31 January 2011
29 January 2011
Remember, Institute apostolates tomorrow will also celebrate the external solemnity of St. Francis de Sales. Sunday Masses at the Oratory are at 8am (low) and 10am (high).
From The Liturgical Year:
Peaceful conqueror of souls! Pontiff beloved of God and man! we venerate thee as the perfect imitator of the sweetness and gentleness of Jesus. Having learnt of him to be meek and humble of heart, thou didst, according to His promise, possess the land. Nothing could resist thee. Heretics, however obstinate; sinners, however hardened; tepid souls, however sluggish; all yielded to the powerful charm of thy word and example...
Pray for us to Our Lord, that our charity may be ardent like thine; that the desire of perfection may be ever active within us; that we may gain that introduction to a devout Life which thou hast so admirably taught; that we may have that love of our neighbour, without which we cannot hope to love God; that we may be zealous for the salvation of souls; that we may be patient and forgive injuries, in order that we may love one another, not only in word and in tongue, but as thy great model says, in deed and in truth.
28 January 2011
The Archdiocese plans an announcement with regard to the Alive in Christ plan on March 24.
I think it is a good idea to get feedback from the faithful. In the end, though, Catholics are looking to their Shepherd to lead the way in regaining vibrantly Catholic, Catholic schools.
Pray for the Archbishop in this difficult project.
Because there is no better protector of the Catholic Church, her teachings, her autonomy and her mission, than the government of the United States of America.
Right?Thanks, Colleen, for the reminder.
The best part of this news-- the BEST part-- is that I am exactly tied with the USCCB media blog. The mind reels...can't...formulate...suitable....comment...
Look out, Fr. Z, in about 27 years I'll blow right by you!
All kidding aside, thank you very much for reading. It is very humbling that anyone other than my wife and probation officer take an interest. God bless.
Tiger Moms and the Central Plan
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
The hottest commentary of the year appeared in the Wall Street Journal: Why Chinese Mothers are Superior by Amy Chua. The story has 7,200 comments and counting, and every other outlet including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and everyone else, including tens of thousands of bloggers. The author’s name yields more than one million Google hits.
The thesis was simple. American moms coddle their kids and protect their self-esteem; Chinese mothers, in contrast, work their kids hard, accept nothing less then excellence, and help the kid accomplish real things so that self-esteem is rooted in reality. The response was beyond belief, with mobs of angry mothers claiming that the author was essentially advocating child abuse.
I’m not entering the fray on child-raising techniques. Rather I would like to draw attention to something that seems to be lost in this debate: the institutional context that has led to the American tendency to let the kids grow like weeds.
The problem begins with public schooling itself. Teachers and parents alike tend report the widespread tendency of parents to take a strong interest in their child’s education from preschool through second grade. But after the child learns to read, more or less, and life gets busy to double-income households, the job of tending to education is left to the authorities, who give off the illusion that they are taking care of all important matters.
The child is meanwhile swimming in a world of peers and the distance between this world and the world of the parents grows, and by the time the child is in middle school, there is very little connection left between the parents and the child that would allow anything like close monitoring of educational outcomes.
Child rearing becomes a waiting game and a matter of a huge checklist. Reading: check. Basic math: check. Middle school: check. High school: check. SAT prep: check. College admission: check. Then the magic age of 18 arrives and it’s off to college, a time when parents sign huge checks and the child learns that life is a blast with few responsibilities beyond repeating on tests the blather they hear from the expert standing up front.
What about the child’s individual traits, such as strengths and weakness, talents and preferences? These are private matters, not something readily accommodated by the great system of K through 12 education, which is really a type of central plan. Most parents don’t even think twice about it but it is true: this country has an approved tract for all kids and the goal of the system is to force conformity to it. If a child is faster than the plan allows, he or she has to learn to wait. If a child is slower then the plan allows, he or she had better speed up. Each year that goes by is a marker, like a production goal in a Gosplan.
You can see it in the educational codes of every state, which have a century of accumulated cruft that reflects a slight change in educational philosophy that is written into law every ten years or so. We must have open classrooms and language experience! But no child can be left behind! Values clarification! Back to basics! The old priorities are not repealed but rather become like a layer in an old growth tree, the branches of which are a gigantic bureaucracy living off the taxpayer. But who can complain since the system is "free?"
Any child who deviates from the approved path is considered to be a problem. What if a child is ready for college at the age of 13 or 14? You can count on school administrators, counselors, teachers, pastors, and other parents to all say that it would be a disaster for the child to skip a step. Is it even allowed that a child can graduate that early?
And look at the shock and horror that has greeted the success of homeschooling: people who do this are seen as short-sighted, freaky, and even unpatriotic. Certainly they are doing the child no favors in denying him or her the glorious socialization that comes with staying with the central plan. When the homeschool child performs well, and all the data indicate that they do, this is chalked up to some exogenous factor and then ignored by the central planners.
Has this system reinforced a certain pattern of negligence among parents, the sense that there is no real need to push the child in this direction or that or otherwise insist on excellence and help the child achieve it? Certainly that is the usual path that central planning takes. When we are no longer owners of a resource, and no one in particular takes responsibility for outcomes, and the things we do to affect those outcomes don’t produce substantial results anyway, why bother?
This might be the real reason for the American tendency to approve of things the child is and does. As a culture, we’ve come to trust someone else to take on the essential responsibility of molding the next generation.
The central plan has instilled a kind of parental lethargy. We let the state take over the core responsibilities from the age of 5 through 22, and then we are shocked to discover that kids leave college without a sense of work ethic, without marketable skills, and even without the ambition to succeed in the real world. So we let them become boarders in our homes, "reverts" who specialize in Wii and Facebook updates. Growing up takes longer and longer because the machinery we have in place saps individual initiative and punishes any outlying behavior.
As for the Chinese approach, it might reflect a sense that authorities can never be trusted with the essential job of training a child for life. Long enough experience with a central plan will tend to teach that lesson. Americans are just behind the learning curve in this regard.
27 January 2011
I won't be so bold as to make a prediction publicly. If you see me at lunch, I'll give you my take. If the Archdiocese loses, I doubt it'll simply ignore the judge and do whatever it wants. In other words, after any legal recourse on appeal is complete, I doubt they will flout the decision in the same way St. Stan's has flouted every single negative decision they have received in ecclesiastical proceedings. Different standards, perhaps.
St. Stanislaus decision now in hands of St. Louis judge
BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN
ST. LOUIS • A decision on who should control St. Stanislaus Kostka Church is in the hands of a judge who is not expected to rule until at least late next month.
Lawyers presented their closing arguments in St. Louis Circuit Court on Wednesday after a trial of more than two weeks on a 2008 lawsuit by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and six former members to assert some authority over the Polish heritage church.
Judge Bryan Hettenbach provided no indication of when he will rule, although he gave lawyers until Feb. 21 to submit written briefs.
The archdiocese seeks to restore the unique structure of the church put in place at its founding 120 years ago: governance by a lay board, with a pastor appointed by the archbishop.
In 2001 and 2004, the St. Stanislaus board of directors changed the original bylaws, eliminating the authority of the archbishop. The archdiocese announced a massive legal restructuring that would transform each parish from an unincorporated association to a nonprofit corporation. St. Stanislaus parishioners were unwilling to yield control.
Ed Goldenhersh, an attorney for the archdiocese, argued Wednesday that the board had no authority to change its bylaws and that the court has the jurisdiction to enforce the 1891 agreement. "If members want to be members of a club, they have to play by the club's rules," he said.
The St. Stanislaus attorney, Richard Scherrer, said the church deserves independence from the archdiocese. He complained that it was the archdiocese that breached its agreement with the parish when it threatened to excommunicate board members to enforce its way.
"What it's become is a test of wills and an issue of obedience," Scherrer said.
Much of the evidence focused on the nonprofit structure, articles of incorporation and bylaws. But it also included emotional testimony about how the people of St. Stanislaus continue to gather under the leadership of the Rev. Marek Bozek. In 2005, the lay board named the Polish-born Bozek, then a priest in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, usurping the archbishop's role. Bozek was excommunicated and laicized by Pope Benedict XVI.
After court adjourned Wednesday, Bozek appeared relaxed. "Whoever loses will appeal," he said with a smile, noting that process could take two or three years. "I will be there in the interim."
26 January 2011
2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
January 25, 2011
HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI, WITH SUPERIORS
INSTITUTE OF CHRIST THE KING SOVEREIGN PRIEST
CARDINAL BURKE VISIT - FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES –
SUPPORT THE ORATORY - CHOIR CAMP, AUGUST 2011
Dear Faithful and Friends,
PAPAL AUDIENCE WITH THE SUPERIORS OF THE INSTITUTE:
At a recent Papal Audience, the superiors of the Institute presented His Holiness with the latest news from Institute’s apostolates world-wide, a book with photographs of last year’s ordination in Florence with Cardinal Burke, Bishop Cordileone and Bishop Schneider, the new CD from the Seminary, and a beautiful chasuble, recently manufactured in Bavaria. At the same audience the parents of Monsignor Gilles Wach received blessings form His Holiness on the occasion of their sixty-five years of marriage. Monsignor Michael Schmitz was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1982 by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE VISIT OF CARDINAL BURKE:
With his visit still fresh on our minds, please remember our pledges to offer prayers for His Eminence, and in thanksgiving for his support and encouragement of our endeavors in St. Louis.
CELEBRATING OUR PATRON, SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES:
Patron of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, Co-Patron of the Institute of Christ the King,
Patron of Writers and Journalists
Saturday, January 29: Low Masses at 8:00am, 12:15pm
External Solemnity, Sunday, January 30: 8:00am (Low Mass), 10:00am (Solemn High Mass)
A special reception in recognition of his patronage of writers and journalists will take place after 10:00am Mass on Sunday. Please join us in welcoming guests from the journalist profession!
"When did anyone hope in God and was confounded? The distrust which you ought to have of yourself is good as long as it serves as a base to the confidence you should have in God; but if it ever leads you to any discouragement, disquiet, sadness or melancholy I beg you to reject it as the temptation of temptations and never permit your spirit to argue and reply in favor of the disquiet or depression of heart to which you find yourself tending. For it is a simple and entirely certain truth that God permits many difficulties to arise in the way of those who undertake His service, but still that He never lets them fall under the burden so long as they trust in Him. Never employ your spirit to defend and support the temptation to discouragement under any pretext whatsoever, not even if it be under the specious pretext of humility. Humility, my dear daughter, refuses offices; but it is not obstinate in its refusal and when employed by those who have the right, it no longer reasons upon its own unworthiness as to that thing but believes all things, hopes all things, bears all things with charity; it is always simple, in holy humility, and a good follower of obedience; and as it never dares to think that itself can do anything so it always thinks that obedience can do everything, and as true simplicity humbly refuses charges, true humility exercises them simply."
Letter of Saint Francis de Sales to Mother Jeanne Charlotte de Bréchard (1580-1637), one of the first three Visitandines at Annecy.
SUPPORT THE ORATORY:
Veils by Lily will be accepting orders for chapel veils after 10 am Mass on Sunday, January 30. 100% of every purchase will be donated to St. Francis de Sales Oratory. Orders may be picked up after 10 am Mass on Sunday, February 27. To view veils available for ordering, please visit: www.veilsbylily.com. Online orders toward this fundraiser may be placed on www.veilsbylily.com between 12:01 am on Saturday, January 29 and 11:59 pm on Monday, January 31. 100% of every purchase minus shipping expenses will be donated to the Oratory. Online orders will be shipped by Tuesday, February 22.
Make a charitable donation from your IRA: If you are 70 ½ or older, you are eligible to use your individual retirement account (IRA) assets to make special charitable donations without having to report the payout as income. You can contribute up to a total of $100,000 in IRA assets to a qualified charity, such as The Friends of St. Francis de Sales, Inc., or the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. This benefit was originally set to expire in 2010, but has been extended through 2011. As a recent Wall Street Journal article http://tiny.cc/i5qm5 pointed out, the tax bill just passed by Congress resurrects an expired provision allowing special charitable donations of IRA assets for taxpayers age 70½ and older. Additionally, lawmakers have included a special rule that allows you to make an IRA gift this month (January 2011) and still have it count for last year (2010). If you are eligible, please consider making this IRA donation. As individual situations vary, please consult your tax accountant before January 31 to make this donation. Thank you for your generosity!
CHILDREN’S CHOIR CAMP:
The Institute will offer its second Children’s Choir Camp this summer. The Camp has been scheduled for August 7-12, 2011. Please contact us at 314-771-3100 or email St. Francis de Sales Oratory if you are interested in registering your child.
With my best wishes on the occasion of the feast of Saint Francis de Sales, and the assurance of my prayers,
Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory
Readers may be aware of the recent and ongoing flap caused by the published opinion of Canon lawyer Ed Peters that canon law requires "perfect and perpetual continence" of married permanent deacons (and, I suppose, by extension, of married priests), as would be expected of other clerics. This opinion was published in a canon law article back in 2005, but has gained traction very recently. The position can also be found on Dr. Peters' blog (with multiple posts wherein he seeks to explain or bolster his case against objections).
As it so happens, after a long hiatus, the excellent but Unknown Canon Lawyer X has written a response disagreeing with Dr. Peters' argument.
In this case, he again parts ways with Dr. Peters, and his short reply is printed below. He disagrees that perfect and perpetual continence for married priests and deacons is required by canon 277, and points to a fatal non sequitur in Peters' argument. I will only add that though I am inclined to agree with UCLX, it should be noted that neither argument concerns the wisdom of the permanent diaconate program in general, the discussion of which is not germane to this post:
The question raised by the American canonist Dr. Edward Peters, in an article entitled, «Canonical Considerations on Diaconal Continence», in Studia Canonica, (2005), pp. 147-180, is Whether married permanent deacons are bound by obligation to observe perfect and perpetual continence, even if they are not bound to celibacy. In articulating his position, Dr. Peters has startled a number of married permanent deacons in the living out of their marital rights and obligations, not to mention raised eyebrows among his fellow canonists serving the Church in North America and Europe.
What is most shocking about Dr. Peters’ opinion, namely, that perfect and perpetual continence remains, at least theoretice, binding upon married permanent deacons, is that the conclusion rests upon argumentation constructed in manifest violation of elementary laws of logic.
This short analysis attempts to elucidate the problem, provide a réplique, and bring some calm to the many married deacons and their families who have become troubled in intellect and conscience as a result of this foray in illogicality.
The point of departure for Dr. Peters’ argument is can. 277, § 1 of the Code of Canon Law of 1983:
Can. 277 — § 1. Clerici obligatione tenentur servandi perfectam perpetuamque propter Regnum coelorum continentiam, ideoque ad coelibatum adstringuntur, quod est peculiare Dei donum, quo quidem sacri ministri indiviso corde Christo facilius adhaerere possunt atque Dei hominumque servitio liberius sese dedicare valent.
The authorized English translation reads:
Can. 277 §1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy [...].
Dr. Peters states that married permanent deacons, because they fall within the category of clerics in genere referenced by can. 277, § 1 of the Code, are held to observe perfect continence. This conclusion is reached on his part by means of a simple deduction implicit in his work:
Clerics are bound to observe perfect and perpetual continence (can. 277, § 1). Married permanent deacons are clerics. Therefore married permanent deacons are bound to observe perfect and perpetual continence.
The argument is completed, according to Dr. Peters’ research, by the absence of any law of the Church explicitly exempting married permanent deacons from their obligation to observe perfect and perpetual continence according to can. 277, § 1. According to the canonist, as the law currently reads, married permanent deacons are neither exempted nor exemptible by an invocation of can. 277, § 3, and thus remain held, at least objectively, to observe perfect and perpetual continence. He writes:
"Without the proposed exemptions in place for married permanent deacons, of course, there is no basis upon which to doubt but that the provision of c. 277, § 1 binding all clerics in the West to the primary good of continence is applicable without distinction based on order."
E. Peters, Canonical Considerations, p. 171
The conducting of strict canonical exegesis reveals that the norm of can. 277, § 1 is encapsulated within an enthymeme, or abridged syllogism. As such, the rules governing the conditional proposition and syllogism become applicable when reverse-engineering enthymemes.
Applied to the question, it becomes readily apparent that Dr. Peters violates one of the most important rules of logic, committing what is commonly called the non sequitur.
This paralogism occurs when the conclusion of an argument does not derive its merit from the premises formally supporting it, such as when a condition, called the antecedent, and assertion, called the consequent, are not joined by a connection between them called a consequence.
According to a fundamental axiom of logic, «Posita condicione, ponitur condicionatum; Negato condicionato, negatur condicio.», roughly translated, «If the condition is posited, so is the assertion; If the consequent is sublated, so is the antecedent.»
Modo ponendo, or constructively, the antecedent or condition of can. 277, § 1 is «Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven»; the consequent or assertion is, therefore, «[clerics] are bound to celibacy». Modo tollendo, or destructively, the enthymeme should have been understood by Dr. Peters to be, implicitly yet necessarily, «[Married permanent deacons] are not bound to celibacy», therefore, «[married permanent deacons] are not held to perfect and perpetual continence».
Since antecedent and consequent in can. 277, § 1 are joined by the connective, ideoque – «therefore» – a logical consequence is inferred by means of the enthymeme. As such, the use of the ideoque in can. 277, § 1 is neither haphazard nor merely indicative of hierarchical subordination of value on the part of the Supreme Legislator. It was intentionally placed to infer a consequence. Dr. Peters does not deny this, but neither does he affirm the overriding conditionality of the nexus consequentiae between the two obligations prescribed by can. 277, § 1 anywhere in his article.
Dr. Peters posits the first part of his non sequitur when he concedes the antecedent, modo tollendo, that married permanent deacons are not bound by celibacy:
"There is no doubt, of course, that by expressly admitting married men to the permanent diaconate, the canonical obligation of clerical celibacy [...] is abrogated for such men."
E. Peters, Canonical Considerations, p. 153
However, as described above, my learned colleague elsewhere affirms the consequent of the enthymeme formulated modo tollendo, holding, namely, that the provision of c. 277, § 1 mandating perfect and perpetual continence remains binding upon all clerics in the West without distinction (E. Peters, p. 171).
Account taken of the above, Dr. Peters gravely errs in advancing his thesis that can. 277, § 1 obliges married permanent deacons to observe perfect and perpetual continence, because he concomitantly denies that they are bound to celibacy. His opinion, therefore, is gravely misleading, and particularly imprudent to advance in a forum prone to sensationalism.
He cannot have it both ways.
Bristol Palin to speak at WashU's Sexual Responsibility Week
25 January 2011
That is Fr. Doyle in the photo above. Yes, he is wearing a suit. No, he is not wearing clerical attire. Yes, I am told he wore a similar suit today in Court. Yes, he is a priest. Yes, he is a canon lawyer. Yes, as a canon lawyer he should be aware of canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law (1983):
Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.
Perhaps he forgot.
Anyway, this is the same lawyer who was found guilty of two canoncial delicts under Canon 1389 by His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke, then-Archbishop of Saint Louis. In that decree, Archbishop Burke wrote: "As a result of the instant case, any solicitation, on the part of Rev. Doyle, to provide canonical advice or representation is deemed inept by the same Archbishop."
This is the guy who was hired as the canon law expert by the schismatic board and its faux-pastor.
Anyway, the following is from the report of today's observer:
Fr. Doyle took the stand wearing a snazzy business suit-- not his Dominican habit-- after much sidebar discussion among the lawyers and the judge. Apparently, there was an objection to the entirety of his testimony, but in the end he was allowed to testify, albeit with some restrictions on the record of proceedings in the ecclesiastical processes which are ongoing. In other words, only the civil law related matters were subject to testimony.
As it turned out, however, Doyle (who in a mild surprise did not bring his own microphone) testified freely as to all kind of opinions-- about canon law, civil law, the proper role of a bishop, etc. Substantive objections to testimony were all overruled.
However, even in direct testimony Fr. Doyle made a few damning admissions. He admitted he blew a filing deadline "by one day" in the case that led to his discipline by Archbishop Burke. He admitted he did not submit the necessary requests for permission to represent parties therein. He admitted he ignored summonses by the Archbishop and did not appear. The hilarious thing to me was that clearly the St. Stan's lawyer thought all this made Cardinal Burke look bad, but not Fr. Doyle.
If I could have stayed for cross-examination, my first question would have been, "You've been deemed incompetent by the Church to act as a canon lawyer in this Archdiocese, right?" And I would have followed with, "So, I guess you're not a canon law expert then, right?" And so on.
Fr. Doyle testified that he wrote a letter to the Bozek and his friends at the former parish back in 2008 to the effect that they should just ignore Archbishop Burke's letter to them warning of their spiritual peril; basically, he said the Archbishop was flat wrong. I guess it is easy for a dissident canonist to discount the opinion of perhaps the finest canon lawyer of our time in Cardinal Burke. But then again, I don't think it's in Doyle's mindset to play second fiddle.
Specifically, he said there was no authentic basis for His Eminence to warn the faithful that if they knowingly received sacraments from Mr. Bozek they would possibly commit mortal sin. However, in answer to the one-question-too-many by the St. Stan's lawyer (who, by the way, is a dead ringer for Harry Reid) whether Doyle thought they were committing mortal sin, he didn't say "no." Instead, he correctly stated the classic test for mortal sin (grave matter, knowledge, full and deliberate consent) and said "You'd have to ask them." If I were a Stan's member and my ears were open, that wouldn't make me too comfortable.
After that, the bulk of his testimony related to the interplay between the parish, some individuals, and the Board, on issues of standing in canonical proceedings and in civil law matters.
Near the end, he criticized Archbishop Burke, stating that the faithful's duty to be obedient had to be balanced against the Bishop's duty to "preserve communio" and to deal in mutual respect. That answer, to me, encapsulates in testimony what Doyle identified early on as his three specialties, "canon law, addiction therapy, and political science." Oprah would be proud.
Finally, the Stan's lawyer, for some reason I cannot fathom, read to him excerpts from the St. Louis Review and had him parse the language as though it were a Papal encyclical. Weird.
All in all, knowing he was hired to discredit the Archdiocese, the testimony was relatively harmless. I hope they didn't pay him too much.
I had to leave before cross, but I wanted to tell you that Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and a fine canonist himself (with Polish community connections) was at the Archdiocese's table, presumably as a rebuttal witness. Sorry I missed it.
Good luck, love the blog--keep up the good work.
As the immortal Roman Catechism teaches us:
24 January 2011
22 January 2011
P: Receive, O Holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this spotless host, which I, Thine unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for my countless sins, trespasses, and omissions; likewise for all here present, and for all faithful Christians, whether living or dead, that it may avail both me and them to salvation, unto life everlasting. Amen.
(blessing of water and preparation of chalice takes place at epistle side, prayer here omitted)
OFFERING OF THE CHALICE
P: We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching Thy clemency that it may ascend as a sweet odor before Thy divine majesty, for our own salvation, and for that of the whole world. Amen.
P: Humbled in mind, and contrite of heart, may we find favor with Thee, O Lord; and may the sacrifice we this day offer up be well pleasing to Thee, Who art our Lord and our God.
P: Recieve, O holy Trinity, this oblation offered up by us to Thee in memory of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of blessed Mary, ever a virgin, of blessed John the Baptist, of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, of these, and of all the saints, that it may be available to their honor and to our salvation; and may they whose memory we celebrate on earth vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God for ever.
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God for ever.
21 January 2011
A man may do both,' said Aragorn. 'For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!"
I found this essay (written a few years ago) on The Lord of the Rings trilogy today, and thought readers would like it. Especially, perhaps, if you are Catholic but have wondered why Tolkien's fantasy story is always talked about as a great "Catholic" book. A brief excerpt:
[...]In saying that The Lord of the Rings is a great Catholic poem, I do not mean to say anything but this: it is a great poem about the ultimate things made by a Catholic imagination steeped in the greatest of Western traditions. It is a poem that unites the two great passions of Tolkien's life, Northern Germanic mythology (Tolkien included England and all Scandinavia under "Germanic"), and the sacramental mysteries of the Catholic Church. Who could have predicted such a poem, such a uniting of North and South cultures? When I first read it in the 1960's, I knew nothing about the author, but I knew intuitively that the writer was a Catholic, and when I said this to literary friends, I was immediately dismissed as a reactionary crank. There is something deeply immanent in the made things of traditional Catholic minds that cannot be had any other way, even if those minds — like the mind of Joyce — are in rebellion against Catholicism. For one thing, Catholicism is a religion, a fact that even many of its modern adherents do not grasp. That means, as Chesterton observed in Orthodoxy, it is a religion like all other religions on the earth in having "priests, scriptures, altars, sworn brotherhoods, special feasts." While there are no altars or religious ceremonies in the world Tolkien has created, the reader will hear the echoes of traditional Catholicism on every page. But, as Chesterton also observed, though these features are universal to all genuine religions (as opposed to the anti-religion born in the Reformation), Christianity tells an entirely new story that radically transforms them.
By Catholic, I am not using the term as modern theologians do, as sort of a horizontal "we are the world" theology in which all cultural truths end up in a tasteless — and useless — stew. JRR Tolkien was a Catholic who had traditional Catholicism, the Catholicism of altars, feasts, fasts, heroic suffering, rituals, saints, miracles, doctrines, and mysteries, in his very bones. The Trinity and the Mass are as familiar to him as his garden or his beloved Beowulf; nay, more, because these Catholic things, as he saw it, are parts of the one true myth, expressed in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. Real Catholics (and most other Christians) believe in this story as the foundation of their souls. Tolkien breathed it. He was a frequent Mass-goer who rarely received the Eucharist without first confessing. But he was an English Catholic, and like Evelyn Waugh, he early learned in life that as a Catholic he was something less than a Jew in England, despised and distrusted. He suspected one of his best friends, C.S. Lewis, of being a covert anti-Catholic, a reasonable suspicion based on Lewis's shameful treatment of the South African poet Roy Campbell. And, he wrote to his son, "Hatred of our church is after all the real only final foundation of the C[hurch] of E[ngland]." As an English Catholic, he knew that he saw the world in a secret, fundamentally different way, and he withdrew into the making of myth — a huge myth that by the very circumstance of its origin, could never fail to echo the Catholic myth. [...]
20 January 2011
Which leads to the question posed at LRC, "How many freedoms does the government want us to have?" Well, a clue might come from the fact that the "Freedom Tower" is being built at "Ground Zero".
It is absolutely true that I did not know much of the antecedent history of the formation of Gateway Academy prior to the later involvement of the Legionaries of Christ. And it is true that there is a glaring need for authentically Catholic schools in the area. So, I join with the letter writer in praying for the success of the efforts of the many Catholic families involved here.
Please read this letter.
I am somewhat saddened by your post: in part, because you included the error-ridden article by Mr. Townsend, but also because of your confusion....no, lack of distinction, between [Gateway Academy] GA and the [Legionaries of Christ] LOC.
Yes, many of the problems are the result of actions of a now-deceased priest; although I cannot judge him, I simply pray for his soul in Christian charity at this time. Reeling from these concerns and with the current global financial recession, the remaining (business arm of the) LOC has conceded that it must retreat.
Gateway was started by and was comprised of a group of families longing for what did not exist in StL long before the LOC was ever involved (Townsend is incorrect). In fact, Linda Bromeier, well-known in the homeschooling circles, was one of the key initial players. We started in 1992 as an amalgamation of homeschooling families with diocesan priests coming in to offer Mass and provide the sacraments. Concurrently at St Agatha, Fr. Rodis was very determined to maintain the Traditional Mass, but there was no option in StL for true Catholic education, save homeschooling. Yes, we, too, have been a part of the homeschoolers, but there are many for whom the homeschool structure is not the best option as each family must define its specific needs. You have recently written much about our diocesan schools and haven't even begun to tackle our "Catholic" high schools in your blog.
It was only much later that the Legion was invited to join the school. Yes, while there was much good which came forth from the dedicated men and women who have given their life to a now-troubled order, the local individuals themselves who have been at GA have been exemplary in their faith. No, they have not offered TLM, but the Mass which they have offered is one that is reverent and holy and, though not in the Traditions which you and I seek, is one that has drawn many in St Louis closer to our God. Moreover, there have been numerous graduates who have pursued religious vocations since leaving GA. ...and I do not necessarily mean LOC vocations; there is one current diocesan priest, five current seminarians, and at least four women who have pursued religious vocations after matriculating at GA.
What remains on Wild Horse Creek Road are many of that same group of families (and many more), nearly a generation later, still seeking a Catholic education in a community where it is difficult to find the authentic faith in the schools that exist. You know this all too well. We long to allow our children to be with the children of other families who share our faith. We long to allow our children to know and love our Holy Father. Interestingly, most of the families at GA are not members of nor affiliated with the Legion in any way other than Gateway itself. Yet, we have accepted and appreciated that which the LOC has given to us.
At this juncture, we pray for healing for the members of the LOC and we, as the parents of GA, seek a new path at this time. In an overarching way, we pray that we can be the Phoenix to rise from the ashes and to grow to be the model for true Catholic education in St Louis. It is my dream that others will share this vision and that we can stabilize our grade school and even rebuild the high school as well somewhere down the road.
The current traditional homeschooling families can be a part of this at this time. Your support through your well-respected and widely-read blog can assist us, hopefully to be there as a beacon so desperately needed in this blind and legacy-entrenched town. The current situation provides an excellent opportunity for any of the Catholic homeschooling families who need assistance in their role as primary teachers of the Faith. Moreover, there is, and would continue to be, an openness to the Traditions of our Faith as manifest in the Sacred Liturgy of the centuries, particularly as we seek priests from the community once again to assist us with the holy Mass. Truly, there exists on Wild Horse Creek Road a new opportunity for growth as the Legion has, as of the end of this year, turned the control of the school back to our local board. We see this as a tremendous opportunity for the future and embrace the economic challenges inherent with this transition, welcoming any new families, as we begin our ascent from this nadir in our history. We are truly optimistic! Oremus!
FIELD REPORT FROM A POTTED PLANT AT THE ST. STAN’S TRIAL
Recently I had the honor of being thetimman’s “plant” at the trial of the century. I walked in as Ed Florek (former Board member, reconciled to the Archbishop, and named Plaintiff) was undergoing cross-examination by the St. Stan’s attorney.
First, I think it is important to note the palpable feeling of evil as I sat in the courtroom. Compared to the average attendance for St. Louis civil court, the room was packed. Think of it as a mini-Monkey Trial, with the good guys just as likely to win.
I sat in the back, but was still only 20 or so feet from the erstwhile Father Bozek, who seemed to smirk at nearly every answer Mr. Florek gave. The rest of the audience was overwhelmingly elderly, overwhelmingly Polish. Think of the crowd as a mixture of leftist nun doppelgangers and concelebrants at an outdoor N.O.
The crowd was also overwhelmingly hostile to Mr. Florek – muted laughter (not the “with him” but the “at him” type) and head shakes abounded.
During the testimony, the St. Stan’s attorney was a bit priggish but questioned well; nevertheless, Mr. Florek acquitted himself admirably, even getting in a couple good one-liners. Throughout the cross, the lawyer for the Archdiocese peppered in objections (usually due to lack of foundation) with the all the resignation of a death row inmate (I don't know, some of those can be quite feisty), and, indeed, was overruled summarily all but once. The objections were overruled even when Florek was asked about other people’s motivations for their actions (such as Cardinals Burke and Rigali).
I was only able to observe Mr. Florek’s extensive testimony for about 45 minutes. Here are the highlights, paraphrased from my memory:
Regarding attendance at St. Stanislaus (think of the one shot from Christmas 5 years ago):
St. Stan’s Attorney (“SSA”): “Five hundred families disagree [regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church].”
Florek: “I question five hundred…[it’s] not even close to two hundred.” Florek then said something to the effect that he isn’t sure how they came up with that number.
Regarding Cardinal Burke pulling diocesan priests out of the parish:
SSA: It’s pretty difficult to have a Roman Catholic parish without priests, isn’t it?
Florek: It’s less difficult to have a Roman Catholic parish without priests than right now with Bozek. Narf! Zort! Point!
Regarding the Board’s disobedience:
Florek stated that scare tactics were used by many at St. Stan’s to convince parishioners and board members that if they did not vote against the Archdiocese, they would lose the parish. He stated that the parishioners were never told that they would “change the religion.” He stated that Bozek preached open communion, ordination of women, and other un-Catholic teachings. There was considerable back-and-forth between he and the attorney concerning the Catholicity of the parish. The attorney kept trying to phrase opposition to the above as Mr. Florek’s personal beliefs, while Mr. Florek kept reiterating that they were not merely his beliefs but teachings of the Church.
Florek also stated that he joined the Board hoping to open communications with the Archdiocese, not to further sever them. He stated that he spoke out openly against Bozek’s teachings even prior to his reconciliation with the Church through Archbishop Burke. He further stated that they could not separate the corporation and lay board from Archdiocese authority.
I wish I could have stayed through the completion of Mr. Florek’s testimony, because I really wanted to shake his hand. Despite the hostility of the crowd and the interminable grilling by the opposing attorney, he handled himself admirably. He showed courage and a good understanding of Church teaching, and responded deftly to some tricky questions.
Nevertheless, I fear the outcome of the case. The overall impression I was left with was the St. Stan’s side trying to make the case simply a matter of a lay corporation properly voting to do as it wishes with its own property, and the archdiocese trying to make the case that board members and parishioners were duped by false representations prior to the vote. A perfectly valid insight, though it would not be wise to draw conclusions from 45 minutes of cross-examination in a three week trial.
Based on pure speculation and gut feeling, it seemed to be favoring St. Stan’s. Rejoice, blue haired crowd; beware, rest of world. Hey, lay off the senior citizens, Lou! And don't paraphrase my material. But, still, I think I can join with my readers and say thanks for the peek into history.
19 January 2011
18 January 2011
Blessed Karl was the last reigning Emperor of Austria-Hungary, and the last reigning claimant to the Holy Roman Empire. Though he did not abdicate his claim, he ended his life in exile under the watchful eye of the new order, prevented by the victorious allies from regaining his rightful throne. Our own nation's leaders had their own share of guilt in that injustice, and not a small one.
Though his earthly efforts did not succeed, in heaven he has a better influence over the affairs of nations, if we but ask his intercession.
With a nod to Elena Maria Vidal, I wanted to put together some background posts about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (the bullet that killed nine million people and brought down Christendom), the efforts of Blessed Karl to carry out Pope Benedict XV's wishes and restore peace with order and honor, and Blessed Karl's attempts to regain his throne, thwarted by his "trusty" regent and the powers of the secular West.
Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria:
[To be prayed at the beginning of each day of the novena.]
Heavenly Father, through Blessed Emperor Karl You have given Your Church and the people of God an example of how we can live a discerning and spiritual life in a convincing and courageous way.
His public actions as emperor and king, and his personal acts as a family man, were firmly based in the teachings of the Catholic Faith. His love for his Eucharistic Lord grew in times of trial, and helped him to unite himself to Christ’s sacrifice through his own life’s sacrifice for his peoples. Emperor Karl honored the Mother of God, and loved to pray the rosary throughout his life.
Strengthen us by his intercession when discouragement, faintheartedness, loneliness, bitterness and depression trouble us. Let us follow the example of Your faithful servant, and unselfishly serve our brothers and sisters according to Your will.
Hear my petitions and grant my request [mention your intention here].
Grant that Blessed Karl of Austria be deemed worthy of canonization, for the glory of Your Name, the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for blessings upon the Church.