30 September 2014

Breitbart Runs Confirmation of Burke Move

The rumors have been out there for a while. The rumors have been reported as credible for a while, too. The big questions, I suppose, for any naive Catholics left these days, were two:

1. Would the Pope sack the Cardinal before or after the Synod against on the Family, which begins on October 5?

2. Would the backlash against this seemingly mean-spirited, petty and unjust move cause the Pope to change his mind-- not in removing Burke, but at least moving him in a more dignified fashion and to a more appropriate position?

The first question remains unanswered by this article from Breitbart, while the second question is answered "no".

I post it for the record, and also to give you a general caution on Internet news. The author of the piece is undoubtedly right, but there are two links within the story to Saint Louis Catholic blog. So, we may be scraping the bottom of the barrel here. #humblebrag ;-)

In any event, keep praying for Cardinal Burke, for the Pope, and for this Synod. The Rosary novena for the protection of the family continues to October 7.

We need help.

29 September 2014

Unwelcome Visitors Seem to Be the Norm

I almost made it through an entire day without reading some distressing Church news.  But I have to post this one, as it could be very distressing, and will hit close to home.  The NCReporter has the story and at least one other blog is picking up on it.

The rumor is that Pope Francis has assigned a visitor to His Excellency, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, with an eye on giving him the axe assessing his leadership.

Some context is in order.  Lots of dioceses have had problems with the clergy abuse scandal for a long time.  Since 2002, when Boston first broke, others have followed.  Some prelates have been disciplined, but not many.  Pope Benedict, just prior to his election to the See of Peter, lamented the "filth" that had congealed in the Church's ranks.  Since his unfortunate decision to abdicate, and the arrival of Francis, it seems that the discipline or leniency shown to clerics on the hot seat (for any reason, not just sexual abuse stuff) depends upon their doctrinal orthodoxy or heterodoxy. 

Marxist priest gets rehabilitated.  Irish priest who holds heterodox views on Catholic teaching on human sexuality gets rehabilitated.  Openly homosexual priest who calls for change to Catholic teaching concelebrates Mass with Francis, and gets his hands kissed in the bargain.

On the other hand, the traditionally-minded Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate get destroyed for "crypto-Lefebvrianism".  The more or less traditionally-minded bishop of Ciudad del Este is sacked for defending a priest with accusations of sexual misconduct (like the Rorate story, I am not in any way saying the deposition of the bishop is not justified, but am pointing out the seeming arbitrariness of the action in light of the favor shown to worse cases on the opposite side of the "political" aisle).

The commonality between the two situations in the above paragraph is this: in each case an apostolic visitor was sent prior to the action.  Correlation is not causation, but I just note the correlation.  Why?

Because Francis has sent a visitor to Kansas City-St. Joseph.  I personally believe that Bishop Finn was the victim of an unfair and malicious prosecution that ended with his misdemeanor guilty plea.  And he is not, nor has ever been, accused of sexual misconduct.  The misdemeanor was for an alleged failure to report conduct by a priest whom he inherited in Kansas City which, though perverse, did not include sexual contact.  Again, not defending the actions of the priest, just stating what it is, and isn't.  And note, too, that like the Bishop of Ciudad del Este, Bishop Finn is affiliated with Opus Dei.  I suppose their influence in Rome is not ascendant.

So, there you have it.  I post this for the record, and ask readers to pray for Bishop Finn.  From what I know of him, he is a good man and a quality bishop.  Reading the NCR post, it sure seems that finding people to put their finger in the air and follow the direction of the current wind to pillory this man is not difficult.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!


Dear Readers, a very happy and blessed feast of St. Michael the Archangel.  From today's Epistle:

In those days God signified the things which must shortly come to pass, sending by His angel to His servant John, who had given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatever things that he had seen. Blessed is he who read and heard the words of this prophecy, and kept those things which are written in it, for the time is at hand...

And a very timely prayer...

O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil.  Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.  Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hath fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven.  That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.  Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage.  Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory.  This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.  These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions.  In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.  Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory.  They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude.  Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church.  Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations.  Amen.

28 September 2014

Archbishop Carlson to Celebrate Anniversary of St. Louis at St. Francis de Sales Oratory on October 19

October 19, 2014

800 Years King St. Louis IX-----250 years city of St. Louis

Visit of Archbishop Carlson

On Sunday, October 19, Archbishop Carlson will come to the Oratory as we add our contribution to the city-wide celebration of the 800th birth anniversary of King St. Louis (Louis IX of France) and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis that bears the holy saint’s name.

The program will begin at 5:00 PM, starting with honoring King Saint Louis with his holy relic in a solemn procession. The entire program, including a sermon pronounced by the guest of honor, His Grace, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, is as follows:

Procession of Relic of St. Louis
Solemn Vespers
Homily pronounced by His Grace, Archbishop Carlson
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Reception in the Oratory Hall

Throughout this year, many civic as well as Catholic events have been organized in St. Louis to highlight the history, development, and accomplishments of our great city. Please join us as the Oratory marks this special anniversary year with the Church’s joyful and solemn liturgy.

26 September 2014

Isaias 62:1

Regarding this article by Christoper Ferrara, I will repeat what he himself says:

A caution to the reader: What follows is a very harsh assessment of the current pontificate. I felt compelled to write it, but no one is compelled to read it. I am nothing and nobody in the great scheme of things...

If you want no part of it, that's your call. But I think there is a ton of truth in it, and that it merits attention.

Pray for the Holy Father and the Church!

Lighting a Candle for Marriage

Instead of merely cursing the darkness threatened by the upcoming Synod on the Family, what follows are some brief excerpts from the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which has garnered media attention in the run up to the event.

This summary comes from the SSPX's US website, and I must say they deserve credit for this, as well as for their call for a Rosary Novena to be prayed in defense of the family from September 29 (Michaelmas) to October 7 (Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary).

Enjoy the excerpts from this book, adhering to the truth of marriage as pronounced by the Savior Himself.

Remaining in the Truth of Christ: some book excerpts

Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, available October, 2014), 311 pp., $24.95. Edited by Rev. Robert Dodaro, O.S.A.

1. The Argument of the Debate
Fr. Robert Dodaro, O.S.A., President of the Patristic Institute, Augustinianum (Rome)

“The essays in this volume represent the responses of five Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church and four other scholars to the book The Gospel of the Family, published earlier this year by Walter Cardinal Kasper. Kasper’s book contains the address he gave during the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals held on February 20-21, 2014.” (p. 11)

“The authors of this volume jointly contend that the New Testament presents Christ as unambiguously prohibiting divorce and remarriage on the basis of God’s original plan for marriage set out at Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. The ‘merciful’ solution to divorce advocated by Cardinal Kasper is not unknown ‘in the ancient Church, but virtually none of the writers who survive and whom we take to be authoritative defend it; indeed when they mention it, it is rather to condemn it as unscriptural. There is nothing surprising in that situation; abuses may exist occasionally, but their mere existence is no guarantee of their not being abuses, let alone being models to be followed.’ ...These are not a series of rules made up by the Church; they constitute divine law, and the Church cannot change them.” (pp. 34-35)

II. Dominical [i.e., Jesus’] Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage: The Biblical Data
Paul Mankowski, S.J., Scholar-in-Residence at the Lumen Christi Institute (Chicago)

“Reacting to Jesus’ pronouncement that remarriage after divorce is adultery, his disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry’ (Mt 19:10). From the first moment of its declaration, the teaching Jesus propounded as the will of God was deeply distressing, even to men of good will. Subsequent centuries have shown no slackening in the energy and ingenuity devoted to weakening or nullifying the force of this teaching, and as long as it is expedient to circumvent the doctrine, there will be attempts to explain away its scriptural anchoring. But the doctrine is given as absolute in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and even Paul goes out of his way to insist that, as a messenger of the teaching and not its author, he is not to blame for its rigor: ‘To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord’ (I Cor 7:10). There can be no serious doubt that the teaching is dominical [i.e., the Lord’s].” (pp. 62-63)

III. Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church: Some Historical and Cultural Reflections
John M. Rist, Emeritus Professor of Classics and Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and former holder of the Kurt Pritzl, O.P., Chair of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America.

“If we ask how it can be the case that there are those who appeal to the ancient evidence as part of an argument in favor of change, we can only conclude that they (or the sources on which they rely) are guilty of an unfortunate practice all too common elsewhere in academia; the evidence in favor of one view is overwhelmingly superior, but there are a very few cases—and perhaps even these largely of uncertain determination [i.e., difficult to pin down]—that point to the contrary conclusion. It is then claimed that the evidence, if not in favor of change, at least leaves the solution open. Such a procedure can only be condemned as methodologically flawed. (p. 92)

IV. Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of the Bond, and Remarriage: Theological and Practical Approaches of the Orthodox Churches
Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches

“Christ brought his new, revolutionary message, one that was ‘countercultural’ to the pagan world. His disciples announced his good news, fearlessly presenting near-impossible demands that contradicted the culture of that age. The world today is perhaps similarly marked by the neo-paganism of consumption, comfort, and egoism, full of new cruelties committed by methods ever more modern and ever more dehumanizing. Faith in supernatural principles is now more than ever subject to humiliation.

“All this brings us to consider whether ‘hardness of heart’ [cf. Mt 19:8; Mk 10:5] is a convincing argument to muddle the clearness of the teaching of the gospel on the indissolubility of Christian marriage. But as a response to the many questions and doubts, and to the many temptations to find a ‘short cut’ or to ‘lower the bar’ for the existential leap that one makes in the great ‘contest’ of married life—in all this confusion among so many contrasting and distracting voices, still today resound the words of the Lord: ‘What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder’ (Mk 10:9), and the final consideration of St. Paul: “This is a great mystery...” (Eph 5:32).” (p. 128)

V. Unity and Indissolubility of Marriage: From the Middle Ages to the Council of Trent
Walter Cardinal Brandmuller, former President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences

“Thus the development of doctrine, sacraments, and the hierarchy of divine law does not come about as the casual product of history, but it is guided and made possible by the Spirit of God. For this reason, this development is irreversible and is open only toward a more complete understanding. Tradition in this sense thus has a normative character. In our case, this means that there is no way out of the teaching of the unity, sacramentality, and intrinsic indissolubility of a marriage between two baptized persons—except the way into error.” (p. 144)

VI. Testimony to the Power of Grace: On the Indissolubility of Marriage and the Debate concerning the Civilly Remarried and the Sacraments
Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

“If remarried divorcees are subjectively convinced in their conscience that a previous marriage was invalid, this must be proven objectively by the competent marriage tribunals. Marriage is not simply about the relationship of two people to God; it is also a reality of the Church, a sacrament, and it is not for the individuals concerned to decide on its validity, but rather for the Church, into which the individuals are incorporated by faith and baptism.” (p. 162)

VII. Sacramental Ontology and the Indissolubility of Marriage
Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna

“The Church has the mission of leading mankind, of educating people to overcome ‘the divergence between that which one finds on the surface and that which the mystery of love actually is.’ She has the mission of announcing the gospel of marriage. She has the mission of announcing even [i.e., also] the gospel—let me repeat: the gospel—of indissolubility, a true treasure that the Church guards in vessels of clay.” (pp. 179-180)

VIII. The Divorced and Civilly Remarried and the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance
Velasio Cardinal De Paolis, C.S., Emeritus President of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See

“Mercy is often presented in opposition to the law, even divine law. This view is unacceptable. God’s commandment is a manifestation of the love with which He shows us the way to take so as not to go astray on our journey through life. But setting God’s mercy in opposition to his own law in an unacceptable contradiction.” (p. 203)

“On the basis of the remarks above, it seems clear that in regard to the divorced and civilly remarried and their admission to the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist, there can be no solution as long as their irregular marital situation remains unchanged. This fact cannot be attributed to the severity and rigor of the law, because we are not dealing with human laws that could be changed or even repealed, but with divine laws that are good for man and mark the path of salvation indicated by God himself.” (p. 209)

IX. The Canonical Nullity of the Marriage Process as the Search for the Truth
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

“Walter Cardinal Kasper, in his presentation to the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals on February 20, 2014, raised the question of the fittingness of the judicial process. Regarding the declaration of nullity of marriage, he observed:

Because marriage as a sacrament has a public character, the decision about the validity of a marriage cannot simply be left to the subjective judgment of the parties concerned. However, one can ask whether the juridical path, which is in fact not iure divino [by divine law], but has developed in the course of history, can be the only path to the resolution of the problem, or whether other, more pastoral and spiritual procedures are conceivable. Alternatively, one might imagine that the bishop could entrust the task to a priest with spiritual and pastoral experience as a penitentiary or episcopal vicar.

“He went on to make a caricature of the marriage nullity process in the second and third instance, asking the rhetorical question: ‘Therefore, can it really be that decisions are made about the weal and woe of people at a second and a third hearing only on the basis of records, that is, on the basis of paper, but without knowledge of the persons and their situation?’” (pp. 211-212)

After a very well-documented presentation, Cardinal Burke concludes in these terms: “The judicial process for the declaration of nullity of marriage is essential to the discovery of the truth regarding the claim that what appeared to be true marriage consent was, in fact, null. Given the complexity of human nature and its reflection in most cases of marriage nullity, the only way in which to know, with moral certitude, the truth about such a claim is the dialectic that the judicial process provides and that has been carefully articulated and developed in the history of the Church’s discipline.” (p. 239)

“In conclusion, the response to the question about the canonical process for the declaration of nullity of marriage, raised in the Preparatory Document of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, can only be found through full respect for the nature of the claim of nullity of marriage and the nature of the process by which the truth of the claim is decided. It is my hope that the celebration of the coming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will lead to a new appreciation of the canonical process for the declaration of marriage, and a new commitment to provide the process for the faithful who request it in its integrity, for the sake of their eternal salvation.” (p. 240)

OK, One More

Because you know you want it.  What can't Bob teach us?

Speak It

25 September 2014

Catholics and the Bourbon Dynasty

How could I not link to this spiffy little piece over at OnePeter5 giving an insight into the Catholic contribution to the development of bourbon? Interesting, with some cool Catholic history thrown in.

Bourbon. Proof God exists and that He loves us.

Just for the record, I love both kinds of drinks-- bourbon and chartreuse.

What? There are other drinks?