29 April 2012

Catholic Sunday

Had a great day today at the Oratory. It began with the Mass, which is the best thing around. After Mass and Benediction, coffee hour in the hall, followed by the first ever men's 3-on-3 basketball tourney. As I didn't have a heart attack, I had a blast.

Family and friends hanging out-- just one of those little glimpses of Heaven that God gives us now and then.

Thanks to my family for all your love and support in recent days. You know who you are. My daughter, on the other hand, is banned from the computer.

28 April 2012

Wherein I Save My Dad's Lame-o Blog

Hello, all.  My name is Fem, oldest daughter of thetimman.  I also go by Flem, Clem, Nrem, Czrsychsem, and, basically, anything that rhymes with "Em".  

Why am I appearing as a guest commentator today?  After a series of lame-o posts, I decided he needed something exciting on his blog.  

Naturally, I thought of me.

My Dad asks my advice all the time.  Like, when he holds pocket 3s and someone raises pre-flop, should he fold?  The answer is always, "Yes."  Or when we're at the grocery store, and Mom's instructions were to buy Chili Magic, is Chili Man an acceptable alternative?  The answer is, "No. I spit upon your Chili Man!"

I have some great advice on how to improve this blog.  Take this post, for example.  Isn't it an improvement?  Well, my ideas don't stop there.  

This blog needs celebrities.  thetimman is a sub-lebrity, I suppose, but how about some real stars?  How come we never see a Cardinal Burke post here?  Or Benedict XVI?  Maybe Eduardo Verastegui won't mind posting here.  I mean, who didn't love "Bella"?  

This blog also needs free stuff.  Yes, I know the joy of reading thetimman's innermost thoughts is 100% free (unless you're reading this at work).  But really?  Lately, his thoughts have consisted of a has-been Canadian band that was popular in the '80s and Whit Stillman film reviews. 

How about a free "St. Louis Catholic" hoodie for everyone who posts 100 comments?  'Like' this blog on Facebook and get a snazzy bumper sticker to put on the back of your 15-passenger van.  It'll go great with the Ron Paul 2012 sticker back there.  

What about a contest to guess the thetimman's true identity?  Complete with a grand prize of never having to meet him (As he would say, "I kid because I love!").  ;-)

Or how about assigning some eager young Catholic as a Rome correspondent?  I'm sure there is some homeschooled teenage girl who wants a degree in Communications and would jump at the offer.  (Hint, hint.)

See, those are some great ideas.  Put your own in the combox.  Maybe he'll see them.  

Or he can just get back to writing every day.

26 April 2012

Just Like Stalin?

Of course, I'm not sure who she means by "we"...

First Lady Hails Free-Contraception Mandate: 'We Made History'

James Hitchcock to Speak at the Oratory

News from the Oratory:

Distinguished Catholic Historian

Prof. James F. Hitchcock
of St. Louis University presents
“130 Years of Faith, Fraternalism & Service
to Catholic America & St. Francis de Sales
thru the Knights of Columbus”

KofC Anniversary
Communion Breakfast
Saturday, May 5th,  10 a.m.


2653 Gravois Avenue (at Ohio) 63118 - South of I-55 - Gravois Exit

Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) - 10 am in Church

Gourmet Brunch and Presentation follows in Church Hall
Adults $8.00 - Children $5.00

Reservations Requested  no later than April 28- (314) 580-2425

23 April 2012

Jerry Wamser, RIP

Update-- new report from the Post-Dispatch, that captures a bit of Jerry's inimitable style.

I spoke to Jerry in the last month or so after having gone more than a decade without having seen him.  He was a benefactor to me early in my work-related life, and I owe him a debt of gratitude.  He was bombastic, and sometimes over-the-top gung-ho, yet could laugh at himself as well as at the lunacies of life.  People liked and respected him because of his absolute sincerity and giving spirit.

Please pray for his soul.  From STL Today:

Jerry B. Wamser was the Republican Party's last serious contender for mayor of St. Louis — certainly its last spirited one. As chairman of the St. Louis Election Board, he'd sometimes burst into song while awaiting election results downtown.

Mr. Wamser died Saturday (April 21, 2012) at St. Anthony's Medical Center of a stroke he had suffered the previous afternoon in his law office in south St. Louis County. He was 65 and lived in St. Louis Hills.

Mr. Wamser made his only bid for elective office as the GOP mayoral candidate in 1981. A Republican hadn't been mayor since Aloys P. Kaufmann left office in 1949, but Wamser was energized by the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The Republican National Committee gave Wamser's campaign $7,000, an unusual bet on a city GOP candidate for the time.

Mr. Wamser ran hard against Democrat Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr., calling him "Diamond Vince" for his campaign promises. Schoemehl countered by referring to Mr. Wamser as "Chicken Little" for warning of shaky city finances.

Schoemehl won the general election by a 2-to-1 ratio in the lopsidedly Democratic city. Three months later, then-Gov. Christopher "Kit" Bond, a Republican, appointed Mr. Wamser chairman of the St. Louis Election Board, a position he held until 1989.

As chairman, Mr. Wamser was quotable. When it took 51 hours to count results of an election with a big write-in vote in 1983, he compared the ordeal to a "three-day tooth extraction." In 1989, he asked a judge to delay a primary because of a snowstorm, saying the election board "didn't want to be the source of 200 broken hips." The judge refused.

On election nights, he was known to sing in a full baritone while awaiting results at the board office, then across Tucker Boulevard from City Hall.

Leo Garvin, board attorney for part of Mr. Wamser's chairmanship, called him a "larger-than-life personality who enjoyed the politics and the process of government. He worked hard to make elections fair. And he knew how to take the kidding well," Garvin said, referring to the blunt exchanges of city politics.
Mr. Wamser grew up in Affton and was valedictorian at Affton High School in 1964. He graduated from Washington University, joined the Army and served one year in Vietnam as a lieutenant. He graduated from Washington University School of Law in 1973.

In 1978, he married Jeanette Altepeter of Clayton.

Mr. Wamser practiced general civil law for almost 40 years. In 2005, he returned to the Election Board as counsel and served until 2011, two years into the administration of Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Gary Stoff, the board's Republican director of elections, called Mr. Wamser "vigilant and passionate about the integrity of our elections."

From 1989 to 1998, he was on the Board of Trustees of Fontbonne University, his wife's alma mater.

Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at John L. Ziegenhein & Sons Funeral Home, 4830 Lemay Ferry Road. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, 6303 Nottingham Avenue, followed by burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Survivors include his wife.
Previous report below:
From STLToday:

Jerry Boyd Wamser, a distinguished lawyer in St. Louis for almost four decades, passed away on April 21, 2012. He was 65 years of age. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Jeanette Wamser.

Jerry was the valedictorian of Affton High School class of 1964. He was a National Merit Scholar and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Political Science. After undergraduate school, he served in the U.S. Army with service in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. While servings as a First Lieutenant in Vietnam, he was a War Advisor to the 23d Vietnamese Infantry Division where he was awarded two Bronze Stars.

When he returned from service, Jerry went to law school at Washington University. While there, he was a member of the Law Review, Order of the Coif and graduated in 1973. He practiced law in St. Louis for almost 40 years.

Among his numerous professional achievements was his 1981 campaign as the Republican Candidate for Mayor of the City of St. Louis. Although he did not win, his love of politics and “Good Government” led him to be appointed by two successive governors to two terms as Chairman of the City of St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. As Chairman, he worked tirelessly to combat voter fraud and ensure free and fair elections in the City of St. Louis.

Jerry’s public service continued all of his life. He volunteered until his death for the Salvation Army. He was a current member of the Regional Salvation Army Board and the Chairman of the Salvation Army Gateway Citadel Corps Center Advisory Council. As chairman and board member, he helped lead efforts to renovate the Corps Center. Jerry was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Fontbonne University (Jeanette’s alma mater) from 1989-1998. He was a member of the Downtown Lions Club in the ’70s. Jerry also helped raise funds for the United Way, Greater St. Louis Area Boy Scouts, and numerous other charitable organizations. Service to others defined Jerry Wamser.

Jerry Wamser was an extraordinary husband, colleague, mentor, and friend. He left his mark on scores of people all over the world and exemplified service over self. If there was ever a man who most typified the fictional character of George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” it was Jerry Wamser. Whenever asked how he was doing, he would reply, “Life is Good.” Yes, Life is Good and he leaves this world a better place.

A Memorial will be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at John L. Ziegengein & Sons located at 4830 Lemay Ferry Road.

Funeral Mass will tentatively be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church located at 6303 Nottingham Ave.

Interment with full military honors will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

20 April 2012

Where Will You Be Saturday and Sunday?

Click to enlarge

Friday Quick Hits...

...on a busy work day:

1.  Cardinal Burke is publishing a book on the Eucharist, Divine Love Made FleshThe St. Louis Review has the story.

2.  You can check out the most recent updates (though essentially we are all in the "treading water" stage) on the SSPX situation at Rorate Caeli.  There are several posts, but many are contained under the main entry here.

3.  If you haven't read Robert Hugh Benson's Oddsfish!, you are really missing something.  When it comes to his historical novels, in my opinion, it clocks Come Rack! Come Rope!, The King's Achievement, and By What Authority?, by a mile.

4.  By now you probably have heard that the CDF (still headed by outgoing Prefect Cardinal Levada) is "cracking down" on the (choose all that apply) communists/atheists/earth-worshippers/neo-pagans/feminists/lesbians/heretics over at the LCWR, the umbrella organization for the dead and dying modernist orders of women religious.  Maybe, maybe not.  But at least the Congregation is starting to call a spade a spade, as St. Guy pointed out to me in this excerpt from the assessment:

The doctrinal Assessment found that many of the materials prepared by the LCWR for these purposes (Occasional Papers, Systems Thinking Handbook) do not have a sufficient doctrinal foundation. These materials recommend strategies for dialogue, for example when sisters disagree about basic matters of Catholic faith or moral practice, but it is not clear whether this dialogue is directed towards reception of Church teaching. As a case in point, the Systems Thinking Handbook presents a situation in which sisters differ over whether the Eucharist should be at the center of a special community celebration since the celebration of Mass requires an ordained priest, something which some sisters find “objectionable.” According to the Systems Thinking Handbook this difficulty is rooted in differences at the level of belief, but also in different cognitive models (the “Western mind” as opposed to an “Organic mental model”). These models, rather than the teaching of the Church, are offered as tools for the resolution of the controversy of whether or not to celebrate Mass. Thus the Systems Thinking Handbook presents a neutral model of Congregational leadership that does not give due attention to the responsibility which Superiors are called to exercise, namely, leading sisters into a greater appreciation or integration of the truth of the Catholic faith.

I read on various websites' comboxes that this effort is a waste of time or, more often, "too late"-- and thus scorned by these commenters.  Well, you can't have it both ways.  Are they going to whine that the Vatican doesn't do anything, or whine that it is too little or too late?  Which is it?  I applaud any effort on the part of the CDF to do something to warn the Sisters themselves of their peril, to warn their supporters of the anti-Catholic theology of this group, and to stand up for Catholicism generally.

Recall, most importantly, that this is an act of mercy to the Sisters themselves.  Since heresy has doomed these groups to destruction and that the median age of the LCWR sister is 138, it is good that they think of their last end, and now.

All that being true, to me, the real key to this effort is the symmetry in which the CDF lets the modernists know that the SSPX isn't the only group that must be "vetted" in order to be considered "in full communion".  In fact, in the Cardinal's letter he actually states the need of the LCWR to implement an ecclesiology of communion.  This is the term that many, including Bishop Williamson, have noted as a novel expression of a concept of Catholicity that historically centers around orthodoxy in doctrine and obedience in practice.  The good news here is that the Holy Office is applying it to the leftist ladies' conference in precisely this fashion-- a matter of doctrine and obedience.  Yes, it is late in coming, but it would be far worse if it never came.

"My Name Is Not the Name of Him Who Damns: I Am Called Jesus."

Christ to St. Francis de Sales.

18 April 2012

17 April 2012

Tornielli Reports: SSPX Gives Positive Response to Rome, Reconciliation Nigh [UPDATE: Vatican Radio Release and Commentary]

I post this as an update, rather than an original post, because the source is the same and the combox discussion can continue.  Rorate posts this update:
of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"

The text of the response of His Excellency Bp. Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, requested during the meeting in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of March 16, 2012, was delivered on April 17, 2012. This text will be examined by the Dicastery and submitted afterwards to the judgment of the Holy Father.

 Father Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office, offers his comments:

"Today's news means that yesterday Bp. Fellay's response, that had been requested by Cardinal Levada at the last meeting, was delivered to the Congregation, to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Now, this response, it is a reponse that, according to the words of those who could see it, is a very different response from the previous one, and this is encouraging, we proceed forward. But, naturally, we also find in the response the addition of some details or integrations to the text of the doctrinal preamble that had been proposed by the Congregation for a doctrinal agreement, and this response will be discussed, it will be examined first by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in one of its meetings of the next few weeks and, afterwards, it will also naturally be examined directly by the Pope. It can be said that steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging, but there are still developments that will be made, and examined, and decisions that should be taken in the next few weeks. I think the wait will not be long because there is the desire to reach a conclusion in these discussions, in these contacts."
Original post follows:

I post this for the simple fact that the news, if true, is stupendous, and heralds the resolution of a tragedy more than 23 years in endurance. Rorate has the story, as usual. 

The canonical regularization of the Society is entirely a good thing, for all parties. This is not the moment to dredge up the wounds or to play the blame game. Nor is it wise to make bold predictions of a future that is in God's hands.

It is enough, more than enough, to be grateful to God. 

SSPX supporters, there is no need to worry that Bishop Fellay suddenly gave away the Sudetenland. He has been leading his group very well through a tough minefield. It is OK to be grateful to the Holy Father. He is not your enemy. Though much can be chalked up to the demands of justice in the SSPX's position, it is still a plain fact that the Pope has exhibited courage, mercy, and charity.

SSPX critics, don't make the mistake of thinking that this means that the SSPX was necessarily wrong in any question of doctrine. The consecrations of 1988 were not authorized, but that incident's books were closed when the excommunications were lifted earlier in this pontificate. No, in many areas the Society was exactly right. And if they did not go about some things the way you'd prefer, they were steadfast--and right-- about the Mass, the traditional sacramental forms, and the doctrines handed down from time immemorial. We don't know what better or worse fate would have followed a decision not to consecrate the four bishops in 1988, but there is much to be grateful to the Society for preserving what not many else were interested in preserving.

Humility is called for on both sides. It is the basis of true charity. 

So, a little long winded, but the gist of my post is this: thank Our Lord and His Mother, God bless the Pope and the Society, and may the whole Church benefit.

Bring Families Together: Catholic Travel Bingo

Summer time approaches again, and Catholic parents across America face the inevitable vacation-by-car.  Some parents love this time-honored tradition.  Some are forced into it by the natural aversion to TSA sexual assault of themselves and their children.  Some are forced into it by a simple mathematical calculation:  

if x =  one [un]reasonable airfare 
and y = number of children
then z = are you kidding me?

Whatever the cause, Catholic families will pile into their mini/maxi-vans and killer SUVs and hit the roads. 

When it comes to wiling away the long hours of driving, you should know this:  I have a deep disgust with the DVD entertainment system with which many of these vehicles are equipped.  I mean, is it so difficult or unpleasant to actually talk to our children that we have to shove a telescreen in front of their faces while driving?  If we can't handle interacting with our children for whatever time we spend in the car, then the terrorists have already won.

That being said, during the long drive, common activities can actually bring the family together.  After the family rosary, the first restroom break, the first are-we-there-yet-?, and the first threat to pull-this-car-over-right-now-!, Mom and Dad search for fun things to do.

In my youth, we had travel bingo, or auto bingo.  You know, find a speed limit sign, a cow, a railroad crossing, etc.  Bingo is Catholic enough, I guess, but what about a truly Catholic bingo game?  Worry no more.  You can center a fun bingo game around the summer vacation search for Mass at far away, unknown parishes.

For the Catholic devoted to the Extraordinary Form (they used to call this "Mass"), you can try to spell B-I-N-G-O by the places to which you have to drive out of the way in order to find the Extraordinary Form.  To be fair, this is somewhat less difficult since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.  

Formerly, you could create a Bingo game around the type of space where the Mass was celebrated, for example:  "B"asement, "I"ndian Reservation, "N"ursing Home, "G"arage, and "O"utside (as in outside a locked-to-trads Shrine).  Now you can mix it up by using city or town names.  Fun for all.

For the Ordinary Form attendee, an amusing variant of Bingo can be built around identifying liturgical novelties and/or bizarre Church architecture.  Mix it up a little.  Make it a points-based game.  

Consider these examples: "B"aptismal font:  award three points for a traditional font, 5 points for a big-enough-to-rehab-a-pulled-hamstring tub, and 10 points for a true Olympic-sized beauty.  Bonus points for waterfalls.

"I"ntroduction:  3 points if the priest just starts out with the Sign of the Cross and no ad libbing; 5 points for the intro-mini-homily to tell you "just what this Mass is all about"; and 10 points for the full-on invitation to shake hands with everyone around you and exchange email addresses.

"N"ave:  3 points for one that looks like a Catholic Church; 5 points for a gymnasium style devoid of art; and 10 points for a U.N. General Assembly style hall.  Bonus points for a church in the round.

"G"als:  3 points if there are none in the sanctuary; 5 points if there are altar girls, lectresses or EMHCs; 10 points for all of the above; and 100 points for a realistic stealth priestess with kung-fu grip.

"O"ur Father:  3 points if the congregation plays it straight; 5 points if a majority hold hands; 10 points if they do the "super-orans" at the protestant postscript.

These are just a few variants.  Have fun, be creative.  The possibilities are endless.

Have a great Summer vacation, everyone!

15 April 2012

Low Sunday

A Sunday by any other name, welcome to the Octave of Easter.

Congrats to the winners of the basketball tournament today at the Oratory-- and when I say "single elimination," I mean single elimination.  As in a one-game tourney.

But in any event, thetimman's progeny acquitted themselves pretty well.  

Happy Easter, everyone. See you tomorrow.

12 April 2012

Hoy es Jueves

No, jueves. And I am back from a tour of one of the finest holding facilities in mid-Missouri.  To the disappointment of some, I was, as they say in Monopoly, "just visiting".

By now you have likely read on other sites the news of Cardinal Burke's recent interview where he states the truth.  Wait, what?  Oh, of course, I should be more specific, since that describes pretty much every interview he gives.  I mean about the inability of Catholic employers to provide health care coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients for their employees.  Just in case, here is a link, and here is the money excerpt:

Q:  “So a Catholic Employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be,in a sense, cooperating with the sin… the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive that would abort a child, is this correct?”

Cardinal Burke: “This is correct. It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation” in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception but it is also “formal cooperation”because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

Let me ask you this question, and you can respond in the combox.  If you are a qualified moral theologian, or my spiritual director, I'll pretty much beg you to respond in the combox.

If a Catholic employer is fortunate enough to employ only Catholics at his enterprise, and all of them follow the Church's teachings regarding contraception and the like, does this employer need to worry about whether the plan covers contraception, etc., or not?  Does it matter simply that he knows no one will use the coverage, or can he seek agreements by employees not to use it?  Actually, Cardinal Burke, if you are reading, feel free to respond.  

While you're here, could you also respond to UCLX?

And now back to our scheduled programming...

April 15 also approaches, which is the mysterious "deadline" for the SSPX to respond to a communication listing (we think) problems (someone in) Rome has with the SSPX's previous response to the (so-called) doctrinal preamble to the rumored regularization of status (rumored to be) offered by Rome.  I think you can tell by the way I phrased this that I have no idea what is to be expected, except to pray for God's will to be done, as Bishop Fellay has asked.

Any second-time reader undoubtedly knows I am all in favor of regularization.  In fact, I think the Pope should just announce it-- he is the Pope, and not only does he not need the permission of any progressive bishop he does not need the permission of the SSPX itself.  What are they going to do, say,"We disagree?"  Sorry.  The Holy Father could simply announce a personal prelature, an ordinariate, an apostolic administration, whatever.  And a radical sanation of all marriages, absolutions, confirmations of any SSPX priest and, Voila!  But, since the process has taken us where it has, the Holy Father can, with his characteristic charitable generosity that has marked his efforts with the Society from the beginning, declare their response to be acceptable and do the deal.

As an aside, if he uses the occasion to elevate Monsignors Wach and/or Schmitz to the episcopacy, so much the better.

Rorate Caeli has a guest post by Come de Previgny, that gives one take on the matter.  One point I thought was nails considers guarding against unreasonable expectations of immediate victory over modernism the moment recognition takes place.  This is because the "conservatives", or those that oppose modernists (even a little) as a broad group of different types, are far from united:

A second illusion, it seems to me, comes from the fact that many souls believe, often in order to ease one's own family arguments, that all conservative forces will unite in order to transform the world. Reality once again brings us back to the ground, because these groups assemble, on one side, biritualists, for whom the new Mass is sacred, and, on the other, Traditionalists, who consider it dangerous. One man responsible for an Ecclesia Dei community told me once that he thought the Society of Saint Pius X included within it healthy members and dangerous elements... Harmony will take some time to be established, and the [opposing] paths of the Chartres's pilgrimages will keep crossing for some time.

In the past, I have written about the difficulties that so-called conservative novus ordo devotees and traditional Mass devotees have in relating to each other.  Every step along the way back to traditional Catholicism in the larger Church will force the conservative to look in the mirror, and the process will take time.  I am firmly convinced that, in the end, all of the "reform of the reform" proponents will come to the conclusion that this is just another way of inorganically manufacturing the liturgy, and is doomed to failure.

Finally, the wait continues on the CDF appointment.  

So much is at stake in the next few weeks, and so much could be gained or lost that it should prompt us all to fervent prayer.

Happy Easter to all of you.

10 April 2012

Appointment of New Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Expected Soon

This is the second most important post in the Church.  How to describe the situation?
For the longest time, Bishop Gerhard Müller of Regensburg was thought to be the leading candidate.
Now, it appears, Cardinal Burke's name is gaining traction.

Pray for the Holy Father and the Church even more in the next week.

"The World Misses this Newness": The True Renewal of Easter

Happy Easter Tuesday!  For those who missed the magnificent Mass at the Oratory, here is the Easter sermon of Canon Michael Wiener:

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, Alleluia
I arose, and am still with Thee, Alleluia. – The words of the introit express the very specific and unique character of the joy of Easter. As our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. pointed out, “the liturgy sees these as the first words spoken by the Son to the Father after his resurrection, after his return from the night of death into the world of the living.” 

These words of the introit are taken from Psalm 139: “If I ascend into heaven, you are there: if I descend into hell, you are present. If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: Even there also shall your hand lead me: and your right hand shall hold me.” 

The Church knows that the Savior spoke to us from the beginning and that all that happened in the history of salvation was foretold by the patriarchs and the prophets. 

On Passion Sunday Jesus told the Jews who accused Him of blasphemy: “Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see this day: he saw it and was glad.”

Christ Jesus was always one with God: His death as man did not affect the unique closeness and unity between Him and the Eternal Father. The unity between God the Father and His Son never ceased. Through the Incarnation - the union between divine and human nature in Christ’s divine person - the Son of man did rise from the dead after His shameful death on the Cross. 

The resurrection of Christ - through the reanimation of the body in the tomb by the soul of Christ on the morning of the third day after His death - is the confirmation that God has given us the newness of life forever. The liturgy celebrates this newness of life with visible signs: 

A new spark of light did light the Easter candle, fresh water was blessed in the baptismal font as the source of true and eternal life, and all hosts in the tabernacle of the main altar were only consecrated last night. The Church, Christ Himself, makes all things new on the day of the Resurrection. Divine grace makes things continuously new.

The world misses this newness, this freshness and rekindling of new life, but talks always continuously about new things, change and reform. Despite all talk about reform, change and new things only one source of true renewal continues to be visible among us: 

The Catholic Church celebrates the mysteries of our redemption in the liturgy throughout all centuries since Christ died for us on the Cross. Substantially unchanged but continuously offering her children the hands of a mother who gives life, nourishment and guidance, the Church alone is rooted in the timelessness of supernatural life. 

The pledge and seal of this newness of life in the Church is the resurrection of Christ: “The Catholic Church has survived one hundred crucifixions by one hundred resurrections” (Msgr. R. Knox). The vitality of the Church is visible at all times, but more so and especially today, on this glorious day of Easter.

Before Pontius Pilate had given into the demands of the crowd, he made a politically smart and unexpected gesture: He sent Jesus to Antipas, called Herod, the son of Herod the Great, a sign that he wanted to respect Herod’s jurisdiction. “And Herod and Pilate were made friends, that same day: for before they were enemies one to another.” The political maneuvering of Pilate did not bear good fruits, nor lasting ones: Pilate was recalled to Rome in shame, and within thirty years the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed.

On March 27, 2012 Archbishop Carlson said in Jefferson City on the occasion of the Rally for Religious Liberty:

“I am convinced that taking up the cross is the way to life. I am convinced that ‘before the cross there is no defense.’ I am convinced that Jesus won victory on the cross, and that he will win victory in us if we take up our cross and follow him.

Will you stand with me and say: Mr. President, we cannot comply with this Mandate. We WILL render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar; but we will NOT render unto Caesar what belongs to God.”

That which belongs to Caesar passes away; that which belongs to God never will. The strength of the Church is our strength if we faithfully participate in her life – that is in the life of Our Lord, Risen from the dead.

In participating in the divine life, the Church offers, we can find the strength and power to renew our lives. If we catch the hour of grace of this blessed Easter and make it our own, we will be able to enjoy a new spring and a new and real renovation of our natures. 

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, Alleluia

09 April 2012

Would You Like to Pray for Something?

Notes from the Bowl, Mob Morality Edition

I wish I had a more uplifting entry for the first news post of the Easter Season.  If you wonder about the answers to the following questions:

1.  What will it be like for Catholics on the probable, upcoming Catholic version of Kristallnacht in the U.S.?

2.  Is our moral fiber, as a nation, strong enough to weather another economic depression like the 1930s?

3.  Is the secular society better off without organized religion?

4.  Does our society, at heart, really respect human life?

5.  Are all of the civil liberties that we have been giving up/allowing to be taken really making us safer?--

then, click on the link below.  I post the link because you ought to be shocked; if you have been asleep until now, you may want to wake up.  DON'T click on the link if you are a minor or if you are easily upset.

Second Video Shows Brutal Gang Attack On Tourist Outside Baltimore Courthouse

08 April 2012

Easter Sunday

A very blessed Easter to all of you. Today was a perfect day to celebrate our Lord's victory, beginning with the sublimely beautiful Mass at the Oratory. The Mass setting was Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, with great orchestration and choir, and fantastic soloists.

Then, a beautiful day with family and friends. Great weather, great food, great conversation.

A nice little window into Heaven.

Christus surrexit, surrexit vere!

07 April 2012

Holy Saturday

At St. Francis de Sales Oratory: Confessions at 8pm, Easter Vigil Mass at 9pm. Blessing of Easter foods after Mass.

Easter Sunday Masses tomorrow at 8am and 10am.

06 April 2012

Good Friday

From The Liturgical Year: 

"Finally, after seeing him struck and spit upon, and after the cruel scourging and the frightful insult of the crown of thorns, we will follow our Jesus up Mount Calvary; we shall know where His sacred feet have trod by the Blood that marks the road. We shall have to make our way through the crowd, and, as we pass, we shall hear terrible imprecations uttered against our divine Master.

Having reached the place of execution, we shall behold this august Victim stripped of His garment, nailed to the cross, hoisted into the air, as if the better to expose Him to insult! We will draw near to the tree of life, that we may lose neither one drop of that Blood which flows for the cleansing of the world, nor one single word spoken, for its instruction, by our dying Jesus. 

We will compassionate His Mother, whose heart is pierced through with a sword of sorrow; we will stand close to her, when her Son, a few moments before His death, shall consign us to her fond care. After His three hours' agony, we will reverently watch His sacred Head bow down, and receive, with adoring love, His last breath." 

Popule meus, quid feci tibi, aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi. Quia eduxi te de terra Aegypti, parasti crucem Salvatori tuo. 

 --From the reproaches of Good Friday

05 April 2012

Holy Thursday

A blessed Triduum to all readers. St. Francis de Sales has confessions tonight at 5:30 pm, Solemn High Mass at 6:30 pm, followed by procession of the Blessed Sacrament and adoration until Midnight.

02 April 2012

The Practical Paradox of the SSPX: It Faces Discipline Only because It Respects Disciplinary Authority

I hope the title of this post was provocative enough to get you this far.  Now I ask you to read the post before reacting to the title.

Christopher Ferrara has recently written a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece on the April 15 (maybe) endgame involving the Society of St. Pius X and the Vatican.  It merits a full read, though I will publish excerpts with some of my own commentary here:
Not Sufficient?
The Vatican doesn't seem overly concerned about rifts, ruptures, or recomposition as to the legions of Catholics on every continent, including numerous bishops and priests, who no longer assent to any Church teaching that does not meet with their personal approval.  But the Society of St. Pius X? Now, that's another matter! Why?

Christopher A. Ferrara

On March 16, 2012 an unsigned communiqué from the Vatican Press Office advised that a secret “evaluation” of Bishop Fellay’s secret response to the secret “Doctrinal Preamble,” emanating from the secret proceedings of the Vatican-SSPX conferences, has determined (in secret) that the response is “not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems that are at the basis of the rift between the Holy See and the aforesaid Society.” Bishop Fellay was “invited to be so kind as to clarify his position so as to heal the existing rift, as Pope Benedict XVI wished.”

We still don’t know exactly what are the “doctrinal problems” in question or what formula would suffice to “clarify” them. That’s a secret. We do know that on the date the communiqué was issued Bishop Fellay met with Cardinal Levada and other officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—in secret, of course—to discuss healing the “rift” between the Society and the Holy See, for the purpose of “avoiding an ecclesial rupture with painful and incalculable consequences...” According to the Italian news agency AGI, during this meeting “a complete rupture was avoided by the Holy See, making it clear that Benedict XVI still expects a recomposition.” But while the rupture was avoided, the rift remains, and according to Vatican Radio “Bp. Fellay is invited to clarify his position, in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI, from now until April 15.”

So, it appears there is a deadline for healing the rift in order to avoid a rupture, by providing a clarification of doctrinal problems so that there can be a recomposition. Notice the curious avoidance of such traditional terminology as “schism,” “heresy,” “profession of faith,” and “return of the dissidents to the one true Church.” Indeed, I have been unable to locate anywhere a Vatican statement to the effect that SSPX espouses any doctrine that is contrary to the Faith or that its individual adherents are not Catholics in good standing (as opposed to the problem of SSPX’s formal “canonical mission” status). The word “schism” likewise no longer appears in Vatican announcements on the SSPX’s current standing.

No, this is simply a matter of providing—in secret—a clarification of the secretly discussed doctrinal problems relating to the Second Vatican Council. Then the rift would be healed, no rupture would occur, and “recomposition” would take place. There is no need for the rest of us to know the details. Actually, there really isn't a need for the rest of us to know the details.  Just as one can assume ill-will on the part of some of the hierarchy, one can also assume good-will on the part of others.  And unless one wishes to accuse the Pope of ill-will (and I don't think Ferrara does) then there may be very good reasons to be discreet about the process so armchair theologians like myself don't poison the well.

My admittedly cursory review of bulletins from the Vatican Press Office does not disclose such strange proceedings concerning any other individual Catholic or group of Catholics among the billion souls who belong to our Church in crisis. [...]

Nor does it appear that the Vatican is concerned about rifts, ruptures, or recomposition as to the legions of Catholics on every continent, including numerous bishops and priests, who no longer assent to any Church teaching that does not meet with their personal approval. We all know the obvious examples, such as the nearly universal disobedience of the infallible teaching on marriage and procreation. But consider also the refusal of the entire hierarchies of Italy and Germany to adopt the mandated corrections to the errant vernacular translations of the Novus Ordo Missae that plagued the Church for forty years before the Vatican finally ordered the corrections. Nuts to you, Pope!

Then there is that movement of priests in Austria, led by Cardinal Schönborn’s one-time vicar general, Helmut Schüller, which, as Sandro Magister reports, “has among its objectives... the abolition of clerical celibacy and the reintegration into priestly ministry of ‘married’ priests and their concubines.” ... The dissidents have issued a “Call to Disobedience,” [...]

[...] that “they will break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and remarried divorced Catholics or allowing lay people to preach and head parishes without a priest.” Schüller openly declares that “many priests are already quietly breaking the rules anyway, often with the knowledge of their bishops,[...] And schisms of this sort abound today.

...The Vatican does nothing, or next to nothing to punish it. But then, we have all heard the neo-Catholic line: Pope [fill in name] fears any direct confrontation with dissenters in the national hierarchies, lest he provoke schisms. Or is it rifts and ruptures?

As to the Society, however, oddly enough there is no fear of provoking a rift, a rupture, a schism, a whatever. They have been given until April 15 to clarify their doctrinal problems. Or else. Or else what? A re-excommunication of the four bishops? How could that be seen as anything but farcical, even by the mass media that have been agitating for the Society’s permanent ostracization in the name of the Council? A declaration of schism? On what grounds? The Society bishops have not even been accused of a refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff, but only a failure to provide a “sufficient” clarification of unspecified and secretly discussed doctrinal problems. The Society hastens to Rome whenever summoned to discuss the matter. How could its conduct possibly constitute schism?

This suggests a paradox: the Society is facing veiled threats of discipline precisely because it obeys and takes such threats seriously. This targeting of the Society reminds me of the rationale for waging war against Iraq in order to “fight terrorism”: the conquest of Iraq was an “achievable objective” even if there were not actually any Al Qaeda camps there. By crushing a petty dictatorship that would offer little resistance, America could pretend to be fighting “the evildoers.”

Perhaps after April 15 something not very pleasant will happen to the Society. Something secret. A heavy canonical mechanism might go bump in the night. Perhaps some sort of ultra-excommunication is being contemplated, as ludicrous as that would be. More likely, however, is that nothing at all will happen. The Vatican will simply go on deploring the rift that could become a rupture, when everyone knows the Society and its adherents are simply Catholics who are being made to jump through hoops that no one else in the history of the Church has ever had to jump through. [...]

But really: How is it that none of the notorious ringleaders of the now pandemic dissent from faith and morals have been summoned to the Vatican for talks to “clarify” their “doctrinal problems”? Why is it that not one of them has been given a deadline to “clarify his position, in order to be able to heal the existing rift”?

The answer lies in what all the dissidents have in common: they all adore Vatican II. Exactly. None of them has any “doctrinal problems” with the Council. Exactly.  Quite the contrary, the Council gives them transports of joy. They celebrate the Council as the Magna Carta of their liberation from Tradition. Exactly.  Their “doctrinal problems” concern only some aspect of what the Church constantly taught and believed before the Council. You know: defined dogmas, that sort of thing.

Whether the Council can fairly be characterized that way is not the point. The point is that the dissidents swarming all over the Church today perceive it that way and therefore accept it unreservedly. Thus, all of the (true, but beside the point) breath and ink spent on talking about how it isn't the Council itself but rather what the Council has been (mis-) interpreted to be that is the issue is just a colossal waste of energy.  It is the ultimate academic question.  We know what has happened since 1962 and we know what major event began the auto-demolition.  Hence there is no need for urgent invitations to the Vatican. Their response to the Council is quite “sufficient.” But the Society’s response to the Council is “not sufficient.” The Society must clarify its position respecting the unclear conciliar texts according to a “hermeneutic of continuity” to which the Pope constantly refers but which has never been provided.

The Council, the Council, the Council. The Council is all that matters. That is why the Society alone faces a deadline of April 15 to avoid an “ecclesial rupture with painful and incalculable consequences.” Evidently, from the Vatican’s perspective there is nothing painful or incalculable about the social apostasy of the Western world over which bishops and priests have been presiding since—well, since the Council. And now the bishops see that there are few left to go with them to the Colosseum built by the secular governments they aided and abetted for decades.

Permit me to suggest some matters that might more properly belong in the Vatican’s “not sufficient” file. Perhaps the Vatican authorities will establish some deadlines for addressing these matters[...]:

· “Not sufficient”: the faith of many millions of Catholics, including rebellious bishops and priests, who no longer care what the Popes or the Councils have taught perennially regarding matters of faith and morals on which they have made up their own minds to the contrary.

· “Not sufficient”: a Roman liturgy that, as the Pope said when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, has “collapsed” because of a “break in the history of the liturgy” whose “consequences could only be tragic.”

· “Not sufficient”: the Catholic hierarchy’s defense of “hard sayings” in the face of popular rejection of them, and its feeble-to-nonexistent witness against the soft tyranny of the modern nation-state, to which Churchmen have completely surrendered according to the program of “dialogue,” “ecumenism,” “religious liberty” and the “opening to the world” that Vatican II inaugurated—reflecting the “doctrinal problems” the Society has been called upon to “clarify.”

 · “Not sufficient”: the effort to rid the dioceses of homosexuals, heretics, heretical catechisms, and depraved “sex education” programs.

· “Not sufficient”: the absurd attempts to effect the “consecration of Russia” while deliberately failing to mention Russia, because Vatican bureaucrats think it imprudent to honor the request of the Virgin Most Prudent. Now, while I agree the Consecration should be done, this is a matter of private revelation just the same.  The biggest and most important private revelation ever, but private just the same.  I wouldn't put this on the same level as the liturgical destruction, for example.  As an aside, if you think the Consecration has been done, read Antonio Socci's "The Fourth Secret of Fatima".

· “Not sufficient”: an overall condition of the Church in which, after more than forty years of “conciliar renewal,” vast numbers of nominal Catholics exhibit what John Paul II described as “silent apostasy” and much of the hierarchy exhibits what Sister Lucia of Fatima called “diabolical disorientation.”

· “Not sufficient”: the Vatican’s disclosure of the Third Secret in 2000, which lacks the Virgin’s explanation of a vision as ambiguous as the documents of Vatican II. Hee, nicely put. Again, though a matter of private revelation, I agree.

And, finally, there is the Vatican’s entire approach to the Society of Saint Pius X. The Society should be regularized immediately—unilaterally and unconditionally, with permission to operate independently of bishops who are singing the praises of Vatican II as they close schools, suppress parishes, evade or defy Summorum Pontificum, cozy up to “gay Catholic” groups, administer the Blessed Sacrament to public heretics, and grin like fools as they throttle the life out of the Church.

Only a Catholic revival like the one produced by the independent, papally supported monasteries of Cluny can restore the Church now. The Society is poised to take a leading role in such a revival. To deny them that role solely in order to continue dickering over the ambiguities of a Council nobody seems to be able to clarify is not sufficient. I agree with the proposal of instant recognition of the SSPX, but they are not spotless in their conduct throughout this crisis.  A little humility in the face of criticism--even if much is unjust-- would go a long way.  Let us pray that the Pope will bring this ridiculous
spectacle to an end for the good of the Church and the world.  

I do not agree with Ferrara in every respect, nor do I think this is a comprehensive take on the subject.  But I do think it is impossible to deny that he makes some very good points, especially as it concerns disparate treatment and Rome's (so-far) unwillingness to define the boundaries of the "hermeneutic of continuity".  At some point, the line must be drawn between those who are Catholic in reality and those who merely wear the title to better effect the destruction of faith from within.  If Rome can countenance the presence of the majority of its own religious orders and the hierarchy within her bosom, it can countenance the Society.

Archbishop Carlson to the President: "We are ready to suffer for our convictions."

This is just a portion of the speech given by His Grace Robert Carlson, Archbishop of Saint Louis, at the Rally for Religious Liberty in Jefferson City.  Undoubtedly, he addresses a President who is quite willing to give us the opportunity to suffer as much as we can stand.

In case you have difficulty making out the audio, His Grace states: 

"We are ready to suffer for our convictions.  You can fine us, and we won't pay.  You can put me in jail-- I don't care.  But we will remain committed to the end to what our Lord has taught us, and what He has called us to do as His witnesses and disciples.  

"We have been here before.  

"Remember Rome, Mr. Obama, remember Rome."

It is good to hear such bold words.  May we all be willing to suffer for what is right, and to pray for the triumph of Christ which, though certain, is left to His good time.

Pray for the consecration of Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Holy Monday

Let them blush and be ashamed together, who rejoice at my evils: let them be clothed with shame and fear, who speak malignant things against me.

Psalm 34:26

01 April 2012

From Today's Procession

At St. Francis de Sales Oratory; thanks to SD for the photo.

Palm Sunday

O Jesus, what bitter tears You shed over the city which refused to recognize You!  And how many souls, like Jerusalem, go to perdition on account of their obstinate resistance to grace!  For them I pray with all my strength.  "My God, this is where Your power and mercy should be shown.  Oh! what a lofty grace I ask for, O true God, when I conjure You to love those who do not love You, to answer those who do not call to You, to give health to those who take pleasure in remaining sick!...  You say, O my Lord, that You have come to seek sinners.  Here, Lord, are the real sinners.  But, instead of seeing our blindness, O God, consider the precious Blood which Your Son shed for us.  Let Your mercy shine out in the midst of such great malice.  Do not forget, Lord, that we are Your creatures, and pour out on us Your goodness and mercy." (St. Teresa of Avila).

--From Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

Have a blessed Holy Week.  I will blog, though not perhaps often, this week until the Triduum.

For those interested, here is a link to a previous post on how to make crosses from your palm branches.