28 February 2011

Storm Damage

This photo was taken by Christian Gooden of the Post-Dispatch, and displays a section of Big Bend Blvd. between Highway 40 and Clayton Road. Nearer to home, part of the awning and roof of Ted Drewes was blown off. I also saw about 10-12 windows of the University Club Tower blown out and smashed. I hope all in the area came through last night's excitement without injury.

Envy

This is the second in the series of sermons on the Seven Deadly Sins by the Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. This sermon was delivered yesterday by Canon Michael Wiener:
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“But that on the good ground are they who in a good and very good heart, hearing the word, keeping it, and bring forth fruit in patience.”
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What purpose is there in preaching to you about the seven deadly sins? What use has it to speak to you about grave sins and sins in general?

He, who preaches, says St. Thomas, must speak

- first of all to enlighten the intellect of his listeners;
- must move secondly the affections, so that a man willingly listens to the word of God, not indeed with a view to his own favor, but in order to draw them to listen to God's word,
- and thirdly, he who preaches must speak in order that men may love that which is signified by the word, and desire to fulfill it.

"Unless the Holy Ghost fills the hearts of the hearers, in vain does the voice of the teacher resound in the ears of the body”, says St. Gregory.

Our object of discourse is a positive one - the contemplation of sin as a privation of goodness and as the absence of God’s grace is meant to direct our eyes towards the gifts of God and His eternal love which alone can preserve us from being captured by our weaknesses, our inclinations and sins.

We want to encourage you by these sermons about the seven capital and deadly sins, we don’t want to depress you.

Capital sins are like “leaders of an army”, as St. Gregory puts it. They are the principle of other sins, they generate, so to say, other sins and bad habits. Capital sins are like cancer.

We see this in the case of the sin of sloth which we heard about last Sunday and the sin of envy, the subject of today’s sermon, and the sin of wrath or hatred which will be covered on the Sunday of Quinquagesima:

- Sloth is sadness in the presence of one’s own spiritual gifts, sorrow over spiritual joy, we can say. Sloth is ungrateful sorrow in view of our own goods.
- Envy is also sadness or sorrow, but sadness about the goods of and goodness in others. It is “grief over a man's good, in so far as his good surpasses ours”. Sloth and envy are both types of sadness or grief, but envy is a developed form of it in so far as it turns against the fruits of God’s love in others.
- Hatred, finally, is sadness over the blessedness of our neighbor as such, without any comparison, without any other reason than pure denial and malignity. Hatred as capital sin committed by a living person is the last stop on the way to hell, where there is hatred without reason - and without end.

Envy is grief over a man's good, in so far as his good surpasses ours.

The sinful character of envy comes more clearly to light when we compare it - for example - to zeal:

Whereas the envious man “begrudges” the goods of another and sees them as a threat to his own status, his glory or reputation, the zealous man does not grieve over the goods others possess, but desires to acquire them himself. "The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.”

The envious man considers the goods - spiritual or material - of others as his own evil. The zealous man preserves the goodness of things in others – but wishes to enjoy the same goodness proper to these goods. And he is virtuous in doing so if it is a moral good he wishes to acquire. The envious man destroys goodness in others in seeing it as an evil for himself which makes him smaller, less honored, less pious, less intelligent, less esteemed and - less lovable.

We see here why envy belongs to the deadly sins: Its essential character is directed against the love of God, God Himself, Who is the source of all goodness – in us and in all men. And if envy is sorrow for the increase of God's grace in our neighbor, “it is accounted a sin against the Holy Ghost, because thereby a man envies, as it were, the Holy Ghost Himself, Who is glorified in His works.”

Envy weeps at those who rejoice and rejoices at those who weep. Weeping over our neighbor's good - which is envy, gives rise to joy in his evil.

Of course: Also envy is committed as a grave and mortal sin only if both - our knowledge and our will - fully embrace this sadness over our neighbor’s goods. St. Thomas says: “Nevertheless, in every kind of mortal sin we find certain imperfect movements in the sensuality, which are venial sins: … so in [regard to]… envy we find sometimes even in perfect men certain first movements, which are venial sins.”

What is the remedy against this sin? What can be done if we are tempted by envy? What shall we do if envy is able to resound in us?

St. Francis de Sales says:

“The loving heart of the Redeemer measures and organizes all events in the world. He does all this for the benefit of souls who want to respond wholeheartedly to his divine love. It is there, my dear, that our faults are thorns in our souls. But once removed through voluntary self-accusations, they are subsequently transformed into roses and perfumes. They enter our heart through our malice, but they are thrown out by the Holy Spirit.”

St. Francis de Sales’ advice guides us to acts of humility, opposed to envy as an effect of pride:

“In confession, he says, you will practice the virtues of humility, obedience, simplicity, and charity. You will exercise more virtues in this single act of confession than in any other act whatsoever.”

Another remedy is obviously to act charitably toward our fellow man, to do him well and to look out deliberately for all those things which God gave him and which make him lovable. A charitable look on our neighbor with all what is good and lovable in him as well as his weaknesses and his need for forgiveness will expel envy more easily.

Envy is a denial of God’s gifts in others: God sowed His seeds so that it can take root in all. His grace is sufficient for all of us, His power is made perfect also in our infirmity. We are parts of the same Body of Christ and to envy gifts of any kind in others is to deny God supreme goodness and wisdom. Learning to appreciate God’s goodness in us and in others preserves us against envy.

“But that on the good ground are they who in a good and very good heart, hearing the word, keeping it, and bring forth fruit in patience.”
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25 February 2011

Dogs and Cats. Living Together. Mass Hysteria!

I am about to cite to two (TWO!) articles in the National "Catholic" Reporter, both of which are by John L. Allen, and both of which have some good things to say.

Told you it was mass hysteria.

First, Cardinal Antonios Naguib, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, is of the opinion that the January 1 attack on Coptic Christians widely attributed to Islamic fundamentalists may have been a false flag operation conducted on former President Mubarak's orders. Food for thought.
Read the article here.

Secondly, Allen blogs that "
Traditionalists add spice to the Catholic stew". Even that much praise and acknowledgement from an NCR writer seems a glorious thing. I will excerpt a few sections of that article, with my comments and emphases:

__________________
If ever an object lesson were needed in the complexities of running the universal Catholic Church, a recent interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Swiss head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, offers it in living color. It may be an especially apposite read for liberals, both inside and outside the church, who sometimes struggle to grasp that there’s actually Catholic life to the right of the pope.

Granted, although its bishops are no longer excommunicated, the Society of St. Pius X -- which broke with Rome in 1988, when the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained bishops in defiance of the pope -- has no formal standing in the church (that might be stating it a little too broadly). Granted, too, we journalists probably pay more attention to the traditionalists than their real-world following might justify (he speaks of numbers, not of the truth to which they adhere, I assume), largely because they often say and do inflammatory things (real or imputed) that make great copy.

Even with those stipulations, the climate of opinion represented by the Society of St. Pius X nonetheless remains an important part of the broader Catholic conversation.

In terms of news value, the headline from the Feb. 2 Q&A with Fellay, posted on the society’s American web site, is that a round of talks with the Vatican is coming to an end without resolution -- because, in Fellay’s view, Rome refuses to concede the “contradictions” between the eternal Catholic faith and the innovations introduced by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

Fellay also announces that two new stumbling blocks have emerged along the path to reconciliation: Benedict XVI’s plan to host an inter-religious summit in Assisi this October (as the next paragraph alludes, this isn't really new), and the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II.

On Assisi there’s no surprise, since the Lefebvrites (and many, many others) lodged similar protests when John Paul II assembled religious leaders there in 1986, and again in 1993 and 2002, to pray for peace. (Their objection is the risk of syncretism, or the combining of different religious beliefs.) I think risk is an understatement. And don't forget about scandal. And don't forget about grave violations of the first commandment.

Facing yet another Assisi summit, Fellay calls on Catholics to pray that the “Good Lord intervenes in one way or another” -- which some in Rome, by the way, took as a not-so-subtle prayer for Benedict to die (who? give me a break) before the event can take place (this is an uncalled for insinuation)-- and in case that doesn’t happen, to “start making reparation now.”

What may be more counter-intuitive, at least for some (the same "some", no doubt), is the fiercely negative reaction to the beatification of John Paul II, which Fellay defines as “a serious problem.”

Here’s why: According to Fellay, John Paul led “a pontificate that caused things to proceed by leaps and bounds in the wrong direction, along ‘progressive’ lines, toward everything that they call ‘the spirit of Vatican II.’ This is therefore a public acknowledgment not only of the person of John Paul II, but also of the Council and the whole spirit that accompanied it.” A more thoughtful critique of some of the issues of concern was penned by Fr. Brian Harrison, in a "devil's advocate" style, in Latin Mass Magazine. Part one can be found at this blog post, scroll down.

That will likely be a stunning assertion for many left-leaning Catholics, who simply can’t fathom seeing John Paul in those terms. Yet if you put the pieces together the right way -- such as John Paul’s ecumenical and inter-religious outreach, his social teaching, even the style of his liturgical celebrations (think World Youth Day) -- one can begin to see how a traditionalist might style him a terribly “progressive” pope.

Whatever one makes of Fellay’s views, it’s tempting, from the perspective of Realpolitik, to dismiss them as irrelevant. The society’s following is fairly miniscule -- even if one takes the high-end estimate of one million faithful, that’s less than one tenth of one percent of the global Catholic population. What percentage of those who go to Mass every Sunday, I wonder?

[...]


Yet the number and influence of Catholics who may feel some sympathy for the positions taken by the society should not be under-estimated, and any Vatican regime (only the NCR would refer to the Holy See as a regime) would feel obligated to try to heal what they regard as the lone formal schism to follow Vatican II.

The traditionalist perspective is thus something church leaders have to consider as they survey the Catholic landscape.

If nothing else, all this illustrates a core insight about the political science of the church: If you think the answers to the questions facing Catholicism are ever obvious, or that making any policy decision ever comes without a cost, you simply don’t understand the stew of competing pressures and perspectives that make up ecclesial life. (This is part of the fear of the SSPX, as I understand it--that regardless of whether they are given faculties and standing, they will become just one exhibit in the zoo, where any opinion or practice "goes".) As John XXIII once put it, a pope has to consider the views both of those with their foot on the gas, and those with their foot on the brake.

[...]


When speculation about the motu proprio began to gather steam in 2007, there were fairly dramatic forecasts of its impact on all sides of the debate. Some devotees of the older liturgy predicted that its inner power and beauty would prove so compelling that in a free market environment, Catholics would “vote with their feet” against the new Mass. Critics warned that reintroduction of the Tridentine Mass would fracture the unity of the church and herald a broader “rolling back of the clock”.

Four years down the line, such predictions now seem a little over-hyped. Whatever one makes of it, the motu proprio so far does not seem to have triggered an earthquake. It takes awhile, Mr. Allen-- just ask those who still front for the idea that the great renewal of Vatican II just needs more time to spread.


After this post, Allen shifts to an interview he had with Fr. Richard Hilgartner, Executive Director of the Secretariat for Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, about the motu proprio and the Traditional Mass.

* * *

[...]

Are seminarians today being trained in celebrating the extraordinary form?

It’s probably unrealistic to expect seminaries to provide the kind of training and formation that would mean every new priest, upon ordination, emerges ready to celebrate it. Of course! Why would a Catholic SEMINARY train priests who say the Roman Rite to actually say the authorized forms of the Rite? Preposterous! The nerve of these crazy trads! There are a lot of technicalities in the older rite. Liturgical formation is already taxed by many other things (like learning to use marionettes, perhaps), and it’s hard to squeeze in something else (when you refer to the Mass as "something else" that has to be "squeezed in" you really highlight the depths of the problem) that’s incredibly involved and time-consuming. Many seminaries are offering a broad introduction, and then for those who are really interested there are places they can go, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the St. John Cantius Society. They’ll go for a workshop, and then they have to commit to practicing it.

Benedict XVI seems to hope that the extraordinary form will gradually influence the approach to the ordinary form, nudging it in the direction of greater reverence and appreciation for tradition. Do you see evidence that’s happening?

It’s limited, because there are plenty of people who never see the extraordinary form. And why is that? More broadly, though, the whole climate of the church today might be focusing on things that perhaps we weren’t paying a whole lot of attention to before, especially the integrity of the rites. A damaging admission. In that sense, the extraordinary form can help shape the regular liturgical experience -- not by taking on its trappings or externals, but by calling attention to the importance of celebrating faithfully, with a sense of reverence, understanding that the rite itself has a beauty built into it. The Tridentine form is maybe hyper-sensitive ha! to the rubrics and performing the prescriptions of the rite accurately, but it can help us be more attuned to those things in the ordinary form.

[...]

More Joy in Heaven...

Christ said that there was more joy in Heaven over one repentant sinner than over 99 just. Well, we are all sinners, of course, to larger or smaller extents. But Our Lord's words come to mind with the news of the conversion and public repudiation by a former (not really) deacon who was (fake) ordained by the heretical gals over at the creatively named "Roman Catholic Womenpriests" gang.

I wasn't going to post this, as many bloggers already have, but I just can't get over how great the mercy of God is in our lives. This woman, Norma Jean Coon,
has made her repentance and repudiation of her actions public, and it deserves to get to the seven readers who may not have seen it. Praise God!

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I wish to renounce the alleged ordination and publicly state that I did not act as a deacon as a part of this group except on two occasions, when I read the gospel once at mass and distributed communion once at this same mass. I withdrew from the program within two weeks of the ceremony because I realized that I had made a mistake in studying for the priesthood. I confess to the truth of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis . I confess the authority of the Holy Father on these issues of ordination and recognize that Christ founded the ordination only for men.

Formally, I relinquish all connection to the program of Roman Catholic Women Priests and I disclaim the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions. I ask God's blessings upon each of these folks and their families.

____________________________

She makes this prayer:

Holy God, I ask your blessings on my Bishop and my pastor and priests in Rome who have assisted me in the process of being re-instated into the Roman Catholic Church and I forsake all connection with the Roman Catholic Women Priests program via Internet or otherwise.

I thank you for the efforts of my family in my behalf and ask for Jesus' Light and Love to pour over my husband of 47 years and my five children.

Forgive me my Beloved Jesus and Mother Mary for pursuing my own will in this matter of ordination and as I consecrate myself to your Divine Will through the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask you to pour out Light and Love upon any who have placed themselves outside of your Love and Light Bless us, O Lord, for these thy gifts and place us in the Heart of the Father, as we pray for more priests to serve in our church and for vocations to enrich our Church in the United States.

Forgive us for failing in obedience and enrich us in your Holy Love, I pray through Jesus and Mary. Fiat+


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P.S. The story is that she's attending an FSSP apostolate. Don't tell Rose and Elsie-- it would blow their minds.

24 February 2011

Twitch

...Father Brown took the paper without a word, and obediently went to look for the coat; it was not the first menial work he had done in his life. He brought it and laid it on the counter; meanwhile, the strange gentleman who had been feeling in his waistcoat pocket, said laughing: "I haven't got any silver; you can keep this." And he threw down half a sovereign, and caught up his coat.

Father Brown's figure remained quite dark and still; but in that instant he had lost his head. His head was always most valuable when he had lost it. In such moments he put two and two together and made four million. Often the Catholic Church (which is wedded to common sense) did not approve of it. Often he did not approve of it himself. But it was real inspiration--important at rare crises--when whosoever shall lose his head the same shall save it.

"I think, sir," he said civilly, "that you have some silver in your pocket."

The tall gentleman stared. "Hang it," he cried, "if I choose to give you gold, why should you complain?"

"Because silver is sometimes more valuable than gold," said the priest mildly; "that is, in large quantities."

The stranger looked at him curiously. Then he looked still more curiously up the passage towards the main entrance. Then he looked back at Brown again, and then he looked very carefully at the window beyond Brown's head, still coloured with the after-glow of the storm. Then he seemed to make up his mind. He put one hand on the counter, vaulted over as easily as an acrobat and towered above the priest, putting one tremendous hand upon his collar.

"Stand still," he said, in a hacking whisper. "I don't want to threaten you, but--"

"I do want to threaten you," said Father Brown, in a voice like a rolling drum, "I want to threaten you with the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched."

"You're a rum sort of cloak-room clerk," said the other.

"I am a priest, Monsieur Flambeau," said Brown, "and I am ready to hear your confession."

The other stood gasping for a few moments, and then staggered back into a chair.

[...]


The crowd of diners and attendants that tumbled helter-skelter down the passages divided into two groups. Most of the Fishermen followed the proprietor to the front room to demand news of any exit. Colonel Pound, with the chairman, the vice-president, and one or two others darted down the corridor leading to the servants' quarters, as the more likely line of escape. As they did so they passed the dim alcove or cavern of the cloak room, and saw a short, black-coated figure, presumably an attendant, standing a little way back in the shadow of it.

"Hallo, there!" called out the duke. "Have you seen anyone pass?"

The short figure did not answer the question directly, but merely said: "Perhaps I have got what you are looking for, gentlemen."

They paused, wavering and wondering, while he quietly went to the back of the cloak room, and came back with both hands full of shining silver, which he laid out on the counter as calmly as a salesman. It took the form of a dozen quaintly shaped forks and knives.

"You--you--" began the colonel, quite thrown off his balance at last. Then he peered into the dim little room and saw two things: first, that the short, black-clad man was dressed like a clergyman; and, second, that the window of the room behind him was burst, as if someone had passed violently through. "Valuable things to deposit in a cloak room, aren't they?" remarked the clergyman, with cheerful composure.

"Did--did you steal those things?" stammered Mr. Audley, with staring eyes.

"If I did," said the cleric pleasantly, "at least I am bringing them back again."

"But you didn't," said Colonel Pound, still staring at the broken window.

"To make a clean breast of it, I didn't," said the other, with some humour. And he seated himself quite gravely on a stool. "But you know who did," said the, colonel.

"I don't know his real name," said the priest placidly, "but I know something of his fighting weight, and a great deal about his spiritual difficulties. I formed the physical estimate when he was trying to throttle me, and the moral estimate when he repented."

"Oh, I say--repented!" cried young Chester, with a sort of crow of laughter.

Father Brown got to his feet, putting his hands behind him. "Odd, isn't it," he said, "that a thief and a vagabond should repent, when so many who are rich and secure remain hard and frivolous, and without fruit for God or man? But there, if you will excuse me, you trespass a little upon my province. If you doubt the penitence as a practical fact, there are your knives and forks. You are The Twelve True Fishers, and there are all your silver fish. But He has made me a fisher of men."

"Did you catch this man?" asked the colonel, frowning.

Father Brown looked him full in his frowning face. "Yes," he said, "I caught him, with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world, and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread."

--from The Queer Feet, by G.K. Chesterton

23 February 2011

Sermon Series on the Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth

The Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at St. Francis de Sales Oratory have begun a Series of Sermons on the Seven Deadly Sins for each of the Sundays of Septuagesima/Lent before the great feast of Easter.

Canon Aaron Huberfeld delivered the first sermon this past Sunday on the Capital Vice of Sloth. He was kind enough to send the text for publication:

Septuagesima 2011


SLOTH

All run in the race, but only one receives the prize. Run so that you may obtain it.

The next three Sundays have perhaps the most mysterious names of any throughout the year, even for those who know Latin. The season takes its name from the first of these Sundays – Septuagesima, which we celebrate today. This Sunday marks the seventieth day from Easter (or from the completion of the Octave of Easter, to be precise). This period is a symbol of the seventy years of Babylonian captivity which the Hebrew people underwent. In the night office of the Church, we read the opening chapters of Holy Scripture and the history of the fall of man; thus this period also signifies the captivity to sin which is the lot of the unhappy children of Adam.

Septuagesima Sunday is also the first of seven violet Sundays before Holy Week. The Church invites us on these Sundays to reflect on the reality of our bondage to sin. That is why this year at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, we will offer a series of sermons on the seven deadly sins.

The seven deadly sins are more properly known as the seven capital vices – seven unsightly creases in our moral fabric which form the foundation of all manner of sinful behavior. They are not just sinful actions; they are a way of life, or rather, a way of death. And on this Septuagesima Sunday, we are invited to begin by considering the vice which is always listed last among the seven. It is the sin which exemplifies more than any other this way of death which we must avoid at all costs. It is the sin which abhors action, abhors real thinking, abhors feeling, abhors living, abhors even existing. It is the deadly sin of sloth.

If you know anything about Germans and German culture, you know that the worst descriptive that can ever be applied to you by a German is faul – lazy. Nothing is worse in the eyes of a German than a man who doesn’t like to work. American culture may stress this point a little bit less, but we do always hear about the importance of “keeping busy”. Well, keeping busy is easy enough. Many families need two incomes just to make ends meet, and many Americans, rich and poor, willingly work 100 hours a week. If there’s any time left after running a household and raising children, there’s phone conversations, books, television, the internet. Surely no one in our day and age has any time to be slothful. Germans and Americans should be content. But laziness and leisure are not the same as sloth. Leisure has nothing to do with sloth, and laziness is just an occasional symptom. You can tear through each day of your life without one moment of free time – working, socializing, performing your duties at home – and still be overcome with sloth.

In my sermon for Gaudete Sunday in Advent, I explained that sloth is sadness over spiritual good. As you will soon hear, envy is sorrow over our neighbor’s good, but sloth is sorrow over good itself, sorrow which a man harbors over God and the means of salvation. St. Thomas, writing 800 years ago, called sloth, “an oppressive sorrow which so weighs upon a man’s mind that he chooses to do nothing.” This may sound like the modern description of clinical depression. But when this sorrow has God as its object, it has moral consequences. Being bored with God and not caring about your spiritual life is the most deadly of spiritual diseases. And if we make no effort to fight this disease, it is mortally sinful – a sin against the love of God. It is, somehow, even worse that hating God – it is showing Him utter indifference. As Our Lord predicted, the light came into the world, and men preferred darkness. Busyness is no remedy for this deplorable state. Our only hope lies in spiritual combat.

Three weeks before the start of Lent, the Apostle tells us, run so that you may win the prize. And he says the priest must be the one to set the example. I fight not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest after having preached to others, I myself should be condemned. Like all Christians, he must take heed to the frightful warning which the Apostle gives us today: they all were baptized; they all ate the same spiritual food, and drank the same spiritual drink; but with most of them God was not well pleased.

What a priceless gift is time! Three weeks before Lent, and the Church exhorts us to shake off the sin of sloth. We still have time to prepare ourselves, and offer to God this year a Lent well spent. Do not fight as one beating the air. Do not be angry with yourself and upbraid yourself for your faults. If you know your faults, lay them before the altar of God with a humble and contrite heart. Seek the Divine Heart of Our Savior, because when you find it you will find a joy which will consume your heart and rid it of sloth forever. Remember the Sermon on the Mount, and the beatitude which the Fathers of the Church always recognized as the antidote for sloth: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall have their fill. Blessed are those who do not seek passing joy in this miserable world, but who delight only in saying to Our Eternal Father, thy kingdom come.

God says to the men at the end of the day, why have you stood here the whole day idle? Don’t think about the time you have wasted; God will still hire you into His vineyard, and give you a just reward for your labors. Fight the good fight; finish the race; keep the Faith. Hope in our Savior, who came to save us from the wrath to come. Love this Savior who bought you at so dear a price. His Cross is our only hope, and if we think on the blissful eternity which He has won for us, God help us if our hearts are not on fire to run the race of this short life to win that incorruptible crown. Many are called, but few are chosen. Run so that you may win. May Our Blessed Lady, cause of our joy, keep ever before our eyes that joyful port which awaits us on eternity’s shore. Amen.

22 February 2011

Must... Post. Mind... Reels. Too... Perfect... a Convergence...

It is as though some eccentric person, knowing my usual suspicions and pet themes of modern Life in These United States, put together the Saint Louis Catholic Perfect Storm News Story (tm). To the cloud:





Let's take the issues one at a time:

1. The child, the story says, was only following the orders of his therapist. Oh. Huh? Following the orders of his therapist, eh? I guess that means this 11-year old boy was undergoing therapy. For what malady? Schizophrenia? Kleptomania? A tendency to burn houses down? No, friends, he was undergoing therapy for attention deficit disorder (ADD). Why are parents so quick to turn their children over to the control of "experts" whose advice turns out to be so sterling? The therapist interviewed in this story sure looked eager to assure everyone that Li'l Tim wasn't a threat. I wonder if he has made that call to check on the validity of his umbrella policy yet. Yikes.


2. That leads me to another issue with the common ADD diagnosis. I am not here to deny that this condition could never exist, but rather to point to the overdiagnosis and overmedication of children so that parents aren't inconvenienced. You know, sometimes children act up, and sometimes they are raised poorly so that they act up a whole lot. The story doesn't mention it, but I wonder if the boy was on mind-affecting medication when he drew the picture. If so, wouldn't he have a defense to the charge? And if not, shouldn't the parents and therapist be charged as accessories to stick figure crime?

3. Now let's examine the role of the police. They showed unusual perspicacity in determining that this drawing made an 11-year old boy a threat to humanity. They very kindly handcuffed this 11-year old boy and locked him up, only to charge him with the Nuremberg-like charge of "interfering with staff and students at an educational facility". Let that phrase sit there a minute. Wouldn't Orwell laugh? Remind me not to send one of my posts critical of Lincoln to the principal of the school where a certain reader sends his children or I might end up doing twenty-to-life. I wonder if the police chief went home that night and popped some champagne, knowing he just stopped the next Columbine.

4. And how did our educational system fare? Not well. At first, I was inclined to give the school credit, as: a) it sent the boy home and then allowed him back after they determined he was not a threat; and, b) the story states it "initially" did not want to press charges. After the stories of the past 18 months where children were disciplined for having toy soldiers or Legos with tiny plastic fake guns, and where children were handcuffed and arrested for writing on a desk with marker, this seemed Solomonic by comparison. But not so fast. How did the police even know about the drawing? The therapist couldn't, and the parents wouldn't, turn the boy in. Only the school had access to the drawing. And the ultimate charge, combined with the description that the school didn't "initially" want to press charges, strongly indicates that the school system ultimately agreed to provide evidence of the "crime" and to support the charge. Looking at the picture and the paucity of verbal expression contained therein, I am inclined to think the school is better at determining just which stick drawings are dangerous than at teaching the three Rs.

5. In this public news broadcast, the parents state they don't want to be identified or give their real names. I should think not. And funny that only now are they wanting to keep family business private. Whatever their wishes, the media has them now. I hope that their child's "condition" really did require serious intervention, or else they have not only done damage to his development but also have stigmatised their son in at least one school system as a potential killer at worst, and mentally unbalanced at least.

Everyone in this little story seems to be out of central casting for the blockbuster movie about the full-frontal lobotomizing of our Springerized, Oprahized, Godless contemporary society.

Like I said, it moved me.

Strange Days

Hi, I'm just back from a visit to one of our state's fine county jails. Visiting, mind you-- I don't need one of those get-out-of-jail-free cards that portrays rich Uncle Pennybags in striped pajamas. Just visiting.

Anyway, in my journeying I had the opportunity to fire up the ol' internet browser and see what the news world has to offer. What I saw prompted this potpourri post.

First of all, let me express my sadness at the New Zealand earthquakes, centered again in Christchurch. The images of the damage are arresting. I have a personal interest in Christchurch, among other reasons, because the traditional Redemptorist order called the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (FSSR) have a house there. I link to them at the sidebar, but here is a post that shows the devastation. The Catholic Cathedral is severely damaged, and many in the city are dead or missing.

Here is a video, also at their site:



Democrats keep running away, first in Wisconsin, now in Indiana, to avoid even allowing a vote on cutting back on the extortion/collective bargaining of taxpayer largess. So much for the "will of the people" in elections. If only the Republicans did the same to block the Great Leap Forward socialized-medicine-with-funding-for-abortions-and-euthanasia bill. Of course then the media might have taken a different tack.

Oil is up 9% due to Mideast worries, the dollar is increasingly worthless, Vermont joins a growing number of other states in seeking the path of the destruction of any state influence in national affairs, and TSA is still just as competent as ever.

Just another day at rest stop near the end of civilization.

Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Antioch

Today is the traditional Feast of the first See of the Prince of the Apostles. From Butler's Lives of the Saints:

THAT Saint Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch is attested by Eusebius, Origen, St. Jerom, St. Innocent, Pope Gelasius, in his Roman Council, St. Chrysostom and others. It was just that the prince of the apostles should take this city under his particular care and inspection, which was then the capital of the East, and in which the faith took so early and so deep root as to give birth in it to the name of Christians. St. Chrysostom says, that St. Peter made there a long stay: St. Gregory the Great, that he was seven years bishop of Antioch; not that he resided there all that time, but only that he had a particular care over that church. If he sat twenty-five years at Rome, the date of his establishing his chair at Antioch must be within three years after our Saviour’s ascension; for in that supposition he must have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius.

The festival of St. Peter’s chair in general, Natale Petri de Cathedrâ, is marked on this day in the most ancient calendar extant, made in the time of Pope Liberius, about the year 354. It also occurs in Gregory’s sacramentary, and in all the martyrologies. It was kept in France in the sixth century, as appears from the council of Tours, and from Le Conte.

In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to keep the anniversary of his baptism, on which he renewed his baptismal vows, and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption: this they called their spiritual birth-day. The bishops in like manner kept the anniversary of their own consecration, as appears from four sermons of St. Leo on the anniversary of his accession or assumption to the pontifical dignity; and this was frequently continued by the people after their decease, out of respect to their memory. St. Leo says, we ought to celebrate the chair of St. Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom; for as in this he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, so by the former he was installed head of the church on earth.

On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the divine goodness for the establishment and propagation of his church, and earnestly to pray that in his mercy he may preserve the same, and dilate its pale, that his name may be glorified by all nations, and by all hearts, to the boundaries of the earth, for his divine honour and the salvation of souls, framed to his divine image, and the price of his adorable blood. The church of Christ is his spiritual kingdom: he is not only the architect and founder; but continues to govern it, and by his spirit, to animate its members to the end of the world as its invisible head: though he has left in St. Peter and his successors a vicar, or lieutenant, as a visible head, with an established hierarchy for its exterior government. If we love him and desire his honour, if we love men on so many titles linked with us, can we cease weeping and praying, that by his sweet omnipotent grace he may subdue all the enemies of his church, converting to it all infidels and apostates? In its very bosom sinners fight against him. Though these continue his members by faith, they are dead members, because he lives not in them by his grace and charity, reigns not in their hearts, animates them not with his spirit. He will indeed always live by grace and sanctity in many members of his mystical body. Let us pray that by the destruction of the tyranny of sin all souls may subject themselves to the reign of his holy love. Good Jesus! for your mercy’s sake, hear me in this above all other petitions: never suffer me to be separated from you by forfeiting your holy love: may I remain always rooted and grounded in your charity, as is the will of your Father. Eph. iii.

21 February 2011

Statements Like These Weaken the Credibility of the USCCB

Before we get any funny comments to the effect of "you can't weaken zero credibility" or the like, let me explain. The USCCB has made some small strides in recent decades to regain its voice on the important moral issues facing the country. The Conference has elected more orthodox bishops to some important positions, for one. And an increasing number, though still a minority, of U.S. bishops have stood strong in matters like pro-life issues, the preservation of Catholic identity in a pluralistic society, and the sanctity of marriage.

Of course, the USCCB bureaucracy, even in the absence of competing statements from less orthodox bishops, does its best to weaken, confuse, and make impotent any statement from the conference that doesn't toe the socialist-leftist line. But, like I said, there is some progress.

Which leads me to this story. Though the new ice age, er, global warming, er, "climate change" scam has long ago been discovered and rejected by scientists not on the government dole, and most normal people to boot,
the USCCB has seen fit to revise and restate its support for destroying the middle class, trampling private property rights and otherwise making an offering to the Moloch of the State by standing by the party line on this made-up problem.

A sample:

“Protecting God’s Creation and ‘the least of these’ requires urgent, wise and bold action,” according to the policy statement. “Well-designed climate change policies can both help address climate change and protect the most vulnerable. Most comprehensive policy and legislative approaches to address climate change would generate substantial revenue by putting a price on carbon emissions. The United States bishops insist that a significant portion of these resources be used to minimize the disproportionate burdens felt by those least able to cope with the impacts of climate change and policies to address it.”

This kind of nonsense can get very discouraging to a Catholic who loves the Church and is trying to make it to Heaven. Doctrine is ignored by the sheep in part because there is no attempt to teach it, to maintain it or to defend it-- or else it is forced to take a backseat to purely political pronouncements.


I was going to chalk this one up as just one more in a long line of disappointing statements, but when I read the comments to the Catholic Culture article it motivated me to post. I post some below, not to agree or disagree with them (though just guess if I do), but to point out how Catholics view the Conference when it wades into waters like these:

--I certainly hope the bishops are going to give us an authoritative statement on the correct temperature of the earth, the correct level of activity of the sun, the correct amount of cloud cover, the correct temperature of the oceans. Without their inspired guidance, how will we know how much climate change we should allow? If the bishops are not going to provide this vital information, then I respectfully ask that they attend to their real jobs which have been woefully neglected for 50 years.

--The bishops continue to pontificate (pun intended) on political issues beyond their expertise and the faithful still wait for moral leadership.

--Great! Since we have been saving mucho $$ since we started mitigating CC in 1990, I would suggest people could use part of such savings to help the poor. That would be better than doing a Cain job on CC & its science, & in effect profligately burning one's money in the front yard & ending up in a place a lot hotter than a globally warmed world for all eternity, no less.


--Ah, yes. The science of the climate change debate is specifically addressed in both Scripture and Tradition. No? Maybe he bishops should worry about appallingly poor catechesis, and those who speak in the name of the Church in their official positions and yet deny Catholic teachings? Just a thought.

Our Church, her institutions and her mission are under increasing attack in this country. Catholics need their Bishops to lead them and to defend them. Fronting for the climate change scam is not going to make the USCCB more likely to be taken seriously when real moral issues are in play.
But is that the goal? Or is it to placate the Hindus?

Gateway Academy to Affliliate with Benedictines

In the wake of the announced departure (mostly) of the Legionaries of Christ from the operation of Gateway Academy, that school has been, to say the least, in a state of flux. However, there seems to be good news at present, though the situation is not finally settled. The Benedictines of the St. Louis Abbey have tentatively agreed to oversee the school, and have asked permission of Archbishop Carlson to do so.

The Benedictines already run Priory school. What is not clear yet is the exact nature of their supervision and control, nor is it clear whether all involvement by the Legionaries will cease.

His Grace is quoted in the article as noting: "The question that still needs to be determined is 'Who owns the school?'" A good question, indeed. So, while this certainly seems to be a very positive development, prayers and discernment are needed.

From
the full article:

As Legionaries leave, Gateway school to affiliate with Benedictine order

by Tim Townsend

The board of directors of a Chesterfield school run by a troubled Catholic order has reached a tentative deal with a different order in an effort to remain open and affiliated with the Roman Catholic church.

In a letter to parents obtained by the Post-Dispatch, the new lay board of Gateway Academy said that as the school's founding order — the Legionaries of Christ — prepared to leave the St. Louis area, the Benedictine monks of St. Louis Abbey had agreed to step in to oversee the school. The Abbey operates St. Louis Priory, a Catholic school for boys in grades 7 to 12 in Creve Coeur.

[...]


In the letter dated Friday, the board members said the final documents had not been approved by Carlson, who is recuperating from knee surgery and under doctor's orders to refrain from work until March 4.

Gateway board member Steve Notestine said because the board was under pressure to have parents commit by Friday to sending their children to Gateway next school year, it sent the letter out before the deal was finalized and without the knowledge of the archdiocese or St. Louis Abbey.

"Because we have had an offer of affiliation with a Catholic religious order, things have changed dramatically for the better, and we thought it was appropriate to send parents a confidential update for their consideration," Notestine said. "Our first requirement is to our parents."

[...]

The board's letter told parents that the school needed at least 105 students to operate next academic year.

[...]

Carlson said the Benedictines had asked his permission to affiliate with the school.
"Since there is excellent cooperation between the Abbey and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we obviously would have not problem with the Benedictines being involved with Gateway Academy," Carlson said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch.

The archbishop also said a religious community, the archdiocese or an "Association of the Lay Faithful" has to own a school for it to be recognized as Catholic.

"The question that still needs to be determined is 'Who owns the school?'" Carlson said.

Jim Fair, a spokesman for the Legion said ownership discussions "are still underway."

The school building and property is currently owned by the Gateway Educational Foundation, which is controlled by the Legion.

When the Legion announced its departure in January, school officials said representatives from the order would return "on a semi-monthly basis" to offer spiritual guidance.

In the board's letter Friday, it said that as soon as the school's affiliation with the Benedictines was official "the new board will release the Legion from its offer to visit the school on a regular basis next year."

It also said a Benedictine monk will join the new board.

[...]

A source familiar with the deal, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations were ongoing, said ownership of Gateway will stay with the Legion, which will lease the building to the school.

Similarly, the Legion's specialized curriculum will remain in place, as will school leaders, some of whom are affiliated with Regnum Christi.

The Post Goes for the Local Angle

The local paper, no doubt scouring Saint Louis Catholic for article ideas and noting the posts about Lincoln and Lee, ran a story yesterday about the 120th anniversary of the funeral of Union General William T. Sherman, the conqueror of Atlanta.

Sherman's wife was a devout Catholic, and they produced a son who became a Jesuit priest, back when that order was more reliable than at present. General Sherman is buried at Calvary Cemetery.

18 February 2011

Gueranger on Septuagesima

With a tip to fisheaters.com, here is Dom Gueranger on the Season of Septuagesima:

The season upon which we are now entering is expressive of several profound mysteries. But these mysteries belong not only to the three weeks which are prearatory to Lent: they continue throughout the whole period of time which separates us from the great feast of Easter.

The number seven is the basis of all these mysteries. We have already seen how the holy Church came to introduce the season of Septuagesima into her calendar. Let us now meditate on the doctrine hidden under the symbols of her liturgy. And first, let us listen to St. Augustine, who thus gives is the clue to the whole of our season's mysteries. 'There are two times,' says the holy Doctor: 'one which is now, and is spent in the temptations and tribulations of this life; the other which shall by then, and shall be spent in eternal security and joy. In figure of these, we celebrate two periods: the time before Easter, and the time after Easter. That which is before Easter signifies the sorrow of this present life; that which is after Easter, the blessedness of our future state... Hence it is that we spend the first in fasting and prayer; and in the second we give up our fasting, and give ourselves to praise.'

The Church, the intepreter of the sacred Scriptures, often speaks to us of two places, which correspond with these two times of St. Augustine. These two places are Babylon and Jerusalem. Babylon is the image of this world of sin, in the midst whereof the Christian has to spend his years of probation; Jerusalem is the heavenly country, where he is to repose after all his trials. The people of Israel, whose whole history is but one great type of the human race, was banished from Jerusalem and kept in bondage in Babylon.

Now, this captivity, which kept the Israelites exiles from Sion, lasted seventy years; and it is to express this mystery, as Alcuin, Amalarius, Ivo of Chartres, and all the great liturgists tell us, that the Church fixed the number of seventy for the days of expiation. It is true, there are but sixty-three days between Septuagesima and Easter; but the Church, according to the style so continually used in the sacred Scriptures, uses the round number instead of the literal and precise one.

The duration of the world itself, according to the ancient Christian tradition, is divided into seven ages. The human race must pass through the seven ages before the dawning of the day of eternal life. The first age included the time from the creation of Adam to Noah; the second begins with Noah and the renovation of the earth by the deluge, and ends with this the vocation of Abraham; the third opens with this first formation of God's chosen people, and continues as far as Moses, through whom God gave the Law; the fourth consists of the period between Moses and David, in whom the house of Juda received the kingly power; the fifth is formed of the years which passed between David's reign and the captivity of Babylon, inclusively; the sixth dates from the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, and takes us on as far as the birth of our Saviour. Then, finally, comes the seventh age; it starts with the rising of this merciful Redeemer, the Sun of justice, and is to continue till the dread coming of the Judge of the livng and the dead. These are the seven great divisions of time; after which, eternity.

In order to console us in the midst of the combats, which so thickly beset our path, the Church, like a beacon shining amidst the darkness of this our earthly abode, shows us another seven, which is to succeed the one we are now preparing to pass through. After the Septuagesima of mourning, we shall have the bright Easter with its seven weeks of gladness, foreshadowing the happiness and bliss of heaven. After having fasted with our Jesus, and suffered with Him, the day will come when we shall rise together with Him, and our hearts shall follow Him to the hightest heavesn; and then after a brief interval, we shall feel the Holy Ghost descending upon us, with His seven Gifts. The celebration of all these wondrous joys will take us seven weeks, as the great liturgists observe in their interpretation of the rites of the Church. The seven joyous weeks from Easter to Pentecost will not be too long for the future glad mysteries, which, after all, will be but figures of a still gladder future, the future of eternity.

Having heard these sweet whisperings of hope, let us now bravely face the realities brought before us by our dear mother the Church. We are sojourners upon this earth; we are exiles and captives in Babylon, that city which plots our ruin. If we love our country, if we long to return to it, we must be proof against the lying allurements of this strange land, and refuse the cup she proffers us, and with which she maddens so many of our fellow captives. She invites us to join in her feasts and her songs; but we must unstring our harps, and hang them on the willows that grow on her river's bank, till the signal be given for our return to Jerusalem. She will ask us to sing to her the melodies of our dear Sion: but how shall we, who are so far from home, have heart to 'sing the song of the Lord in a strange land'? No, there must be no sign that we are content to be in bondage, or we shall deserve to be slaves forever.

These are the sentiments wherewith the Church would inspire us during the penitential season which we are now beginning. She wishes us to reflect on the dangers that beset us; dangers which arise from ourselves and from creatures. During the rest of the year she loves to hear us chant the song of heavne, the sweet Alleluia; but now, she bids us close our lips to this word of joy, because we are in Babylon. We are pilgrims absent from our Lord, let us keep our glad hymn for the day of His return. We are sinners, and have but too often held fellowship with the world of God's enemies; let us become purified by repentance, for it is written that 'praise is unseemly in the mouth of a sinner.'

The leading feature, then, of Septuagesima, is the total suspension of the Alleluia, which is not to again be heard upon the earth until the arrival of that happy day, when having suffered death with our Jesus, and having been buried together with Him, we shall rise again with Him to a new life.

The sweet hymn of the angels, Gloria in excelsis Deo, which we have sung every Sunday since the birth of our Saviour in Bethlehem, is also taken from us; it is only on the feasts of the saints which may by kept during the week that we shall be allowed to repeat it. The night Office of the Sunday is to lose also, from now till Easter, its magnificent Ambrosian hymn, the Te Deum; and at the end of the holy Sacrifice, the deacon will no longer dismiss the faithful with his solemn Ite, Missa est, but will simply invite them to continue their prayers in silence, and bless the Lord, the God of mercy, who bears with us, notwithstanding all our sins.

After the Gradual of the Mass, instead of the thrice repeated Alleluia, which prepared our hearts to listen to the voice of God in the holy Gospel, we hsall hear but a mournful and protracted chant, called, on that account, the Tract.

That the eye, too, may teach us that the season we are entering on is one of mourning, the Church will vest her ministers (both on Sundays and on the days during the week which are not feasts of Saints) in the sombre purple. Until Ash Wednesday, however, she permits the deacon to wear his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; but from that day forward, they must lay aside these vestments of joy, for Lent will then have begun and our holy mother will inspire us with the deep spirit of penance, but suppressing everything of that glad pomp, which she loves at other seasons, to bring into the sanctuary of her God.

Flip Side

With all of the nifty discussion at the Lincoln Brigade post, I thought this quote about the "reconstruction" from Robert E. Lee (as an aside, a direct descendant of St. Thomas More) might spark some discussion. I never read it, or knew of it, until I read DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln:

"Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand."

--Robert E. Lee to Texas Governor Fletcher S. Stockdale (September 1870), as quoted in The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, pp. 497-500.

Great Story about a Young Man with Principles

I heard this story on some local newscast, but read it first at Creative Minority Report.

Sounds like a great kid. The real story, which will not be reported, is the scandal of a state athletic association that allows teenage boys and girls to wrestle each other, and in fact forces them to or else they forfeit. In the video at the link below, one girl wrestler (not the one in the story) was asked if any guys ever "trash talked" or "groped" her. Her response, "Only one guy groped me." Oh, well, then. As long as it was only one. From CMR:

HS Wrestler Forfeits Rather Than Wrestle Girl

Because of his faith, state wrestling title contender Joel Northrup had to forfeit a match. It was either that, or
wrestle a girl.

CNN A high school wrestler in wrestling-crazy Iowa forfeited a tournament match Thursday after refusing to grapple with a female opponent.

"As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner," Joel Northrup said in a written statement, according to the Des Moines Register.

Northrup is home-schooled but wrestles as a 112-pound sophomore for Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa. He was a state title contender with a 35-4 record, CNN affiliate KCRG-TV reported.

His erstwhile opponent, Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls, advanced by default at Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena.
I don't have an issue if girls wish to compete head to head against boys in most sports, but wrestling is a different thing. It is a little too....ummm...physical.

Northrup, for his part, makes it clear that he respects these girls and their athletic accomplishments, but he cannot in good conscience wrestle a girl.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. ... It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most of the high school sports in Iowa."

Good boy. There are some things more important than wrestling.

The Beer Cow: Mythical Beast?


Huh?

Tar-Palantir (SA 3035 - SA 3255, r. SA 3177 - SA 3255) was the 24th King of Númenor. His Adûnaic name was Ar-Inziladûn, which means "Flower of the West". Tar-Palantir repented and sought to amend the ways of the prior kings, although it was already too late.

Tar-Palantir's father, Ar-Gimilzôr, whom he succeeded, was an opponent of the Valar and the Elves. Inzilbêth, the queen, taught her son to be an admirer of the Elves.

Ar-Inziladun took power during a time of great darkness in Númenor; ever since Tar-Atanamir, many king had spoken against the Valar and questioned the policies laid before them. Tar-Palantir, however, sought to repent the actions of his predecessors; he once again tended to the White Tree, and followed the ancient practices. However, there was no response from the Valar, and Tol Eressëa could not be seen from the tower of Tar-Minastir.

His name in Quenya was written in the Scrolls, as it was with the ancient practices. Palantir in Quenya means "far sighted," as Palantir indeed saw the destruction that would come to Númenor if it kept going down the path of disobedience to the Valar. His daughter, Tar-Míriel was his successor and would have followed his policies, but her rightful place as Queen of Númenor was usurped by her husband, Ar-Pharazôn.

E-Petition to the Holy Father in Support of Summorum Pontificum

NLM has made an effort to garner signatures on a petition to send to the Holy Father assuring him of our gratitude for SP, our prayers, and our appeal that he continue to support the wide and generous application of the motu proprio.

If you are interested, go here.

17 February 2011

Trusting Your News Coverage

I would hope most people realize that one simply cannot believe everything you see or hear or read in the news. I think most readers know this, but think that there may still be major news outlets that are more or less trustworthy. However, one needn't look to Charles Jaco or Keith Olbermann to point out the major problems in the accuracy of news reporting; in this case, Fox News gets into the act.

The first video here explains how Fox News reported that Ron Paul, who won the CPAC straw poll in 2011, was roundly booed by CPAC attendees. The problem is that the footage they ran is of his victory in 2010, when Mitt Romney supporters, disappointed at the unexpected loss of their candidate, let Paul have it. Yet it is reported as having happened this year. This video takes awhile to make the point, but watch it anyway:





Well, it seems that Fox News, once busted, has issued an apology, calling this an "honest mistake". OK, I hope it was. But it either is or it isn't. Either way, it doesn't speak well for the Fox News outfit. Either they intentionally made news and deceived people, or else the producer, writer and anchor didn't do any actual checking of the event they were covering, but pulled or used this footage taking someone else's word for what it was. Which is sloppy reporting, to say the least:



Interesting Name


Banner of the pro-communist Lincoln Brigade, which was comprised of Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

A Matter for Prayer

Rorate Caeli is sounding the alarm about the rumored and long-awaited "clarification" or "instruction" letter on the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The site says that the current, unreleased text is greatly restrictive, and that it reverts to an "indult" mentality to the great contradiction of the text and intent of the motu proprio.

I post this link with some misgivings, and of course with a sense of irony, since concurrent with this posting on the state of the rumor mill I will give a warning about listening to rumors.

This is all very reminiscent to the build-up to Summorum Pontificum itself. Lots of rumors, even on the very eve of release, predicting gloom or glee. But, generally, Rorate Caeli was very close to the mark then, so I will give them some credit here.

Of course, any attempt to water down legislation with non-legislative directions will be greatly disappointing. Before the motu proprio--which only confirmed what was already true, that the Mass was not abrogated-- the traditional Catholic evangelist had to almost have a doctorate in Canon Law or Sacramental Theology to be able to explicate the proof. I'd hate to have to revert to those days, but hey, read my post on veils if you think I'll shrink from it.

Hence, I think it is worth noting this post, without getting too excited just yet. And above all, pray for the Holy Father, and ask Our Lady to protect and preserve the Church from error and heresy.

16 February 2011

Ordinary Form, Ad Orientem Mass

Celebrated by Fr. Thomas Keller on June 14, 2007 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Review Story on First Friday Devotions and a Call for Ad Orientem Worship in the Ordinary Form

The St. Louis Review, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, ran a great story about First Friday Mass and devotions to the Sacred Heart at the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine. The photograph above was taken by the Review and appears in the story. It shows a beautiful young girl at prayer with head properly covered.

The story, too, is very nice, and details the efforts of a North County homeschool group to foster the First Friday devotions and notes that Archdiocesan priests are regularly saying this Mass, which, by the way, is in the Ordinary Form.

There is one statement in the article that I wanted to discuss, as I believe it reflects a common misconception of the Ordinary Form:

She also likes how the Mass, while celebrated in English in the Ordinary Form, is at a shrine that is set up for the Extraordinary Form, or traditional Latin Mass. "This is different than our Sunday Mass. It shows more reverence, and it's a different way for our family to worship once a month."

What is referred to here is that the traditional placement and orientation of the altar causes the priest to, of necessity, celebrate Mass ad orientem. That is to say, he faces towards liturgical East, along with the congregation. Those who deride this ancient and immemorial practice would describe it as "the priest turning his back on the people".


And while it is true that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite requires this orientation of the priest, what is not generally known is that the rubrics of the Ordinary Form assume this orientation as well. For example, among other places, at the various points in Mass when the "Dominus vobiscum" ("The Lord be with you") is said, the rubrics (those directions in red ink indicating the actions of the priest celebrant) indicate that the priest should turn to face the people.

Of course, if a priest must turn to face the people, it assumes he is not (or at least may not) be facing them already. The rubrics certainly do not require the Mass to be said versus populum, nor did the Council Fathers do so. However well established the innovation of Mass facing the people may be today, it is no less a deviation from the practice of the Church for at least 1500 years, and likely more. In other words, it is an innovation, and the immemorial custom of facing towards liturgical East cannot be abrogated by neglect or general disuse.

So, I applaud the ad orientem Mass on First Fridays at St. Ferdinand, and call on priests who may read this to emulate the practice. It follows the ancient custom of the Church in that the priest faces the altar, along with everyone else. It is more reverent, almost by default, because the personality of the priest is muted, leaving only his reality as acting in the person of Christ the Head, with the faithful as the Body. All are oriented towards the Sacrifice of Calvary. But this is not because the church is set up for the Extraordinary Form. It is because both Forms should be celebrated this way. And though the Extraordinary Form must be so celebrated, the Ordinary Form certainly can be so celebrated.

Finally, the photo below should help you picture it better-- it is of the Holy Father celebrating the novus ordo--the Ordinary Form-- ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel. Wouldn't it be great of our priests of the Archdiocese followed his example more often?

15 February 2011

Illinois Homeschoolers Turn Out to Resist Proposed Legislation Requiring State Registration

Peggy over at Southern Illinois Catholic had the story first, with a link to another Illinois blog with additional information and lots of great photos. The key to interpreting these photos is that the vast homeschooling crowd is actually comprised of only two families.

Just a little inside homeschooling joke.

Here is
the Post-Dispatch story:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The halls of the State Capitol are crammed this morning with what appear to be hundreds of homeschooling parents, kids and supporters, here for a hearing on a regulatory bill from which the sponsor already is reportedly is backing off.

The bill would make home-school kids register with the state Board of Education. Currently there are no regulations. The sponsor, Sen. Ed Maloney, D-Chicago, originally presented the bill as merely a way for the state to know how many kids there are who are homeschooled, as they are currently completely off the radar.

``It's as simple as that,'' he told the conservative website Illinois Review last week.

Not so simple, as it turns out. Religious, libertarian, conservative and other websites have erupted with the issue in the past week, culminating in the crowd outside the hearing room right now.

There are reports that Maloney has pulled the legislation (SB 136), though it's still currently in the system.


______________
Now, if you think that taking action is useless at a state or local level, check out this money line from the article:

______________

In any case, the expectation around here is that lawmakers will quickly drop this thing once they get a look at all these angry moms, and get back to not balancing the budget.

[...]

Incident at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis

I apologize for not posting this sooner, and I thank KC for sending it, along with several photos in silverlight format that I am too stupid to be able to post here. There was an apparent injury at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, where a woman was brought out with face covered on a gurney and taken away by ambulance.

Of course there is no news coverage of this, and I cannot say what happened. It is not certain how the person was injured or the extent of the injury. Later, the husband contacted a pro-life advocate who offered help and indicated his wife was in stable condition.

Lifesite News has a post, and the suspiciousness of the face-covering alone raises the expected types of questions. It is a good reminder of just what business these people are in.

And, unlike the slaughtered babies, this person was brought out the front door and not summarily destroyed.