31 July 2009

Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

From The Liturgical Year:

In the sixteenth century Satan made a formidable attack upon the Holy City, by means of a man who, like himself, had fallen from the height of heaven, a man prevented in early years by the choice graces which lead to perfection, yet unable in an evil day to resist the spirit of revolt. As Lucifer aimed at being equal to God, Luther set himself up against the Vicar of God, on the mountain of the covenant; and soon, falling from abyss to abyss, he drew after him the third part of the stars of the firmament of Holy Church. How terrible is that mysterious law whereby the fallen creature, be he man or angel, is allowed to keep the same ruling power for evil which he would otherwise have exercised for good. But the designs of eternal Wisdom are never frustrated: against the misused liberty of the angel or man is set up the other merciful law of substitution, by which St. Michael was the first to benefit.

The development of Ignatius' vocation to holiness followed step by step the defection of Luther.

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!
To the Greater Glory of God!

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!

Corazon Aquino Dies

From Yahoo News:

Corazon Aquino, Philippines president, dead at 76

Heads Up--Portiuncula Indulgence This Sunday

That's right, friends, one of the easiest plenary indulgences out there (assuming the usual conditions, of course) is set for Sunday-- The Portiuncula Indulgence.

This is an ancient indulgence, the conditions of which have changed often over the course of history. Rather than give that history (it is interesting, but I am short on time), let me just tell you how to obtain it.

Visit the Cathedral or Co-Cathedral Church of your Diocese, or a Franciscan Church, or your parish Church (quasi-parish churches qualify) between noon on August 1 and midnight August 3. While there, recite aloud an Our Father and the Creed.

That's it.


There are two general requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence:

Performance of a designated good work or act of piety;
Freedom from all attachment to sin, even venial sin.

Besides these, there are three conditions which must be fulfilled for any and all plenary indulgences (except the one granted for the moment of death):

Sacramental confession within 8 days before or after. However a single confession suffices for several plenary indulgences.

The reception of Holy Communion, once for each indulgence.

Prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. One Our Father and Hail Mary are sufficient, but other prayers for the Pope's intentions may be said. This is required for every plenary indulgence, except the one for the moment of death.

30 July 2009

Regina in caelum assumpta, ora pro nobis!

Confidence in Christ

I will forget everything that was, and is to come; nor think of what lies ahead of me. Whatever I am wont to carry and to hold in my arms I will let fall before Jesus. It will not fall into the void: standing before Jesus, I deliver all up to Him. Everything belongs to Him: all burdening worries and all great concerns, both mine and those of the souls I love. I am not abandoning them as I would abandon them in seeking diversion: I know that in Jesus they are truly in a safe harbor. When at His call I relinquish and abandon all things, I am not casting them away; on the contrary, I am assigning everything to its proper place.

--Dietrich von Hildebrand, Transformation in Christ

"Hi! Um, Do You Know--Did Your Dad Pass the Bar Exam?"

Signs of Things to Come?

The above photo is the vaunted Mayan Calendar, which we are told by New Age types portends the end of the world in 2012.

This link, on the other hand, takes you to a study text of the vaunted English translation of the Order of the (Ordinary Form) Mass, which we are told by ecclesiastical bureaucrat types portends the more reverent celebration of Mass in 2011, or some time thereafter.

Which prediction will come to pass first-- or ever-- is yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, the ancient Roman Rite of Mass, the texts of which have been largely unchanged for 1500 years, and nearly completely fixed for more than 400 years, is still there, never quite being squelched by liturgical terrorists, "reintroduced" slowly but surely over the last 25 years, and gaining popularity at an increasing rate in the last two years.

However, there continues to be slow progress on the promulgation of the more accurate English translation. And this is a very good thing. Whatever one's ritual preference, the Church benefits--souls benefit-- from the proper and dignified celebration of Mass. God deserves to be worshipped with the best we have.

Some readers may be familiar with many of the improvements in the current version of this translation. Examples include rendering "pro multis" in the consecration formula as "for many" (which is of course exactly what pro multis means); a much more accurately rendered Gloria and Credo; and even a much better translation of the Roman Canon (the largely forgotten Eucharistic Prayer I).

Take some time and scroll through the study text, especially if you are a regular novus ordo attendee. Pray that it is promulgated in our lifetimes. Finally, pray that the translations are actually used, and that liturgical abusers are called to answer for abuses.

29 July 2009

The Dude abides.

Michael O'Brien on Caritas in Veritate

Noted Catholic author and artist has a thought-provoking analysis of the latest Papal encyclical:

Split in Consciousness: Split in Conscience:

“liberal” and “conservative” reactions to Caritas in Veritate

by Michael D. O’Brien

As Cardinal Josef Ratzinger pointed out more than 25 years ago, the political terms “liberal” and “conservative” are grossly misleading when applied to the Kingdom of God. They are especially so when applied to the ongoing evangelical mission of the Church, which is to draw all men to Christ, to work while the light lasts, to be a “light to the Gentiles.” ...
Read More

St. Guy and the Potluck Mass

LCR ran a story the other day about a Mass celebrated by a priest familiar with the Catholic Worker movement. The story is no big deal, but there was a picture of a group of people in lawn chairs around a table loaded with picnic foods. No biggie, except in the middle of it all were a Paten and Chalice, and the story describes the scene as the Mass itself. The photo above is a redacted view with just the immediate area around the supposed-to-be sacred vessels. The reason for this is that I didn't want any flack for showing specific people.

In any event, this rusticated abuse of Mass set off one of my regular readers, who goes by the nom-de-guerre of StGuyFawkes. Like Guy, he throws an incendiary or two in the post below:


By StGuyFawkes

Once upon a time, you were at a Mass like this. It may have been after your theatre club finished a three night run of “GODSPELL” . Or maybe you attended this Mass on a “Youth Group Weekend”. But admit it. You did once attend a Mass like this.

Examine the photo: Men have not even bothered to remove their hats. The consecrated bread and wine stand alongside what looks like a cheese ball. The whole set-up suggests that Christ’s body were another kind of three-bean-salad, or a Jell-O mold. My mother would say, “Don’t these heathen know how to kneel?”

On the other hand, it does look to be a Mass conducted before dinner -- observing the one hour fast. And to be generous, the pot luck items, one supposes, might be “Offertory Gifts”. Still, this “Pot Luck Mass” drives me crazy! I just can’t get past the consecrated matter being placed across from a crock-pot. Wherever I witness the “Pot Luck” Mass I always get these strange messages.

1.) The sacrament is mere food! Christ’s body is no different than hot dogs.

2.) Another message is, “Everyone here is just as informal and sincere as the disciples at “The Last Supper”. Gee, aren’t we all loving and intimate?”

3.) Also the “Pot Luck Mass” always seems to whisper, “If we are now, in this liturgy, just like Jesus and the disciples at the ‘Last Supper’, then who needs bishops? Or a Church? We are Church.”

And of course, “The Pot Luck Mass” suggests THE BIG QUESTION, “Who confects bean salad, string bean casserole, and bundt cake, really? Well, women, of course! Therefore, why not women priests?”

“The Pot Luck Mass” seems like a buffet of half baked ideas taken off the back of the macaroni box; and worse, it draws ants. It invites the little crawlies of vanity and self delusion to come up on the table. And the worst part of the “Pot Luck Mass” is that lurking within the sauce -- maybe it’s the taste of a bug that fell in -- is the flavor of Calvinism.

Oh, yes! In this "loving, accepting, all inclusive" liturgy there’s often just a teaspoon of Calvin’s idea of the pre-destined elect. In their arch-casualness and stern sloppiness you sense the aroma of high self opinion. The congregants studied cluelessness of rubrics whispers, “We’re so good, we’re so holy, we’re so close to Jesus, we don’t have to kneel or beat our breasts or do anything uncomfortable. We’re better than other people.”

I don’t know if anyone ever meant it this way but it’s there anyway. The “Pot Luck Mass” is snobbish precisely because it is slobbish. The mixture of informality, and intimacy, in liturgy – or anywhere else -- always excludes more than it welcomes. Think of your college fraternity acting badly. Think of the relaxed grossness of your soccer team after a match. It’s a rule of human nature: informality and intimacy imply in-group exclusivity. “The Pot Luck Mass” is for people who already like and approve of each other. Too often, at the “Pot Luck Mass” you find a confraternity of the like-minded whose deepest wish is to celebrate themselves.

They call that “being sacrament to each other”. I call it group narcissism.

Paradoxically, it’s the regular Sunday parish Mass that escapes all this warm and fuzzy self-admiration. The Tridentine Mass, or the Novus Ordo Mass, done reverently, creates a community out of anyone who shows up. It’s as unselective as an A.A. meeting. The regular scheduled Masses don't need a pre-existing social base to work as liturgy. They create one by the power of reverence and discipline, humility and rubrics. Just like in A.A.

The fact is that the regular Parish Mass is more egalitarian than the back yard “Beggars’ Banquet”. Why? Because the regular parish Mass is there for everyone. It’s there for the Antonin Scalias and the Dorothy Days. It’s there for both Martin Sheen and Phyllis Schlafly. It’s universal, it’s Catholic.

When I went to “Pot Luck Masses” in the 1970s I always felt lonelier after they ended. I finally figured out why. These Masses were only for the "special people" who were really supposed to be there. They weren’t really for everyone. Those Masses may have been valid.

But they weren’t Catholic.

Good Morning!

Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak

"Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites"

I couldn't phrase it any better than the headline from this article in the Vancouver Sun:

Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Geologist Ian Plimer takes a contrary view, arguing that man-made climate change is a con trick perpetuated by environmentalists

By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun

July 28, 2009

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him.

Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia's best-known and most notorious academic.

Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of "anthropogenic global warming" -- man-made climate change to you and me -- and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour -- cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks -- can reverse the trend.

But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.

But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth -- Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.

That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become.

But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.

The dynamic and changing character of the Earth's climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.

Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth's evolution.

(Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth's daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined.

So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.

Prayer Request

For a dear family that has suffered a loss. Thank you.

28 July 2009

In the Details

A noted local doctor sent the following email noting some of the nastier elements of the House's version of the Stalinist State-Run Health Rationing Plan. OK, they don't actually call it that.

Here's the thing: this is just the current house version, it doesn't mean that all of these items will be in a bill that passes both houses. Furthermore, I would not subscribe to all of the political commentary or conclusions drawn. The reason I post this is that it serves to remind us why a 1000+ page bill that few have read doesn't need to be enacted in a two week time frame. This is serious government takeover.

Here are some things the bill includes:

The Economic Policy Journal points us to Peter Fleckstein, who twittered the contents of the House Socialized Medicine bill . Oh, what a treat your family is in for.

• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure.
• Page 29:
Admission: your health care will be rationed.
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike with an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e.,
total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay
ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing.
No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an
8% tax on payroll
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a
2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesnt' have acceptable healthcare
(according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239:
Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected.
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272:
Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited from owning and investing in healthcare companies.
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of "outcome-based" measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354:
Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: "Advance Care Planning Consult": Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death. Mandates that all medicare patients (those over 65) recieve "end of life counseling" every FIVE Years! Doctors will be required to discuss end of life "options" with you , want it or not!
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429:
Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
• Page 469: "Community-based" Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to "Community-based" organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating
and rationing those services.

Homeschooling on Trial in Divorce

Below is a story for the record on a rally in support of homeschooling, in the context of a divorce case, of all things. I am a strong supporter of homeschooling, as anyone who reads this blog for a nanosecond knows. However, I am not sure this is really about homeschooling, or whether it is a typical divorced-parents-trying-to-hurt-each-other-and-not-caring-about-the-children-or-else-there-wouldn't-be-a-divorce-in-the-first-place issue.

P-D story below, P-D photo above:

Crowd gathers before divorce trial linked to home-schooling

By Shane Anthony

ST. CHARLES -- About 40 people gathered outside the St. Charles County Circuit Courthouse this morning for a rally and press conference before a divorce trial in which they say home-schooling is an issue.

The Jeff Naeger and Lisa Payne-Naeger divorce case has drawn attention from home-schoolers across the nation, said rally organizer Stephanie Rubach. Naeger wants the children to attend private schools. Payne-Naeger, a former Francis Howell School Board member, wants to continue home-schooling her children, who are 14 and 16.

Rubach said she was confident the judge in the case would be objective, but she said she and others wanted to make sure the law was followed.

"It's up to us to hold the courts accountable," Rubach said.

Rubach and other speakers said they supported parents' rights in general. They said they objected to a court order that prevented either parent from talking to the children about the divorce case. Another point of contention, they said, was the guardian ad litem's efforts to have Payne-Naeger's teaching abilities tested. The guardian ad litem is assigned to represent the children's best interests in court.

Neither of the divorcing parties attended the rally.

The case drew attention on the Internet through speaking engagements Payne-Naeger has held and blog postings in support of her.

But on the courthouse's fifth floor, where the trial started, attorneys said the case does not revolve solely around the education issue.
"This is not a referendum on home-schooling," said Joel Eisenstein, Payne-Naeger's attorney

27 July 2009

Meanwhile, at the Ballgame...

I had a very nice evening at the Cardinals game tonight. Sorry, Delena, but the Dodgers lost.

The most interesting part begins something like a bad joke:

A priest, a blogger and a normal person walk toward the concession stand. Out of nowhere comes a guy in a motorized wheelchair, and he is booking. That is oldster-speak for "he was making good speed." He blows right through us. The blogger, remembering he is with a priest, restrains his tongue. But before he can say anything else, a golf cart whizzes by with the horn blaring. On the cart are an usher and a security guard. Neither is what one would call svelte. It, too, blows right through the group. The security guard yells, "Stop that guy! Stop the guy on the wheelchair!"

Now I do want to clarify one thing. I said the wheelchair and the golf cart were going fast. They were, considering they were a wheelchair and a golf cart. If either the guard or the usher had hopped off of the cart, he would have caught the wheelchair guy in three seconds. Picture George Costanza being chased by the seniors on their scooters.

I would be lying if I said we made any effort to catch this guy. I think we were too stunned by the whole affair. And, of course, there were refreshments to be had. We moved on.

After we returned from the concession stand, one of the other ushers triumphantly told us that the speedy wheelchair guy was nabbed.

And in this manner, the danger to the local populace was averted.

Cards won, 6-1.

Still Relevant for Our Times

"A Christianity which keeps a grip on itself, refuses every compromise with the world, takes the commands of God and the Church seriously, preserves its love of God and of men in all its freshness, such a Christianity can be, and will be, a model and a guide to a world which is sick to death and clamors for directions, unless it be condemned to a catastrophe that would baffle the imagination."

--Pope Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge, 1937

Where to Begin on this One?

O.K., deep breath.

And away--

I first saw this on Patrick Madrid's site. And then I noticed Delena linked it, too.

What is it? Well, it is a wedding procession of the most unconventional variety. You Tube will not allow the video to be embedded, but you can watch it at the first link above.

Some observations, in random order:

1) The bare shoulder crowd will not like this.

2) I was immediately glad it wasn't a Catholic Church-- but I wish I could say with 100% certainty that it could never happen in one.

3) One of my favorite comments at the YouTube site was to the effect that this couple would be divorced within 2 years (no hate mail, please! I don't wish it to be true.)

4) It reminds me somewhat of a scene from the movie Barcelona where the hero, alone in his apartment, does some weird dance while reading the Bible. His cousin walks in with his girlfriend, and is amused. The cousin inquires if this is his new Presbyterian worship service. In his embarrassed confusion, the hero says, "Well, Protestant." After which the girlfriend asks, "Are all Protestant churches like this?" And the cousin answers, "Pretty much."

5) Is this sign #34,765 of the end of the world?

Nigerian Cardinal Holds Up Mirror to America

Catholic Culture has published an interview with Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie of Nigeria. In it, he has some challenging things to say of American culture and its effect on priestly vocations. The interview in its entirety is linked at the end of this post. In my non-blogging life, I have occasion to sometimes read Nigerian newspaper stories, and this one tracks just as bizarrely as I would have thought. In other words, the portions of the interview not quoted below aren't that edifying, but I include the link for those who wish to check the source material.

Nigerian cardinal blasts laxity of American culture, priesthood

July 27, 2009

In an interview in which he defended the discipline of priestly celibacy, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos condemned the laxity of American culture and some American priests.

Contrasting the priesthood shortage in the US with the more positive Nigerian vocation picture, Cardinal Okogie said that “those people there [in the US]…they don’t value anything any more. And how do you want priests to come from a place like that?”

When the interviewer referred to “an American priest [who] was caught smooching and kissing his girlfriend at a Miami beach,” the prelate interjected:

I am happy you said America. This is Nigeria. Whatever happens there; it is still the universal Church. It pains me. We are all the same body of Christ. It pains me. It shouldn’t be …but I am here in Nigeria and I can speak of Nigeria. If any stupid priest or bishop in Nigeria feels he wants to copy the American model, then there is something wrong with his head.

Cardinal Okogie, now 73, has served as Archbishop of Lagos since he was 36. Pope John Paul II created him a cardinal in the consistory of 2003.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Interview with Cardinal Okogie (Lagos Vanguard)

New Crackpot Poll

I have added a new poll to the sidebar at right, just for fun. It seems that if one makes a living surfing the net for Catholic news and views from a traditional perspective, and if further one is not afraid to cover political stories, you come across some pretty interesting "theories" of life.

So, take the poll--your name isn't taken-- and let us know to what kind of crackpot theories you subscribe. Or, perhaps, you don't believe them but wouldn't be surprised were true if they were verified.

(P.S. Sane readers, don't worry, it's all in good fun.)

26 July 2009

Is it possible? Government v. Charities?

This must be a blow to certain progressive Catholics. Well, not really--Government action is always preferable to private charity:

25 July 2009


Am I the only person to have seen every M. Night Shyamalan film except The Sixth Sense?

Feast of St. James the Great

Patron of Spain, where he is known as Santiago Matamoros (St. James Moorslayer). There is a very edifying entry in The Liturgical Year for St. James relevant to this title, an excerpt of which is below:

... And how did he justify his name of son of thunder, since his voice was heard by a mere handful of disciples in a desert of infidelity?

This new name, another special prerogative of the two brothers, was realized by John in his sublime writings... With regard to James, too, then, eternal Wisdom could not have been mistaken. Let it not be thought that the sword of any Herod could frustrate the designs of the most High upon the men of His choice. The life of the saints is never cut short; their death, ever precious, is still more so when in the cause of God it seems to come before the time. It is then that with double reason we may say their works follow them; God Himself being bound in honour, both for His own sake and for theirs, to see that nothing is wanting to their plenitude. As a victim of a holocaust, He hath received them, says the Holy Ghost, and in time there shall be respect had to them. The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. They shall judge nations, and rule over peoples; and their Lord shall reign for ever. How literally was this divine oracle to be fulfilled with regard to our saint!

Nearly eight centuries, which to the heavenly citizens are but as a day, had passed over that tomb in the north of Spain, where two disciples had secretly laid the apostle's body. During that time the land of his inheritance, which he had so rapidly traversed, had been overrun first by Roman idolaters, then by Arian barbarians, and when the day of hope seemed about to dawn, a deeper night was ushered in by the Crescent. One day lights were seen glimmering over the briars that covered the monument; attention was drawn to the spot, which henceforth went by the name of the field of stars. But what are those sudden shouts coming down from the mountains, and echoing through the valleys? Who is this unknown chief rallying against an immense army the little worn-out troop whose heroic valour could not yesterday save it from defeat? Swift as lightning, and bearing in one hand a white standard with a red cross, he rushes with drawn sword upon the panic-stricken foe, and dyes the feet of his charger in the blood of 70,000 slain. Hail to the chief of the holy war, of which this Liturgical Year has so often made mention! St. James! St. James! Forward, Spain! It is the reappearance of the Galilean fisherman, whom the Man-God once called from the bark where he was mending his nets; of the elder son of thunder, now free to hurl the thunderbolt upon these new Samaritans, who pretend to honour the unity of God by making Christ no more than a prophet. Henceforth James shall be to Christian Spain the firebrand which the prophet saw, devouring all the people round about, to the right hand and to the left, until Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place in Jerusalem.

And when, after six centuries and a half of struggle, his standard bearers, the Catholic kings, had succeeded in driving the infidel hordes beyond the seas, the valiant leader of the Spanish armies laid aside his bright armour, and the slayer of Moors became once more a messenger of the faith. As fisher of men, he entered his bark, and gathering around it the gallant fleets of Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Albuquerque, he led them over unknown seas to lands that had never yet heard the name of the Lord. For his contribution to the labours of the twelve, James drew ashore his well-filled nets, from west and east and south, from new worlds, renewing Peter's astonishment at the sight of such captures. He, whose apostolate seemed at the time of Herod III to have been crushed in the bud before bearing any fruit, may say with St. Paul: I have no way come short of them that are above measure apostles, for by the grace of God, I have laboured more abundantly than all they.

24 July 2009

Sharon on Instructing the Youth

My lovely wife Sharon called me at work to make some observations about the content of this week's St. Louis Review. She was particularly motivated by a sidebar to a story written by the inestimable Jennifer Brinker (this isn't about the writing, Jen, so don't hate!) on the Steubenville conference. The topic of the sidebar was this: "How to Help Your Teen Grow in Faith."

Sharon had her own ideas, and thought I should post on the subject. Well, as I was at work and would never let this blog interfere with my mail route, I said, "How 'bout you?"

And so, here it is, courtesy of Sharon:


So I was reading today's issue of the Review as I ate lunch and came upon the article For Parents: How to help your teen grow in faith. As a parent of a soon-to-be-driving teen (please pray for us!) and a nearly teen, I thought I would see how my attempts in this area stack up to the recommendations of Catholic youth ministers.

Though I agreed with their main points, I must say I was disappointed in the ways they recommended to implement these suggestions. They seemed rather shallow or not specific enough to get the job done. And their overall answer to everything seemed to be “have them participate in youth groups” or “send them to youth conferences.” Now don’t tell me that these groups have been wonderful for your teens. I don’t doubt that they have helped some teens. But it seems to me that, though teens often get swept up in the moment and become more excited about their faith, these “gains” are usually just based on emotions and not built upon a solid religious foundation that will enable them to “grow” a strong faith.

So for those parents looking for more concrete ways to help your children grow in their faith, these are some of the things we’re doing to help our children get to heaven.

1. Put faith first. Family life should reflect how important the Catholic faith is to us. Yes, Mass should take precedence over outside activities (as recommended in the article), but parents should consider attending more frequently -- say, make First Fridays, First Saturdays, Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotions together as a family. The Catholic Faith should be part of our homes. Have a home altar or hang religious art throughout the house. That way the children, and also visitors to our homes, have no doubt that our Catholic Faith is important to our family.

2. Engage in conversation. Talk about your faith with your children, as the article advises. But it’s important that children really know about their faith (and not just that we go to church on Sundays) and why our family is Catholic and not Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, or Methodist. (No offense, Methodist Jim!) Learn more about the Catholic faith yourself and share what you’ve learned with your children. It may even encourage them to study on their own. Discuss Father’s sermon over lunch on Sunday. Talk about current events and how it fits with your faith. Children should learn why the Church takes the stands it does and how everything fits with God’s plan.

3. Do charitable work as part of family life. Help in a soup kitchen, mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor, help clean the church, make a meal for a new mother or sick friend. Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy as a family, and your children will probably continue this practice on their own.

4. Pray. Pray the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, any of the numerous Litanies, Morning Offering, the Angelus, Lauds, Compline … the list goes on and on. Or attend Adoration. Do this as a family so it will become a natural habit for your children as they grow up.

5. Encourage your sons to become servers. Serving at Mass can bring your son closer to Jesus, both physically and mentally. And those who serve for the Extraordinary Rite seem to see the connection to the priesthood and have a beautiful reverence for the Eucharist.

OK, I’ll step off my soapbox for now. If you have any other suggestions, please pass them along. I need all the help I can get!

Reminder: Canon Jason Apple's First Solemn High Mass This Sunday at 10 am

At St. Francis de Sales Oratory. Benediction, and blessings from the newly ordained to follow Mass. And don't forget the reception in the Hall afterwards.

The faithful who attend may receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions (detachment from sin, sacramental confession w/in 8 days, Holy Communion, prayers for the Pope's intentions).
All are welcome to attend this joyous event.

23 July 2009

Archbishop Burke to Celebrate Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form in St. Peter's Basilica

Step by step, the stage is being set for a public Papal celebration of the traditional Mass...

Rorate Caeli:

Solemn Pontifical Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, October 18, 2009

Rinascimento Sacro has announced that, as the culminating activity of the Second Convention on Summorum Pontificum organized by Giovani e Tradizione, a Solemn Pontifical Mass according to the classical Roman Rite will be celebrated in the Chapel of Eucharistic Adoration in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. The Mass will be offered by His Excellency, Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Music will be provided by a mixed choir of Franciscans of the Immaculate.

Deo Gratias!

Head of the Congregation for Divine Worship Backs Archbishop Burke: Denying Communion to Pro-Abortion Politicians is "Charity in Truth"

From LifesiteNews.com:

Interview: Head of Vatican's Liturgical Office says Principle of Refusing Communion is "Charity in Truth"

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, July 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A high level Vatican official has reminded US bishops of their responsibilities to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, including the possibility of withholding Communion. Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the head of the Vatican's liturgical office, told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview today that the guiding principle for bishops considering withholding Communion from pro-abortion politicians in their dioceses should be "caritas in veritate" or "charity in truth."

Canizares explained that according to Catholic teaching those who insist upon receiving Communion in a state of serious sin are in grave spiritual danger and emphasized that the withholding of Communion is meant for the person's spiritual salvation.

He said, "I think that the strongest words are found in St. Paul: one who goes to the Eucharist and is not properly prepared, duly prepared, 'he eats his own condemnation'. This is the strongest thing that we can say and what is the most truthful statement."

The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, in an exclusive interview with LSN, said that it is the duty of bishops and priests to instruct Catholic politicians who refuse to accept the Church's teachings on life, to help them understand the "gravity" of what they are doing.

"Politicians should become aware and they should be helped to become aware of the gravity of their conduct," the cardinal said at his offices in Rome. "When they approve laws against life, in favor of abortion or euthanasia, priests and bishops should say this."

He said that the principle that should be applied is the one that gives the title to the latest encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, "Caritas in Veritate."

"This principle, caritas in veritate [love in truth], should be the principle used, first by politicians when they come to Communion, and second it should be the rule for bishops when they decide whether to give or to withdraw Communion."

While the cardinal said he does now know whether the Vatican is preparing a document on the problem of pro-abortion politicians, he reiterated the Church's position that to be actively involved in procuring abortion is the gravest of offenses and one that incurs the most severe punishment the Church has: excommunication.

"In the cases of public sinners," he added, "we don't know what is happening in the consciences of those politicians. And I understand the prudence with which we have to act. But I think also that it is our duty to clarify their consciences. To help the person to act in accordance with a right and true conscience."

This is part of the function of bishops, he said, "to help the due formation of conscience. To form consciences in such a way that people should act in accordance with the truth."

Cardinal Canizares's remarks echo those of Archbishop Raymond Burke, the former head of the archdiocese of St. Louis and current head of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Burke told Democrat candidate Senator John Kerry, who though Catholic held a 100 percent approval rating with the country's leading abortion lobbyists, that he could not receive Communion in the St. Louis diocese.

In an interview with LSN in February, Archbishop Burke said the politicians who are persisting in what the Church says is a "grave sin" must be refused Communion for the sake of their own souls. "When you talk to these people, they know," he said. "They know what they're doing is very wrong. They have to answer to God for that, but why through our pastoral negligence add on to that, that they have to answer to God for who knows how many unworthy receptions of Holy Communion?"

Similarly, in Canada, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast told LSN in an interview last year, "The Church's concern is for anyone who persists in grave sin, hoping that medicinal measures (which is how excommunication and interdict are to be understood) may draw them away from the wrong path to the truth of our faith."

Cardinal Canizares pointed to two documents that bishops can use for guidance on how to deal with politicians who refuse to reform their consciences - the encyclical of the late Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae and the document produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2004 when Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect. That document stated clearly that pro-abortion Catholic politicians "must be refused" Holy Communion if they attempt to receive at Mass.

The cardinal emphasized that such a formation of conscience merely means that "politicians should act in accordance with the truth."

Torn Between Supporting the Oratory and Watching Baseball? Fret No More!

The first one was a great success, come out for round two. From the Tradition for Tomorrow site:

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Fundraiser - Take Two

What can you do to:

1) Support the Cardinals at Busch Stadium (a great American Tradition),

2) Support the St. Francis de Sales Oratory (a great Catholic Tradition), and,

3) Have fun?

Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory cordially invite you to join us to watch the St. Louis Cardinals take on LA Dodgers on
Monday, July 27, at 6:10 pm.

For a minimum donation of $100, this special vantage point from the luxury suite comes with convenience and comfort: restroom facilities, and big screen TV for replays. Thanks to a generous donor, the Oratory has 20 tickets for Monday night’s game against the Dodgers, currently the National League West Division leader. Another generous Donor has provided a superb weather forecast (Monday only), making either indoor or outdoor seating a great way to spend a summer evening with Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Please reserve your spot by calling the Oratory as soon as possible (314) 771-3100.

Oratory News on the Web

The effort to restore St. Francis de Sales Oratory will now be covered in the blogosphere outside of St. Louis. American Papist is posting today on the effort, an excerpt from which appears below:

Restore a Catholic landmark in Saint Louis!

An important restoration campaign is underway at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, a National Registry of Historic Places landmark on the South Side of Saint Louis. Originally founded in 1867 to serve the German immigrant community, Saint Francis de Sales has faced the challenges of changing demographics and urban blight in more recent years, like many urban parishes. The majestic century-old neo-Gothic structure, replete with a 350-foot tall steeple, like any building of its age and size, stands in serious need of restoration. A new phase in the life of the church began in 2005 when Archbishop Raymond Burke entrusted the church to the Institute of Christ the King, a society of apostolic life offering Mass and the sacraments in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. The Institute places a strong accent on sacred art, architecture and music in the service of God and has carried out a number of notable church restoration projects.

As the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales—already important as an architectural and religious monument in the city—has been reborn and continues to grow, the need for restoring the church has become more pressing. Preserving the structural integrity of the steeple tower is an immediate and urgent need, as the tower is pulling away from church’s foundation. Even the slightest incline is exerting great pressure on the building, affecting the walls and windows. The structural restoration alone will cost $1.5 million. Additional funds will also be needed to beautify the tower house, including renovating the vestibule, the clock, and the bells. Subsequent phases of the restoration will encompass the stained glass windows and tuckpointing, as well as refurbishing the interior elements such as the organ, confessionals, and altars. A successful restoration of the sacristy has already been completed. For more information about this worthy project, please consult the
Tradition for Tomorrow site or contact the Oratory at 2653 Ohio Avenue; Saint Louis, Missouri 63118.

22 July 2009

Good News in Health Care

Office of Chancellor

Today's appointment of Nancy J. Werner as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (reported here) raises a question to which many may not know the answer:

What does the Chancellor do?

The office of Chancellor is mentioned several times in the Code of Canon Law. Here are the most relevent entries:


Can. 482 §1 In each curia a chancellor is to be appointed, whose principal office, unless particular law states otherwise, is to ensure that the acts of the curia are drawn up and dispatched, and that they are kept safe in the archive of the curia.

§2 If it is considered necessary, the chancellor may be given an assistant, who is to be called the vice-chancellor.

§3 The chancellor and vice-chancellor are automatically notaries and secretaries of the curia.

Can. 483 §1 Besides the chancellor, other notaries may be appointed, whose writing or signature authenticates public documents. These notaries may be appointed for all acts, or for judicial acts alone, or only for acts concerning a particular issue or business.

§2 The chancellor and notaries must be of unblemished reputation and above suspicion. In cases which could involve the reputation of a priest, the notary must be a priest.

Can. 484 The office of notary involves:

1° writing acts and documents concerning decrees, arrangements, obligations, and other matters which require their intervention;

2° faithfully recording in writing what is done, and signing the document, with a note of the place, the day, the month and the year;

3° while observing all that must be observed, showing acts or documents from the archives to those who lawfully request them, and verifying that copies conform to the original.

Can. 485 The chancellor and the other notaries can be freely removed by the diocesan Bishop. They can be removed by a diocesan Administrator only with the consent of the college of consultors.


Can. 487 §1 The archive must be locked, and only the Bishop and the chancellor are to have the key; no one may be allowed to enter unless with the permission of the Bishop, or with the permission of both the Moderator of the curia and the chancellor. §2 Persons concerned have the right to receive, personally or by proxy, an authentic written or photostat copy of documents which are of their nature public and which concern their own personal status.

Archbishop Carlson Appoints New Chancellor

To: The Curia of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

From: Archbishop Robert Carlson

Date: July 22, 2009

Re: Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis

I am very pleased to announce to you today that I have appointed Nancy J. Werner, currently the Chancellor of the Diocese of Saginaw, as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Nancy Werner is a highly qualified individual and possesses an outstanding record as a collaborator in ministry and administration. She holds an undergraduate degree in Religion and Philosophy, as well as a Masters in Pastoral Administration from Regis University in Denver. Nancy brings to the Archdiocese over twenty-six years of parish, diocesan and national leadership experience. The occasion of this appointment gives me the opportunity to name a highly qualified woman to a senior position within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Nancy will begin her work in mid-August, after completing her transfer from Saginaw, and will have her office located at the Catholic Center.

At the same time, I am pleased to appoint Reverend Monsignor Jerome Billing to the office of Chancellor for Canonical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. In this capacity, Monsignor Billing will be responsible for marriage dispensations as well as the oversight of the Archdiocesan Archives. In addition, Monsignor Billing is appointed Promoter of Justice and Defender of the Bond for the Metropolitan Tribunal, where his physical office will be located.

In the near future, I will announce the creation of a revised governing structure, with a new organizational chart, for the administrative and ministerial operations of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

I look forward to working closely with Nancy Werner and Monsignor Billing in their new responsibilities.
Interesting. "I will announce the creation of a revised governing structure, with a new organizational chart..."
I wonder what other surprises are in store. And I won't hazard any guesses...

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen

And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that He sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; and standing behind at His feet, she began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. St. Luke vii. 37,38

"Who is this woman? Without doubt it is the Church," answers St. Peter Chrysologus, "the Church, weighed down and stained with sins committed in the city of this world. At the news that Christ has appeared in Judea, that He is to be seen at the banquet of the Pasch, where He bestows His mysteries and reveals the divine Sacrament, and makes known the secret of salvation, suddenly she darts forward; despising the endeavours of the Scribes to prevent her entrance, she confronts the princes of the Synagogue; burning with desire she penetrates into the sanctuary, where she finds Him whom she seeks, betrayed by Jewish perfidy even at the banquet of love; not the passion, nor the Cross, nor the tomb can check her faith, or prevent her from bringing her perfumes to Christ."

Who but the Church knows the secret of this perfume? asks Paulinus of Nola with Ambrose of Milan; the Church, whose numberless flowers have all aromas; the Church, who exhales before God a thousand sweet odours aroused by the breath of the Holy Spirit-- viz., the virtues of nations and the prayers of the saints. Mingling the perfume of her conversion with her tears of repentance, she anoints the feet of her Lord, honouring in them His humanity. Her faith, whereby she is justified, grows equally with her love: soon the Head of the Spouse-- that is, His divinity-- receives from her the homage of the full measure of pure and precious spikenard-- to wit, consummate holiness, whose heroism goes so far as to break the vessel of mortal flesh by the martyrdom of love, if not by that of tortures.

Arrived at the height of the mystery, she forgets not even there those sacred feet, whose contact delivered her from the seven devils representing all vices; for to the heart of the Bride, as in the bosom of the Father, her Lord is still both God and Man. The Jew, who would not own Christ either for head or foundation, found no fragrant oil for His head, nor even water for His feet; she, on the contrary, pours her priceless perfume over both. And while the sweet odour of her perfect faith fills the earth, now become by the victory of that faith the house of the Lord, she continues to wipe her Master's feet with her beautiful hair-- i.e., her countless good works and her ceaseless prayer. The growth of this mystical hair requires all her care here on earth; and in heaven its abundance and beauty will call forth the praise of Him who jealously counts, without losing one, all the works of His Church. Then from her own head, as from that of her Spouse, will the fragrant unction of the Holy Spirit overflow even to the skirt of her garment.

...Venerable Bede, gathering up, according to his wont, the traditions of his predecessors, does not hesitate to assert that "what Magdalen once did, remains the type of what the whole Church does, and of what every perfect soul must ever do."

--from The Liturgical Year

Looking for Some Good News Today?

How's this:

Fiscal ruin of the Western world beckons

21 July 2009

Monsignor Nicola Bux on Communion in the Hand: "There is no text of the Tradition which supports it."

Rorate Caeli again presents an important interview, this time from the Italian publication Pontifex Roma, of a key Vatican figure on the subject of the liturgical vision of Pope Benedict XVI. I reprint this post below. It makes some points that need to be made, and is sure to be somewhat controversial:

The Italian website Pontifex.Roma has published a short interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux on the topic of Holy Communion. Here is the full text of the interview in English translation. Emphases mine.

Given Msgr. Bux's closeness to the Pope and his liturgical thought, it seems that we have here a clear exposition of the "Benedictine" stance regarding the proper way to receive communion: clearly favorable towards communion kneeling and on the tongue coupled with a clear disapproval of communion in the hand (clearer than in the previous three Pontificates), without as yet proposing strict measures to abolish anything not already condemned in documents like Redemptionis Sacramentum, and definitely without opposing communion standing up. -- CAP.


How to administer communion in a dignified manner

Communion on one’s knees guarantees devotion and the sense of the sacred. Certain flippant ways to administer this sacrament show a loss of the sense of the sacred. The faithful must not take for themselves the Chalice and the Host, this being a serious abuse.

Monday, July 20th, 2009
From Pontifex Roma

How should one administer communion in a dignified manner? We asked the theologian and esteemed liturgist Monsignor Nicola Bux. It may be a random case but the modernism and the slovenliness of certain post-conciliar interpretations have lead to such a debasement of this Sacrament , that there are all kind of ways in which people approach it…

Don Bux, which is the most correct way to communicate?

“I would say there are two ways. There is the position where one stands up, taking the Host in the mouth, or else on one’s knees. I do not see any third way.”

There is the standing-up position.

“OK, I have nothing against it. The important thing is that the faithful are intimately conscious of what they are about to receive, that is that they do not approach the communion with a lightheartedness that shows immaturity and being at a complete distance from God.”

Communion standing up, but what is the best way to do it?

“Well, look here, even the receiving of the communion standing up may be full of devotion, of compunction…... and a sense of the Sacred is good to have. It would be very good and convenient, no doubt about it, to let a formal sign of reverence precede communion (even if it is received standing up), which means the head is covered for the women, sign of the cross or a slight bow in a sign of one’s love.

But for what reason do people often approach the communion as if it is a kind of buffet?

I like this expression and in part it is correct. Many persons rise mechanically (from their seats - CAP) and they do not know and are not even able to imagine what they are about to receive. They think that participation in Mass something that automatically includes communion and that they have to go up and receive it, although the fact is that only those who are really in the grace of God should do so”.

In his latest Masses pope Benedict XVI has administered communion
only to those who were kneeling.

"Yes, he was very right to do so. I believe that kneeling when receiving the communion helps one to gather oneself together and to understand the mystery in a more reverential way. To kneel in front of the Body of Christ is an act of gratuitous love and humility before God, and this sense of the sacred is seldom understood. In our days it is mostly adrift and lost or almost muted. “

All in all, communion on one’s knees helps the spirit?

“Yes, certainly so, it favors devotion and spirituality. I believe that the position on one’s knees when receiving the communion is the one which by far responds the most to the Sacred.

And receiving in one’s hand?

“I am sorry to say, but there is no text of the Tradition which supports it. Not even if everybody takes it and eats it in this way. There is no text concerning this, and if we wish we could say that the Apostles were priests and thus had the right to take it by the hand. The Oriental Church does not permit it.”