30 December 2011

Christmastime Update; Te Deum and Plenary Indulgence on December 31

Deep within this Octave of Christmas I wanted to check in with those hardy souls who still read this space. Merry Christmas to you and a very Blessed New Year!


Did you eat meat today?  Did you even think about it?  This is one of those days where the traditional practice and the modern law and expectation collide.  Even for those who abstain from meat every Friday of the year (as is still expected under the law, unless you substitute a different penance for it), this kind of day poses a conundrum.  In the olden days, only a Holy Day of Obligation set aside a Friday abstinence.  Now, though, "Solemnities" do, regardless of whether they are obligatory.  A day like today always gives me pause-- it is not a Holy Day of Obligation; nor, strictly speaking, is it a First Class Feast.  It is, I believe, a Second Class Feast of Our Lord.  But, it marks Christmas, which is a Holy Day of Obligation (even to the USCCB) and one of the principal feasts of the year.  It feels incongruent to do penance today.  So, did you eat meat today?


Next, I apologize for obviously and egregiously lame blogging the last ten days, even by my standards.  After I return after the New Year's break, around Tuesday, it will pick up again.  Thanks for your patience.


And finally, as the title indicates, there is an opportunity for a plenary indulgence for those who partake in the traditional end-of-year public recitation of the Te Deum on December 31. The Canons at St. Francis de Sales will pray the Te Deum at 5 pm.  It is a very convenient opportunity to gain the indulgence, which may come in quite handy the way people drive on New Year's Eve.  The usual conditions apply-- confession, communion, prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, complete detachment from sin.


Here is the ancient prayer of thanksgiving itself, in Latin and English:

TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates; To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia, Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis: the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum. R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te. V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi. R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. V.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri. R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te. V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum. R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

27 December 2011

The Christmas Truce of World War I

For the season, I wanted to draw attention to the nice article in The Remnant on the Christmas Truce of 1914.  This truce, in the first year of the war that finished off the remains of Christendom, was a remarkable bit of sanity in the midst of auto-demolition.


May the Prince of Peace soon win over the hearts of men, so hardened in our own day.

Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist: Blessing of Wine after Tonight's Mass at the Oratory

What follows is a rehash of my post of last year-- I just wanted to post this so that any faithful who want to benefit from the blessing of wine on St. John's feast day may do so tonight after the 6:30pm Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory:


Having been raised in the throes of the N.O. for most of my life, I was unaware of the beautiful custom of the blessing of wine after the principal Mass on the feast of St. John. The above image captures an incident in the life of the Apostle, when he was given poisoned wine to drink. When he blessed the wine, the poison left the chalice in the form of a serpent and he safely consumed the remaining wine.

Just another one of those beautiful Catholic customs we should take care to retain and pass along to our children.
This blessing is an English translation from the Roman Ritual:
BLESSING OF WINE
on the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (December 27)
At the end of the principal Mass on the feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, after the last Gospel, the priest, retaining all vestments except the maniple, blesses wine brought by the people. This is done in memory and in honor of St. John, who drank without any ill effects the poisoned wine offered to him by his enemies.
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.
If it please you, Lord God, bless + and consecrate + this vessel of wine (or any other beverage) by the power of your right hand; and grant that, through the merits of St. John, apostle and evangelist, all your faithful who drink of it may find it a help and a protection. As the blessed John drank the poisoned potion without any ill effects, so may all who today drink the blessed
wine in his honor be delivered from poisoning and similar harmful things. And as they offer themselves body and soul to you, may they obtain pardon of all their sins; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Lord, bless + this creature drink, so that it may be a health-giving medicine to all who use it; and grant by your grace that all who taste of it may enjoy bodily and spiritual health in calling on your holy name; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit, come on this wine (or any other beverage) and remain always.
All: Amen.
It is sprinkled with holy water. If the blessing is given privately outside of Mass, the priest is vested in surplice and stole and performs the ceremony as given above.

23 December 2011

Light Blogging Through Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone, and have a blessed holiday!

December 23

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

22 December 2011

December 22

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

21 December 2011

Oratory Newsletter-- Gaudete Gala Round-up, Survey Reminder, Midnight Mass Info, Scrip Program, Visit of Cardinal Burke, and Good News on the Tower Front

If you only read one newsletter this year-- let it be this one!  ;-)


From Canon Michael Wiener, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory:


SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
EMAIL NEWSLETTER


December 21, 2011


GAUDETE BENEFIT GALA - SURVEY - STEEPLE - CANON DE LA BROSSE MIDNIGHT MASS - SCRIP - VISIT OF CARDINAL BURKE
MYSTERY PHOTO

Dear Faithful and Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,

FIRST ANNUAL GAUDETE BENEFIT GALA


One member of the audience described the Oratory’s first Gaudete Benefit Gala as a “magical evening.” Others used “fantastic,” “moving” and “extraordinary” to describe the memorable experience which exceeded their expectations.

 




From the jazzy welcome which greeted the first arrivals at the cocktail social, to the resounding “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that closed the evening, this “magical evening” was a delightful interlacing of skillfully performed music and a delicious banquet. The overture, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” captivated the audience just before the first course, Winter Beef Soup, was served. Thereafter, choral and instrumental pieces by classical masters as well as contemporary composers were enchantingly interwoven with the elegant dinner, served in a joyful atmosphere.

Who can forget the Chocolate Oblivion Flourless Torte paired with timeless Christmas carols, sung with energy and expression by the Oratory’s choristers?





Once again, I would like to thank Mr. Nick Botkins, Mrs. Catherine Unseth, Mrs. Mary Hayworth, and Mr. Mike Kenney for their vision and execution of this beautiful gala, which showcased the Oratory’s choirs and orchestra. We will need support to renovate the music suite in the “1888 Building” and to refurbish the organ, and this fundraiser was a very good beginning. I would like to thank all of you who came to this sold-out event, and the many guests who came to hear our choirs for the first time. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the singers and musicians for sharing the gifts which you offer every Sunday in support of the Sacred Liturgy, and which were displayed so dazzlingly at this Gala. Thank you!




Thanks to Mr. Phil Roussin, we are able to share with you two selections performed at the Gala: the Ave Maria by Nicholas Wilton, and the traditional carol, Gloucestershire Wassail.


PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN SURVEY



We are in the final weeks of our 5-week survey of the Oratory’s attendees. The wonderful changes we have seen at St. Francis de Sales in the past six years have been supported largely by the dedicated and increased attendance. A higher rate of participation in this survey will ensure a better understanding of the demographic changes which are taking place. We kindly ask everyone to participate this year, whether you did last year, or are a newcomer this year. Last year’s survey returns cannot be re-used; therefore it is necessary that everyone fills out a new one for this year. For your convenience, the survey is designed to take only a few minutes, and it can be filled out anonymously in paper form, or online at http://www.tinyurl.com/StFdS. Your generous participation will help us gather information which will help the Oratory serve the faithful in the greater St. Louis area. Thank you very much for your help!


AN ENCOURAGING UPDATE ON THE STEEPLE TOWER



In November, we received the final report of a study which monitored the movement of the Saint Francis de Sales steeple tower. This study was conducted over a 15-month period, considerably longer than the previous report of 2005 which spanned 5 months. The results of this recent study are interesting in that they show a cyclical displacement, likely due to seasonal effects, rather than a continuous unidirectional separation of the tower from the nave. Thus, the net displacement measured was smaller than what the previous projection would lead us to believe. The study concludes: “The continual movement was not significant enough to be readily measurable over this time period,” and that “it is not a primary concern at this time.”

The report’s recommendations are two-fold: a. more long-term monitoring of the tower is needed, and b. that the damage already occurred should be addressed as soon as possible.

We are very grateful for this study which gives us a better understanding of the steeple tower situation, so that this important element in the restoration of St. Francis de Sales can be addressed in a prudent manner.

In the mean time, per recommendation of the report, we will attend to other much-needed repairs of the church, such as the stained glass windows, displaced masonry, broken brick work, and tuck-pointing. With the generosity of the faithful and friends of the Oratory, some of these repairs have already begun or been completed in the last few years. Gratefully, and encouraged by the latest information, we look forward to the next phase of collaboration with all our supporters to continue the restoration of St. Francis de Sales.



FIRST MASS OF CANON BRIEUC DE LA BROSSE



Canon Brieuc de La Brosse who was ordained priest by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, in Florence on July 7, celebrated Solemn High Mass at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, preached the sermon and gave a first blessing to hundreds of faithful. Canon de La Brosse arrived in St. Louis last Saturday and was able to attend the Gaudete Benefit Gala the night before this wonderful and grace-filled Sunday. Thank you, Canon de La Brosse, for your visit and God Speed for your apostolic work in the Institute’s apostolates in Ireland!


MIDNIGHT MASS



Solemn High Mass with Glorious Music and Veneration of the Relic of the Holy Crèche.

The first Mass of Christmas will be celebrated at midnight on December 25, and will include the veneration of the relic of the holy Crèche. Please join us, and invite your friends, neighbors and family to a memorable, traditional celebration of the birth of the Savior. Beginning at 11:30 PM, traditional Christmas carols will be sung by the Choirs of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, including the Girls' Choir, the Oratory Choir of Men and Boys, and the Polyphonic Choir. The music repertoire accompanying the glorious Sacred Liturgy will include the Lux Arumque by Eric Whitacre, and Missa Brevis for Strings and Brass KV. 194 by Mozart.


ORATORY’S SCRIP PROGRAM – INTRODUCING “SHOPWITHSCRIP”

 
In the last Newsletter we announced a new Scrip program for the Oratory. By shopping with Scrip at the retailers you already frequent, a percentage of the money you spend is contributed to the Oratory. It is a year-round, ongoing fundraiser which may also be a shopping convenience at this time of the year. Everyone is cordially invited to check out the program, and to participate if you wish. The Oratory has some scrip in the form of gift cards on hand and available for immediate purchase from the following retailers.

Lowe’s - Shop-n-Save - Starbuck's - St. Louis Bread Company
JCPenny -Walmart - Sam's Club - Target - Land's End -LLBean
IHOP - Burger King - Walgreen's - Bob Evans - JoAnn Fabric
Little Ceaser's - Gymboree - Domino's -Chipolte -Dillard's


To purchase or for questions about the program, please contact Mrs. Gretchen Clinton at sfdsscrip@gmail.com or the Oratory office at 314-771-3100.


VISIT OF CARDINAL BURKE



His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, will visit the Oratory for the second time since his elevation to the cardinalate: On January 31, 2012 (Tuesday), at 5:00PM His Eminence will be the celebrant of a Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction. Immediately afterward, His Eminence will receive all faithful who wish to greet him in the hall during a festive reception. Please come greet the Cardinal and bring friends and family. The visit of Cardinal Burke is an opportunity for us to show our filial gratitude for his friendship and support of the work of the Institute worldwide and especially for his fatherly care for the good of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory.


CAN YOU GUESS?


This last Mystery Photo in 2011 shows again a detail of the rich sacred art work we are blessed to see every day at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory. Look around and remember: Where did you receive the greatest gift the Church offers to us every day? Go to the TraditionForTomorrow blog and drop your answer in the combox under the latest entry.


With my most sincere wishes for you and your families and friends on the occasion of the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and a Happy New Year 2012 I ask you for your prayers for the Institute and our community at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,


Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory

Some Good Points in the Catholics Come Home Campaign Need to Be Reinforced by Catholic Parishes



Well, obviously, asking Catholics who have fallen away from the faith to reconsider the Church is a good thing, as is seeking to bring non-Catholics to the truth of the Catholic Church.  So, why the title of my post?

First, I am skeptical that the kind of ad campaign used in this effort will have major effect to convert hearts and minds.  The website and videos used are professionally produced, and seek to target the emotive response of a commercial consumer, rather than to focus on the content of the faith.  I'm not saying that hitting the emotions is wrong-- we are human beings of flesh, blood and emotions.  And in a world of short attention spans, and considering the medium employed, there isn't enough time to really drive home lots of substance.  So the problem isn't that the ads are bad, they are merely incomplete.  And they are superficially compelling, with a similar feel to the ubiquitous "I'm Zebulon Pike and I'm a Mormon" ads.  

The issue for me is that, at best, this type of commercial campaign will get people to "try" going to Church. But what will they find when they wander in to their local parish Sunday Mass?

And here is where the video embedded above gets more right than the average Catholic parish.  Among other things, here are some good points of the video that may not be reinforced in our parishes:  

The rich intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church the ad reminds us that the Church, far from being the backwards opponent of scientific progress, has done more to advance the cause of scientific and intellectual development than any other institution.  How well do our schools impart a total Catholic formation that integrates the truths of faith and the truths of the created world?  Even in schools that teach the truths of the faith, there is usually a secular compartmentalization of the "the faith" (internal, private, imminent and not to be forced on others) with "science" (real, objective, opposed to faith and superior to faith).  Our schools' approach often--by lack of integration-- relegates the faith to the realm of the imaginary, instead of acknowledging that truth is one and entire, and cannot suffer contradiction in either Catholic dogmas or in the physical world. 

The Catholic Church, inspired by God, compiled the Bible:  Yes, that Bible:  the Bible that is used by non-Catholics to lure away Catholics from the Church; the Bible that Catholics supposedly don't read, don't understand, and don't follow.  This is the Bible that every person on earth can thank the Catholic Church for compiling and promulgating.  Without the Catholic Church, there is no Bible.  The Church defined it, is the authority over its interpretation, and is the authority over its rightful use.  Do our parishes make this point effectively?  In the multiplicity of readings at Masses, in the pulpits, do Catholics hear this preached?  Do Catholics know that it is impossible for the Catholic Church to be "unbiblical"?  How many former Catholics were duped by religious sects into abandoning the only truly biblical Church on the charge of being unbibilical?  Do pastors warn their flocks about the dangers of participating in protestant Bible studies, where heterodox interpretations of scripture are inevitable? 

The Catholic Church is the one true Church:  the video soft-sells this one a bit (as have many modern pastors with disastrous results), but makes the point that the Catholic Church has the fullness of Christian faith, has an unbroken history of 2,000 years of apostolic succession and that the Popes have led the Church "in truth".  How many parishes reinforce this point, or even believe it enough to teach it?  Catholics are told from the pulpits to dialogue with other religions and denominations.  They see the example of pastors and prelates willing to engage in common prayer (at best) or even communio in sacris (at worst) with just about any religion.  They are told not to judge, and rightly so.  But are they ever informed that "Hey, you are right to be Catholic, and that there is a very good reason to be one"?  Do the pastors really stress the need for baptism of our children as soon as possible after birth?  Or are they told it doesn't really matter? 

The vital importance of the Mass:  the Mass and the reality of the Eucharist are depicted in several shots of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration/Benediction.  I won't go into Forms, but are the Masses of our local parishes celebrated with at least as much reverence as shown on this video?  Do our parishes have Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction? 

The "little things" are important:  I say "little things" as a shorthand, because these may not in fact be "little things" at all.  What does this video show?:  The "clericalism" of priests dressed as priests, doing priestly things.  Religious brothers and sisters dressed as religious brothers and sisters.  Girls--wearing veils (!)-- kneeling (!) to receive Holy Communion on their tongues (!) from a priest (!) with an altar boy holding a paten to prevent profanation of the Sacred Host (!).  Throw in the beauties of worship like incense, beautiful Churches, sacred vestments, etc. and you've really got something.  In the video, I mean.  Only you can answer the question of how often these "little things" are present in your parishes.  

In short, my take on the Catholics Come Home campaign is this-- it is a good effort, but will those we convince to reconsider the faith actually recognize what they see at the local parish as consistent with what in the ad campaign convinced them to give the faith another try?

December 21, The Feast of St. Thomas

O Oriens, splendor lucis æternæ, et sol justitiæ: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

20 December 2011

December 20

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

19 December 2011

A Word of Advice

If you live in the Saint Louis area, and do not make plans to attend next year's Second Annual Gaudete Benefit Gala, you have only yourself to blame.

This year's event was held Saturday night at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.  I expected it to be nice, but it exceeded my expectations by fifty-fold.  The atmosphere, music, food and drinks, not to mention the company, were all first rate.  It is truly amazing how well the choirs and orchestra sounded.  The program was extensive, and the interspersion of music with the cocktail hour, meal courses, and conversation was really well done.  Very classy, in every respect.

Well, I liked it, anyway.  This year's event was sold out.  I'm thinking there need to be more tables added next year to meet the demand.  For the cost of admission, it beat a holiday concert at the Fox or Powell by a country mile, and all for the best of causes.

Those who performed were absolutely amazing, and those who planned and executed the evening deserve great thanks.  I am thinking Mother Crab might post some photos (audio?) on her blog; if she does, I will link it here.

See you next year?

December 19

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
 

18 December 2011

The Roman Rite, Old and New: the Conclusion

Is now up at Rorate Caeli.  If you haven't read the series yet, or even a part of it, I recommend heading over there, printing it all out, and reading it.  Then give it to your friends and family.

December 18, Fourth Sunday of Advent

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

17 December 2011

December 17

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

Ongoing Survey at the Oratory

The Institute of Christ the King is conducting its annual survey on attendance at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis.  If you attend the Oratory regularly or even just occasionally, they would greatly appreciate it if you would complete the brief survey.  It helps the Institute ensure that they provide necessary resources to the apostolate and also assists in planning for the future.


The survey is available at the Oratory or you can fill it out online here.


Thanks!

16 December 2011

Not on the Set List for the Gaudete Benefit Gala...Yet.

Write in votes in the combox?

First Mass of Canon Brieuc de La Brosse at the Oratory This Sunday

Canon de La Brosse

First Mass
Of
Canon de La Brosse

Canon de La Brosse, ordained in July of this year by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, will offer a first Solemn Mass at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory on Sunday, December 18th at 10 a.m.


15 December 2011

Noble Simplicity in the Roman Rite

I was reading Rorate Caeli to prepare a post on the ongoing SSPX-Vatican "dialogue" (shout-out to cdg!) when I saw this photo of a concelebration of Mass in the Ordinary Form by Swiss bishops.  The photo depicts the celebrants holding hands while gathered around a couple of what look like sawhorses adorned with the regulation fern and Marek Bozek's tableware.


It appears as though they have the "simplicity" part down cold.  The "noble", not so much.

More Chartreusings

Gordon Ramsey
Nick Stellino
Jacques Pepin
Cat Cora
Frugal Gourmet


All on the Index of Forbidden Cooks


_______________


This new translation controversy is really too much.  It has gone way beyond Sunday Mass, too.  I was watching the new blu-ray edition of Star Wars, and when Obi-Wan said to Luke, "May the Force be with you," Luke replied, "And with your spirit."


_______________


Finally, I just saw an informational video about further changes to the Mass.  In addition to the new translation, there may some rubrical changes to make the Mass more appealing to our separated brethren.  Instead of describing it, maybe you should just watch.  Looks intriguing:




13 December 2011

God, Sports, & All That

OK, I am going to blunder in here where Angels fear to tread.  And by Angels, I don't mean the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who fairly waltzed into the lives of the Pujols family and formed a lifelong partnership based upon either 1) one phone call; 2) $250-$280 million; or, 3) both.


I don't intend to go into a baseball analysis of Albert Pujols' decision to sign with the Angels for a more lucrative contract than the one offered by the Cardinals.  I don't mind a professional deciding to take a new job for more money.  In real life, this motivation is considered sufficient, and perhaps even laudable.  Only in sports, and in a particular way in baseball, are athletes expected to evince other motivations. 


However, I can't understand why players, including Pujols, have to bend over backwards to say that money "has nothing to do with" these decisions.  Is this a mere platitude designed to preserve or foster the love of people they don't know?  Is it a tacit admission that it shouldn't be about money?  Is it guilt, misplaced or otherwise?


What I wanted to talk about today, and throw open for discussion, is the recent interview by Deidre Pujols, Albert's wife, wherein she talks about what she perceives are the actions of God and the Devil and Christians on earth in the contract negotiations and fallout.  We see many athletes-- and I don't doubt their good intentions or sincerity one bit-- who in addition to thanking God for their talents or success or whatever, act as though He has money on the game, or is the player's Agent in the sky. 


And here is where I think the attitude of Mrs. Pujols is typical of a God-and-me-alone spirituality.  The idea that one should have a personal relationship with Jesus is sound, properly understood.  But so many seem to have a notion that the existence of the relationship means that good things will always and everywhere happen to us.  Specifically absent is the notion that suffering is salvific, that suffering, though evil, can bring about good.  That suffering is something that is a necessary component of the Christian life.


Some quotes from Mrs. Pujols illustrate the syndrome:

"the Holy Spirit prompted me to tell people not to be deceived by what they were reading and listening to [about an impending deal.] Don't read the newspapers." 

[...]

"When it all came down, I was mad. I was mad at God...We had no reason to want to leave," Pujols continued, adding later:
The reason I say I was angry with the Lord is because I felt like when we were at our weakest - both the Cardinals and our family - making this decision, and it just couldn't get finished and done, I was like, 'this is when God is going to step in.' And it didn't happen. And then when the news broke on Thursday morning after we had made our decision, I don't think we anticipated the tsunami that came our way.
 [...]


After Diedre and Albert wrote an open letter to Cardinals fans in the Post-Dispatch, she "broke my own rule" and began reading the online comments attached to the letter on the newspaper's website.

"I hated them when I was done," Pujols said in the JOY-FM interview. "I [didn't] want to be like John going to Jesus and 'should we call fire down on these people because they rejected you?'" Albert had to calm her down, she said.


Again, I don't want anyone to think that I believe her to be insincere, or that there isn't truth to the presence of God's Providence in individual lives, whether athletes, doctors, or ditch-diggers.  But this attitude of the me-and-Jesus crowd never encompasses that He may not want a person to achieve worldly success, or that He may not want them to win this game, or that He may be calling them to be unfairly criticized, or to suffer neglect.  It wasn't enough that she wanted to let people know that her husband had been slandered-- it was the Holy Spirit who told her to do it.  She said she was mad at God because He didn't come in to solve all of the contractual issues.  She became angry that fans were unfair to her husband and she referred to the apostles asking Jesus to call fire from the sky.


In the end, the Apostles didn't see the Tsunami that awaited the Lord when they came down from Mount Tabor either.  


So, I don't know that I have some great insight on how to square the circle of athletes, God and sports.  I just found the attitude of Mrs. Pujols worthy of note.  God loves her husband, He loves her, He loves us.  He calls upon us all to accept our crosses and be grateful for our blessings.  It is just rare to see an acknowledgement that suffering is part of the deal.

12 December 2011

Meatless Friday Monday, Election Edition

Saint Louis Catholic does not endorse any political candidate.  Now that you have wiped the coffee off of your computer screen, and on a completely unrelated note, here is a video of all of Ron Paul's responses at last Saturday's debate:

"Am I Not Here, Who Am Your Mother?"

Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe to all readers!

09 December 2011

For Methodist Jim

Prayer Request

A good friend of mine is pregnant with her second child.  She is 23 weeks, and has just recently learned that her unborn daughter has a serious set of abnormalities that immediately threaten her life and make her live birth unlikely.  She is about the size of a normal 15 week-old.  There are other problems I won't describe here. If she is born, she will likely not survive more than hours or days.  Thus, the joys of an expectant mother have quickly been replaced by crushing worry and sorrow.

Could you please pray for this mother and child?  Of course, prayers for miraculous healing are welcome.  But even a live birth to allow baptism would be of great comfort to her.

Thank you.

08 December 2011

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today is the great feast of the turning point in salvation history. It is also a Holy Day of Obligation.  St. Francis de Sales Oratory has Low Mass at 8am and 12:15pm, and also High Mass tonight at 6:30pm. Tonight's homilist is the internationally known Marian expert Monsignor Arthur B. Calkins.

Because Mary, under her title as the Immaculate Conception, is the primary patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful assisting at Mass at de Sales or any other Institute apostolate can gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

Pope Pius IX, the Vicar of Christ, defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in Ineffabilis Deus:
 
Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."[29]

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.
 
A blessed feast day to all readers.
 
Regina sine labe originali concepta, ora pro nobis!

07 December 2011

Scepticism of the Veracity of Network News Should Be a Given

This isn't the first time Fox News has been caught running inaccurate video for its stories.


And before you have a fit, I believe this kind of "mistake" is not limited to one network news organization.

70 Years Ago Today

Today is the 70th anniversary of the cataclysmic event that confirmed America's transformation in the field of foreign relations from a largely non-interventionist one to a very interventionist one:  the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  This change began, arguably, with the Spanish-American War (though perhaps even earlier).  As we remember those who needlessly lost their lives on that day, Catholic political commenter Patrick Buchanan echoes a question that has been asked before and remains to be answered:


Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

06 December 2011

CBC's Sheeple Prep Program

STLToday has a story today about CBC High School's mandatory drug-testing program, now at the five-year mark.  Officials of the self-identified Catholic school are quoted with glee about the "success" of the program, noting that there is "no refusal allowed by students or parents, and no one has ever refused".  Sounds like the perfect formation for the "real world", where grads can line up and be sexually assaulted at the airport, or be tracked on their smart phones, or any other indignities authorities of the burgeoning police state say they must endure. 

The full story is worth a cautionary read, but I wanted to cull a few quotes I found particularly appalling and post them here, with commentary: 

Using a small sample of hair, about 1.5 inches long, the test can identify whether use is light, moderate or heavy and can provide an approximation of when the drug was last used. 

It bears mentioning that the school is seeking knowledge of past activities of the student and are forcibly extracting testimony from their very body tissue.  Later, the article notes that the hair test will note drug usage for about 90 days.  So, CBC is potentially seeking to know what a student has done in their private lives even months before enrolling in the school. 

In his 23 years as president of CBC, _______ said the drug testing "has been one of the most positive things that's ever happened to our school."

"Our kids take pride that we're the only school in the state, as far as we know, that does mandatory drug testing for the entire student body and that the numbers are what they are." 

The president thinks that brainwashing children into taking pride in submitting to invasive drug tests is one of the most positive things that has ever happened to his school.  Where do I sign up! 

Parents find the program reassuring, while students take it in stride. 

In case you were wondering what would possess a parent to allow their children to be treated like criminals... 

"He tells me the test is absolutely no big deal," _______ said. "When he passes, a letter comes home from Ms. _______ congratulating him on passing. As a parent, that's a wonderful thing to get, a letter that tells you 100 percent that everything is OK." 

When the authorities give you a commendation for submission, you know that your hard work as a parent is all paying off. 

_______, of St. Charles, is president of the school's Parent Club and father to _______, who graduated CBC last year, and ______, a junior.

"I think this program is excellent because it gives our kids one more reason to stay away from drugs," he said. "Let's be frank, temptations are out there, and this gives kids another tool to fight against peer pressure. 

I think it is a little ironic that the president of the Parent Club is so anxious to pass off the job of being a parent to the school-- or should I say, to the contractor hired by the school to cut his childrens' hair in order to obtain evidence of criminal activity.  Threat of expulsion and prosecution is one way to discourage drug use.  So is parental oversight and formation in the Catholic faith.  I wonder what contractor has that job at CBC. 

Even in the 2007-2008 school year when testing was first done at CBC, 97.6 percent of students tested drug-free, she said. Afterward, the results were 98.7 percent for 2008-2009, 98.8 percent for 2009-2010 and 99.1 percent for 2010-2011.

"The testing was not started to be punitive or because we thought we had a problem," _________ said. 

Read those last two paragraphs again.  There you have statistical and testimonial proof that discouragement of drug use has nothing to do with this program, nor has drug usage significantly decreased (even if one attributes a cause-and-effect to the minuscule percentage decrease in positive test results).
 

However, other Christian Brothers schools across the country were doing such testing, she said.
 
"The reasons they've done it were like ours, because we care about our kids," she said. 

Ohhhhh, OK, as long as it's because they CARE about THEIR kids...

__________ said hair testing, which has always been the methodology used, is harder to mask than a urine test.

"Drugs only stay in urine for a few days, but hair testing gives you a 90-day window of usage," she said. "Also, a hair test is very noninvasive."

Sure, noninvasive.  Just taking your hair.  Not like submitting to electronic-image strip searches or groping of private parts.  It just conditions acceptance of such practices.  That makes it OK.

I don't see how CBC's forced drug testing program is forming capable Catholic citizens of a free society.  But maybe it's too late to worry about it anymore.

Tuition at CBC for the 2011-12 academic year is $11,980.

That'll buy a lot of drug tests.


But no human dignity.
All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . .
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

-- George Orwell, quoted in this provocative article

Picture Julie Andrews in a Snood...

...and you can picture Delena, the proprietress of the It's on My To-Do List blog, who has penned the following ditty, sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things".  From her full post:

First, Medjugore and then Garabandal
Should priests wear cassocks or should they wear sandals?
Secrets of Fatima and Pope B16
These are a few controversial things...


High heels and make-up, and veiling, cremation
Donating organs and immigration
Nursing your child 'til the age of sixteen
These are a few controversial things...

Abstaining from meat every Friday all year
Chalices in Mass made of glass that's so clear
NFP, annulments, and home-schooling
These are a few controversial things...

JPII!  Advent blue!
Clowns when I'm feeling mad!
But I just think of a few controversial things
And then I don't feeeeeeeeel soooooo sad!

05 December 2011

May a Moody Baby Doom a Yam?

A Bully Question

Karen DeCoster at the LRC blog asks a legitimate question.  In light of the massive "anti-bullying" movement across the several states and from the federal government, resulting in more publicly-funded programs, more laws and more angst, she asks:


"So what is it about government schools that promotes 'bullying?'" 

From the full article:


Federal Bully Pulpit

The Michigan legislature is working to pass an anti-bullying law to "protect" vulnerable children in the public school system. Doesn't this strike people as being bizarre that almost all the individual states have passed these laws? Don't we already have laws against aggression/violence?

A question: So what is it about government schools that promotes "bullying?" Why don't private schools and private businesses have anti-bullying laws? Note that the US Department of Uneducation (Office of Safe and Drug-free Schools!) recently held a ... Bullying Prevention Summit? An even better question: why does the federal government need to promote an entire program, funded by taxpayers, dedicated to "stopping" bullying (StopBullying.gov)?

Could the answer be that yanking children from their parents and assimilating them into dumbed-down, draconian learning pools based on age and collectivizing their learning experience in a quasi-prison environment hasn't worked, and will never work for the vast majority of the kiddies?

I had correspondence with one gentleman, on Facebook, about his fiancé, who is being threatened by the state of New Jersey for removing her children from the state's uneducation camp to educate them in the privacy and peace of her own home. The legal notice I link to maintains that the state has a legal right to file formal charges and arrest any "habitual truant child." 

The threat also pointed out that any person who does not have a child attend school regularly will be "deemed a disorderly person" and therefore subject to fines as determined by the court.

That isn't violence bullying?

Invitation to Union with the Most Holy Trinity

O my God, adorable Trinity, make me know Your gift, the immense gift by which You dwell in my poor soul, You, One and Three, You, the Immense, the Omnipotent!

"O Deity eternal, O high, eternal Deity, O sovereign, eternal Father, O ever-burning fire!... What do Your bounty and Your grandeur show?  The gift You have given to man.  And what gift have You given?  Your whole self, O eternal Trinity.  And where did You give Yourself?  In the stable of our humanity which had become a shelter for animals, that is, mortal sins" (St. Catherine of Siena).

"O my Lord and my good!  I cannot say this without tears and great delight of soul!  Is it possible, O Lord, that You love us so much that You wish to be with us?  If our faults do not impede us, we may rejoice in You and You will take Your delight in us, since You say that Your delight is to be with the children of men.  O my Lord!  What is this?  Whenever I hear these words they are a great comfort to me.  But is it possible, Lord, that after realizing You take delight in it, the soul would turn again to offend You, and to forget so many favors and such signal marks of love that it cannot doubt them, since it sees Your work so clearly?  Alas, yes, O Lord, I am this soul.  And I have done this, not once, but many times.

"I knew perfectly well that I had a soul, but I did not understand what that soul merited or who dwelt within it.  If I had understood then as I do now that You dwell in this little palace of my soul, You who are so great a King, it seems to me I would not have left You alone so often, but would have kept You company from time to time and would have been more diligent to keep it spotless.  There is nothing more wonderful than to see You, my God, whose greatness could fill a thousand worlds and still more worlds, confine Yourself within so small a thing!  You are the Lord of the world, free to do what You will, and yet, because You love us, You fashion Yourself to our measure" (St. Teresa of Avila).

O Blessed Trinity, my God, I shall no longer close my ears to Your loving invitation.  I do not wish You to be any longer the "great abandoned One" in my soul.  Help me to establish all my faculties in You, especially my intellect and my will, so that I shall live in intimate, perpetual union with You.  Grant that I may seek You and You alone, that my gaze may always be turned toward You, and that I may suffer, pray, and work with You and in You.

O eternal Trinity, my sweet love!  O Father, draw me by the power of Your omnipotence!  O Son, enlighten me by the brilliance of Your wisdom!  O Holy Spirit, inflame me with the burning fire of Your charity!

--from Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

01 December 2011

The Roman Rite: Old and New -- VIII

Up at Rorate Caeli.

Advent Blues Survey

It's been a while since I have assisted at the Ordinary Form; the last Advent OF Mass I attended was three years ago, where my daughter and I were verbally assaulted by an usher-- a story for a different time.

In any event, I have had requests to send out a call for responses on what used to be a growing trend for priests to don blue chasubles instead of violet.  The theory being, I suppose, that violet is "too" penitential for the penitentially hopeful season of Advent.  Again, it has been a while, but I thought this fad had run its course.

But, in the interests of science, I ask you:  Does your priest wear blue vestments in Advent?

You can answer in the combox.  Feel free to name the parish-- but don't reveal the priest's identity, please.