves.  One can easily see a purge within the Church on priests, and a secular persecution (undefended against by the official Church and with its tacit blessing) outside the Church on the lay faithful.

Our response must be faithfulness and joy.  As Cardinal Burke said, the victory is assured, but first, our way is the Way of the Cross. There will be suffering, but there must be joy, or else we are unworthy of the Name of Jesus. Our fathers embraced the catacombs and their own gruesome deaths, all for the sake of the Name. We must be grateful, joyful Christians, for we will be smeared as the schismatics and heretics.  So be it.

This is why prayer in advance of the Synod is so necessary, along with making our voices in defense of the truth known.  It would be very nice if this did not come to pass; we are told to pray that we be not led into temptation, but delivered from evil.  Martyrs, to be martyrs, need special graces, and now is not the time for presumption.

Again, referencing Cardinal Burke, we need to support each other and be close to each other more than ever now.

"We know that the gates of Hell will not prevail, but in the meantime, our way is the Way of the Cross."

"I frequently say to those who are writing to me and are expressing such discouragement, or are asking for direction in what seems to be a very troubled situation, that when, in times like this, there seems to be some confusion in the governance of the Church, then we have, more than ever, to steep ourselves in the Church's constant teaching and to hand that on to our children and to strengthen the understanding of that teaching in our local parishes and our families.

And our Lord has assured us -- He didn't tell us that there wouldn't be attacks on the Church, even from within, but He has assured us that the gates of Hell will never prevail over the Church. In other words, Satan, with his deceptions, will never finally prevail in the Church. We have to have that confidence about us and go about it with great joy and great determination, in teaching the faith, or in giving witness with apologetics to souls who don't understand the faith or who have not yet become members of the Church.

We know that the gates of Hell will not prevail, but in the meantime, our way is the Way of the Cross. And when we have to suffer for the sake of what we believe, what we know to be true, we can embrace that suffering with the knowledge of the final outcome: that is, that Christ is the Victor. He is the one that ultimately overcomes all the forces of evil in the world and restores us and our world to the Father.

That is the way in which I try to encourage faithful Catholics. I think it's important, too, that devout traditional Catholics get to know one another and support one another, to bear one another's burdens, as the Scripture says. We ought to be prepared to do that and be sensitive to families that might be suffering some particular difficulty in this regard, and try to be as close to one another as possible."

-- Raymond Cardinal Burke, responding to a question on how His Eminence would encourage traditional Catholics in these dismal times. Full interview at Rorate Caeli.

26 February 2015

I Could Be Wrong, But...

...isn't this just a different way of saying, "Hey, don't bother us by pointing out that very few Catholics attend Mass at the typical Catholic parish."?  

It is a bit "audacious", no?

Template A, Descriptor 1, Central Media Casting

This quote from a Yahoo! story today reminds me yet again that we live in a time where truth is of no matter.

Two years later, the first Latin American pope is a global superstar, a natural and decisive leader who has been credited with shaking up the Vatican, breathing new life into Catholic teaching and bringing the faithful flooding back into the arms of the Church.

Frankly, I don't need the reminder. As Bob says, "Reality, as always, had too many heads."

23 February 2015

The Church Sends Us into the Desert, That There We May Learn from Jesus How to Fight. That Goes for bloggers, too.

I wanted to write a post for a few days now on the news making headlines in much of the Catholic blogosphere (the part that isn't bought and paid for, that is) and even in the secular press: that Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt + Light TV, who is the English language assistant to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi and thus speaks at times in a public capacity for the Vatican, has sent (via his attorneys) a threatening letter to the blogger who writes Vox Cantoris, demanding that he pull comments critical of Fr. Rosica's statements and public actions in the last Synod against on the Family, or face legal action.

This is of course quite distressing to faithful Catholics.  Whether the action is bullying a critic into silence, or whether it is a colossal mistake, or whether it is justified, it is unseemly and not in line with a Catholic way of thinking.  Somebody at least looks bad out of this. We may assume this is his own action alone, and not with the pre-knowledge or, God forbid, at the request, of the Vatican. But we can ask the Vatican to send him the message to stand down.

Considering the matter as a Catholic blogger, well, you can see how this can get one's attention.  As many have noted, lowly bloggers were part of the phalanx of opposition to altering the Church's Christ-given teachings on marriage and the reception of Holy Communion by public adulterers.  The bishops who stood with Christ have been, and are, under attack.  So now who is next? 

Enter Vox Cantoris.  What struck me immediately is the reach of his blog.  It is not large in terms of hits-- not tiny, but not large.  In fact, until this fracas, it averaged the same or perhaps fewer daily hits than this blog.  

So, I think, this could have been me.

Why pick on a blog of this size?  As Rorate mused, and I agree, this is a family man, without great financial resources or a legal team.  He makes no money off of the Church by blogging-- unlike some.  The enemies of Catholic teaching on marriage and Communion want to quiet the blogs of all us little folk who are not bought and paid for. They WANT us to think:  This could be me!

OK, great, why write on it now?  Because I want to be faithful to my Lenten resolution to focus on the positive and the joyful.  This to me is an occasion of joy. Bloggers are called to the cross like anyone else.  If we are persecuted for standing with Christ, so be it. Lots of bloggers are weighing in, and I feel compelled to do so, too.

Reading at Mass on Sunday Dom Gueranger's entry for the first Sunday of Lent brought home to me what is expected of the faithful Christian.  He gives the epistle below, and then comments.  I add my emphases in orange

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
II. Ch. VI

Brethren, we exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prison, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand, and on the left: by honour and dishonour: by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true: as unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things.

"These words of the Apostle give us a very different idea of the Christian Life from that which our own tepidity suggests. We dare not say that he is wrong, and we right; but we put a strange interpretation upon his words, and we tell both ourselves and those around us, that the advice he here gives is not to be taken literally now-a-days, and that it was written for those special difficulties of the first age of the Church, when the Faithful stood in need of unusual detachment and almost heroism, because they were always in danger of persecution and death. The interpretation is full of that discretion which meets with the applause of our cowardice, and it easily persuades us to be at rest, just as though we had no battle to fight; whereas, we have both: for there is the devil, the world, flesh and blood. The Church never forgets it; and hence, at the opening of this great Season, she sends us into the desert, that there we may learn from our Jesus how we are to fight. Let us go; let us learn, from the Temptations of our Divine Master, that the life of man upon earth is a warfare [Job, vii. 1], and that, unless our fighting be truceless and brave, our life, which we would fain pass in peace, will witness our defeat. That such a misfortune may not befall us, the Church cries out to us, in the words of St. Paul: Behold! now is the acceptable time. Behold! now is the day of salvation. Let us, in all things comport ourselves as the servants of God, and keep our ground unflinchingly to the end of our holy campaign. God is watching over us, as he did over his Beloved Son in the Desert."

Now is the time to wake from sleep, as St. Paul elsewhere says. When necessary, we have to be ready to stand for and with Christ and His Church.  It is that simple.  Yes, we should not pick a fight, but that doesn't change the fact that we may be called to suffer and die.  We have to stand with Christ.  What else is there?

20 February 2015

Societal Consequences of the Spirit of Immortification

"So far, we have been speaking of the non-observance of Lent in its relation to individuals and Catholics; let us now say a few words upon the influence which that same non-observance has upon a whole people or nation. There are but few social questions which have not been ably and spiritedly treated of by the public writers of the age, who have devoted their talents to the study of what is called Political Economy; and it has often been a matter of surprise to us, that they should have overlooked a subject of such deep interest as this, - the results produced on society by the abolition of Lent, that is to say, of an institution, which, more than any other, keeps up in the public mind a keen sentiment of moral right and wrong, inasmuch as it imposes on a nation an annual expiation for sin. No shrewd penetration is needed to see the difference between two nations, one of which observes, each year, a forty-days’ penance in reparation of the violations committed against the Law of God, and another, whose very principles reject all such solemn reparation. And looking at the subject from another point of view, is it not to be feared that the excessive use of animal food tends to weaken, rather than to strengthen, the constitution? We are convinced of it, - the time will come, when a greater proportion of vegetable, and less of animal, diet, will be considered as an essential means for maintaining the strength of the human frame."

-- Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year

Lenten Blessings to All Who Love the Traditional Mass

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

19 February 2015

Faces of the Martyrs

Some of the heroic martyrs sacrificed for the love of Jesus, speaking His name with their lips as they were beheaded by the Mohammedans.  

Surely a matter for reflection this Lent.

The photo above comes from a post at Rorate, where they translate an article by Antonio Socci about the reality of what is truly important in the Church, and begging for practical help for the small number of Christians remaining in the area.

Meatless Friday Thursday: Lenten Second Banana Edition

Anyone who has a sense of pop culture (I'm guessing Dr. Snide is out, but her husband is in) might enjoy this NCAA Tourney-style bracket of the all-time "top" second banana.  Or sidekick. Or running mate.  Whatever.

I'm not sure if the winner should be the ultimate winner, or maybe the second-place finisher, but this is a philosophical concern.

Article here.  Vote here.