His poll numbers are way, way up! Apparently, the Vatican's new campaign is making real inroads in all voter demographics, particularly with those who don't care about the Pope, the faith, or culture.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi was rumored to have indiscreetly revealed the secret of this highly successful marketing effort in a bar off the Piazza Navonna, telling a member of the emerging social media,"It's really a-so simple it's a-beautiful! We follow the advice of the mama of the famous Catholic blogger, thetimman. Whenever she have a difficulty with that-a idiot, she just-a say, 'Oh, Timmy! Do what you want!'"
Telling insight, there.
I remember constantly writing Pope Benedict XVI to urge him to mind those polls. Poor man, he never seemed to care.
I used the term "Person", Time's actual term, instead of the correct "Man", because the designation itself, coming from the wheezing printing press of one of the last, dying, leftist rags, deserves all its PC due.
The Pope follows such past winners as Ben Bernanke, Il Duce, the Earth, and, yes, You.
Let me begin with a shout out to the fine seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest-- if you're reading this, you probably need to pray more and/or get back to work.
I salute them because one of them (who knows who he is) was kind enough to give me, with a very kind inscription, a copy of one of Dostoyevsky's masterpieces.
Yes, I note the title, and I am aware of the possible application.
But I will say that I am not worthy of comparison to the eponymous hero of the book, as he is far too holy for me. He is God's holy fool, while I am merely an idiot.
I was given this book in June, but I haven't had the chance to tackle it until yesterday, when I was forced given the opportunity to serve jury duty. Being stranded in the pool, and otherwise having time on my hands, was, I thought, a good opportunity to get some heavier reading done. Right, Mother Crab?
Without giving away too much, Dostoyevsky's idea was to explore the reaction of people to the purely innocent man. I can easily analogize this to the jury venire pool. If we substitute the trial-by-jury system for the purely innocent man, you get an idea of human nature.
It always astounds me, as a lawyer, how a court process prompts all sorts of people to tell all kinds of embarrassing things about themselves, in great detail, without prompting, and without them being in the least material. This process, like the purely innocent man, is something so out of the ordinary-- understandable as an intellectual proposition, yet so alien and provocative-- that it evokes responses outside of our usual mode.
Also common is the I Walked on the Moon phenomenon (credit to Brian Regan). No matter what another juror says they did, there is a person who has to outdo them. You got arrested? Oh yeah? Well, I was executed. And the memory of my death continues to haunt me to this day.
Then there is the groupthink that occurs when one person makes a particular statement, scads of others agree. There seems to me to be a sort of need to achieve a normal, or typical response. Over time the answers of the prospective jurors become extremely similar. Safety in numbers.
Over all of this is the sense (admittedly anecdotal) that there could no longer be a Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men figure to ensure a level of moral or intellectual fortitude to offset these tendencies. A smell of petroleum pervades throughout.
Taking the whole thing in its entirety, I can only echo the observation of the guy sitting next to me: "What I've learned today is to never allow myself to be put in the position of being tried by a jury of my peers."
I ask this with all due respect, but can someone read this story from The St. Louis Review and tell me what it means? I mean, I really don't get it, and I wonder if that isn't the point. It's like every PTA meeting I ever went to.
Today is the Feast of Our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception. It is the patronal feast of the United States, and of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
To mark the day and to honor Our Lady, I am happy to post today's sermon of Canon Michael Wiener, ICRSS, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory:
Immaculate Conception 2013
The mysteries of our holy religion are challenging: The Incarnation of God is doubted, if not attacked, by many. The Cross is a “stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”. And the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception is - at best – discounted or conveniently forgotten.
The mysteries of our religion require faith, faith which leaves us freedom to approach God and to become one of His without violating the principles of reason. These mysteries, however, are all parts of the same truth about God and His work of salvation which do not allow us to disregard one of them without losing all of them together.
The Immaculate Conception, defined very late in the Church’s history as a dogma, but believed by the majority of all faithful from the earliest times on, is the miraculous preservation from sin in the entirely natural conception of Mary by her mother Anne. All men, all seed of Adam, contract the sin of nature in receiving nature from nature’s head. The only exception to this general rule is Mary, and this exception in her case was made in anticipation of the merits of her divine Son on the Cross. Though from her natural origin she should have contracted it, Mary was preserved from Original Sin. And that preserving grace of the merits of Christ freed her from all rebellion of lower appetites, from any motions of the senses against the regime of reason.
In the document, the Bull “Ineffabilis Deus” in which the great Pope, the Blessed Pius IX, defines the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, as dogma, we read: “The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.”
Mystery and privilege – two things which our modern minds often perceive as a hindrance and impediment on the way to find God.
Today’s feast is another excellent opportunity to prove that the mysteries of the Catholic Religion and the dogmatic teachings of the Church are, contrary to what many believe, the means God employed to abolish remoteness and to put the human race in direct contact with God.
In order that God could become man a mother was needed. This mother had to be the mother of a divine person who assumed our - the human - nature. After the fall, the first sin committed by man, which ruined our chances to be born in the state of grace, God wanted to re-establish humanity again by opening the channels of grace now within mankind. God did, indeed, “more marvelously renew, what he had already marvelously created”, as the priest prays in the offertory of Mass, by making Jesus Christ, second person of the Blessed Trinity, now the head of humanity.
“God’s first word of salvation, spoken outside the locked gates of Paradise, already indicates a woman, a single woman, who could never be overcome by Satan: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and ‘her seed’ (Genesis 3:15). … The woman who crushed the serpent’s head was the mother of God-made-man” (Hugo Rahner, “Our Lady and the Church).
If God wanted to restore humanity by becoming man Himself, being able to suffer for us and redeem us from sin, He had to have a mother. And who, among all mothers in this world, would have been better prepared for this task than Mary, the Immaculate, who received the fullness of all graces already from the first moment of her existence? Mary is this mother, a mother with heart and soul, whose immaculate body and perfectly sanctified soul are enabling her to be the mother of Christ and of all those who are reborn with Christ in grace.
Here we have the reason why Msgr. Wach, the founder and Prior General of the Institute wanted to give our community as primary patron the Immaculate Conception: Mary is the immaculate mother of the Church, Christ’s mystical body, who channels the streams of grace, of infallible teachings and infinite goodness of God to all of us who want to believe in God-made-man. Mary is the image of the Immaculate Church, invincible by the forces of darkness and reflecting for all times the beauty, the truth and love of God. Mary is the mother of all new creation, through her we all are constantly re-created in grace and from her we are always allowed to expect protection and shelter against the attacks of the evil one. All members of our Institute know well about our Mother’s guarding hand, in our personal lives and in the life of the entire Institute since its foundation in 1990.
The mysteries of our religion are challenging: They require faith, faith which leaves us freedom to approach God without violating the principles of reason. The Mystery of the Immaculate Conception is part of the same truth about God and His work of salvation.
This Sunday, December 8, 2013, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The denuded calendar of the novus ordo bumps the feast to December 9, for reasons I will leave it to you to discern (though the whole interplay can be read up on at Rorate, if you like).
To add insult to injury, for some reason I will leave to you to discern, the American bishops have decreed that the feast of the Patroness of our country is not a Holy Day of Obligation. Bah, humbug! Back to reality, this Sunday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Oratory with 8 am Low Mass, and 10 am Solemn High Mass. Commemoration of the Second Sunday of Advent as usual. Making the news even better, because the Immaculate Conception is the primary Patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful who assist at Mass at any Institute oratory may receive a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions. It just occurred to me-- I agree with the new calendar for once. December 9 shouldn't be a Holy Day of Obligation! Finally, recall that the Novena to the Immaculate Conception continues tonight, with Solemn High Mass at 6:30 pm, and tomorrow, with low Mass at 8 am. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee!
In this interview, Bishop Fellay simply nails it. He gives incredible insight on a wide range of issues. I don't think I disagree with a single word of it. I urge you to read it.
Now, why post at all if one can just read it there? Because there are a couple of parts that sound very Salesian, almost as though the Institute wrote them. By that I mean that there is a Salesian gentleness and joy to these passages, and a real explanation on the inextricable link between liturgy and faith and charity.
First, this, on what the attitude of the laity should be in response to the current confusion:
The attitude of the faithful
First of all, they must keep the faith. This is the primary message, we can say, of Saint Paul; it was also the message for the times of persecution: be firm, state [in Latin], hold on, remain standing, stand firm in the faith. Keeping the faith cannot be merely theoretical. There is such a thing as what I would call “theoretical” faith: the faith of someone who is capable of reciting the Creed, he has learned his catechism, he knows it, he is capable of repeating it, and of course this sort of faith is the beginning; you have to have it, or else you do not have the faith. But this faith does not yet lead to heaven. This is what you have to understand. The faith that Scripture speaks about is the faith that is—to use the technical expression—informed by charity. Saint Paul was speaking about this relation between Faith and Charity when he said to the Corinthians: “If I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,” (which is no small thing, since a faith that can move mountains is not something you see every day!) “and have not charity, I am nothing…. I am only a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal….”
It is not enough to make great professions of faith; it is not enough to attack or condemn errors; many think that they have fulfilled their duty as Christians when they have done this, but that is an error. I am not saying that you should not do it; it is one part, but the faith that Saint Paul and Sacred Scripture speak about is informed faith, in other words, faith imbued with charity. Charity is what gives form to faith. Charity is the love of God and consequently the love of neighbor. Therefore it is about a faith that turns toward this neighbor who is certainly in error and reminds him of the truth, but in such a manner that, thanks to these reminders, the Christian will be able to sow the faith, reestablish someone in the truth, lead this soul toward the truth. Therefore it is not a bitter zeal; on the contrary it is a faith made warm by charity.
The duty of state
What the faithful must do is their duty in their state in life. To keep the faith, a faith properly imbued with charity, profoundly anchored in charity, which will enable them to avoid discouragement, bitter zeal and spite, and instead to experience joy, the Christian joy that consists of knowing that God loves us so much that He is ready to live with us, to live in us through grace. This sheds light on everything that happens, and gives a joy that makes us forget problems and puts them in their place—problems that certainly can be serious. But what are they in comparison with the Heaven that is won precisely through these trials? These trials are prepared, arranged by the Good Lord, not so as to make us fall but so as to make us win. God goes so far as to live in us, as Saint Paul says: “And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me!” That is so beautiful! The Christian is a tabernacle of the Holy Trinity, a temple of God, a living temple!
Now, am I alone in thinking that this is a wonderful program of putting Pope Francis' call to spread the joy of the Gospel?
And then, this on the Mass:
Restoring the Church through the Mass
If we want a restoration of the Church, and certainly we do want it, that is where we must go. To the source, and the source is the Mass. Not just any liturgy, but rather, I mean to say, an extremely holy liturgy. One that is holy to an unimaginable degree. One that has an extraordinary sanctity that was truly forged by the Holy Ghost over the centuries, composed by the holy popes themselves, and therefore having an extraordinary depth. There is absolutely no comparison between the New Mass and that Mass. They really are two different worlds and, I was about to say, Christians who are in the least sensitive to grace realize it very quickly. Very quickly. Alas, today, we observe that many people do not even see it any more! But for me it is obvious that the restoration of the Church must start there. Therefore that is why I am profoundly indebted to Pope Benedict XVI for having reinstated the Mass. That was of capital importance. It is of capital importance.
Finally, on a subject dear to me, the necessary triumph of Our Lady:
The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” This is an absolute statement; nothing about it is conditioned by what happened before. And it is truly a statement that elicits hope and establishes it; it is a rock. Obviously, since it seems right that this triumph is connected with the consecration (of Russia), we are asking for the consecration; that is altogether normal. How long will we have to wait to see it done as it was requested, or will the Good Lord, once again, be content with less? We don’t know. What we do know is that in the end there will be this triumph. And therefore this is a certitude. We will not speak about a certitude of faith, because this is not a question of faith; it is a word given by the Blessed Virgin, and so we know very well what her word is worth! That is all.
I have usually been impressed by Bishop Fellay. This time he really outdoes himself.