30 June 2012

Wherein I Hold a Q & A...

Hi, all.  It's me, Fem, with another guest post for thetimman, who is too busy playing "Mario & Sonic: Olympic Games" to bother posting.

Anyway, big news!  I’m a graduate!  I received my high school diploma and official transcript in the mail last weekend.  But I already miss it.  My high school was great.  Our football team was undefeated.  There was no dress code.  I was at the top -- and bottom -- of my class.  
That’s right.  I was homsechooled.  

Now before you say anything, let me warn you that I’ve heard pretty much every joke about homeschooling there is.  You’d be surprised at the number of weird comments I get.  You know how some mothers complain about people commenting on the size of their “carbon footprint”?  Well, homeschooled kids get weird remarks about the things they can’t experience because they don’t study in a room with thirty other kids for eight hours a day.  

When they discover I’m homeschooled, most people muster up a parting remark before backing away in horror.  “You mean... you don’t go to school?”

One memorable man asked, “So, do you live on a farm and, like, plow the fields every morning?”  

Some people, right?  I obviously have no time to plow the fields in the morning -- I’m busy making soap.  Duh.

So before you ask that burning question about my education, here are a few I’ve heard many, many, MANY times before:

Q:  Do you have any friends?
A:  Amazingly enough, yes.  Homeschoolers do go out in the “real world” and participate in activities.  There are co-ops, clubs, sports, and volunteer groups homeschoolers can join.  And there are other people you can talk to when this happens.  Homeschoolers do have friends.
Take me, for example.  My best friend’s name is Invisible Reagan. 

Q:  Do you freak out when you have to talk to people?  
A:  There is one such occasion that causes homeschoolers panic: when someone knocks at the front door.  There must be some urban homeschool legend about a monster who lurks outside front doors, trying to lure little homeschoolers to their doom.  

This is just my speculation.

All I know is that whenever the doorbell rings, my siblings and I automatically dive for cover.  You’d think the Gestapo was after us.  “Do you think he’s gone?  I have to go to the bathroom!”  “Are you crazy?!  He might still be there!”  “Pipe down!  He’ll hear you!”  “Guys, SHHH!!!!  You’re gonna get us killed!”  

When someone finally musters up the courage to peek oh-so-casually through the blinds ten minutes later, they announce, “All clear!  It was just the UPS guy!”  Then we emerge from underneath the couch and brush the dust bunnies off our clothes before finishing school.  

Girl Scout cookie season is an especially stressful time for us.  

Q:  So, do you have homework?
A:  Technically all the work I do is home-work.  Very clever, Mr. Smarty-Pants.

Q:  Do you have a prom?  
A:  I’ve seen prom pictures before.  I’ve seen enough photos with big hair, goofy clothes, and acne-covered faces to realize that prom is overrated.  Sure, it’s fun to spend all night with your friends, but who wants to blow hundreds of dollars on a high school dance?  Your kids will just make fun of your prom pictures anyway. 

Q:  Do you actually learn anything?
A:  I’ll admit, it is difficult to pry Mom away from “Days of Our Lives”, but on the days she’s lucid, we do manage to learn a thing or two.  

(Just kidding, Mom!)

Homeschooling, especially through high school, gives students the opportunity to learn independently.  I think it’s prepared me really well for college.  At the beginning of the year, you flip through the syllabus, plan your own school week, and get to work.  If you finish your week early, you can work ahead or spend that time learning about something you’re interested in.  You can read Plutarch’s Lives or The Story of a Soul.  You can make up your own chemistry lab or learn why the Federalists were always arguing with the Anti-Federalists.  

There is no teacher reminding you to turn in your papers, or to study for the big test next week.  It’s all up to the student to take a real interest in his education.  

Q:  Are you going to rebel once you go to college and do drugs and stuff?
A:  I’m not making this up.  I really do hear this one All. The. Time.  Let me just say that I have no plans to do drugs at the moment.  I’ll let you know if I change my mind.  

Well, that was fun!  If you have any other questions you’d like me to answer, or if you’re a homeschooler and want to share a funny remark you’ve received, leave a comment.  

Meanwhile, you’ll find me hiding in the closet.  I think I just heard the doorbell.  

-- Fem

29 June 2012

Unmasked at Last

Haunting your dreams...


This is only a test. Remain calm.
Like I said, a test.


Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Now I know that the Lord really has sent his Angel, and has delivered me out of the hands of Herod, and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.

-- from today's Introit

28 June 2012

I Just Discovered...

...that I am indeed the Clark Bar in the punch bowl of life.

How so?

I just came across the following post of a Facebook friend:

Saw on a church sign: "Life is a puzzle. Come inside to find the missing peace."
Suppressing my gag reflex, I noticed that three people already " liked" this, and that one other had this comment:

Whoa I love that! :) It's so true!

I couldn't help it, and replied:

That perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with the inescapable plague of the ubiquitous church sign "ministry."

My beloved eldest daughter, seeing this, quipped, "Just how many Facebook friends do you have?"

I'm thinking one fewer than I did before...

On the Lighter Side: What Justice Roberts is Doing for Summer Recess

Apparently, the Chief Justice arranged his own private flight out of D.C. And is helping to bring the precious benefits of forced contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization to Catholics across the country.

Two Takes from Breitbart to Get You Thinking

One for conspiracy types.

One for I-told-you-so types.

Another Way to Slice It: "Do as You're Told. Shut Up, Sit Down, or Pay a Tax

I don't often like to quote Chief Neocon (as Lew Rocwell calls him) Rush Limbaugh on political issues, but he hits very near the cream today. His most telling phrase, "people we hope mean it when they say they're going to repeal it," is the very Achilles heel of his position. From his website:

The Court Rules: Obamacre is the Largest Tax Increase in the History of the World

... And we, the American people, have just been deceived in ways that nobody contemplated. And what we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. What we have been told by the chief justice of the Supreme Court and four liberals on the court: Obamacare is just a massive tax increase. That's all it is. Obama lied to us about that. The Democrats lied. "It wasn't a tax. There was no way it was a tax."

The chief justice was hell-bent to find a way to make this law applicable, so he just decided, you know what, as a tax increase, it works, because there's no limit on the federal government's ability to tax. And it's right there in the preamble of the Constitution, right there, Article 1, Section 8, the general welfare clause, it's been established Congress can tax whatever, whoever, whenever, how much they want. Even when they don't ask for it, the Supreme Court is gonna find a way to make what they want to do legal because John Roberts said it's not our job here to forbid this. It's not our job to protect people from outcomes. It's not our job to determine whether it is right or wrong or any of that. We just get to look at it. We can't forbid this. This is what the elected representatives of the people want.

No, the elected representatives of the people were deceived. [...]The mandate's unconstitutional, but the court has decided it's a tax, and therefore it's okay.

[...]The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, said, "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." Not our job.

Well, what about when we are deceived? The court upheld a law that was not what we were told it would be. What has been upheld here is fraud, and the Internal Revenue Service has just become Barack Obama's domestic army. That is what we face now. We were deceived. Obamacare was a lie. It was a stealth tax on all Americans, and nobody knew it until today. Not officially. [...]

[...]It was a lie. We were all deceived. You can call it a tax; you can call it a fine. No matter. You can say it's a power of the Commerce Clause or not. No matter. What happened today is all that matters. And what happened today is that we were bludgeoned with a tax that requires us to do as the government mandates. We must do what they say.


The Supreme Court told us today that this is a tax. So our health insurance premiums essentially are a tax. There's no limit here! What if insurance companies want to tax us for not buying a new car? It is a stealth tax, and that's what it was all along. It's a massive behavior-modification program. Either behave as directed or suffer the loss of private property. If you don't buy what the government tells you to buy, you're going to be taxed. You're going to fined. So even without the Commerce Clause, the federal government can virtually dictate what we do with our so-called private property.

The administration and the Congress said, "No, it's not a tax!" Arguing before the court, they said, "No, it's not a tax!" Then a couple of whispers, "Yes, it is a tax." The chief justice says (paraphrased), "I can't forbid this. It's not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices. I gotta find a way. Congress wants this, so I gotta find a way to make it happen. Okay, we'll call it a tax, and that makes it perfectly legal." So today the sovereign nature of the individual wasn't just weakened; it was eviscerated.

Between the Arizona and Obamacare decisions, America is a very different concept than it was just a week ago.[...]

So now we look forward to November.

November is the chance to get rid of the people who did this, and then put in place people we hope mean it when they say they're going to repeal it. That's it, folks. That is all that remains. Because, as of today, the American government can and will seize your private property if you don't purchase and/or sell what's been ordered. It's really breathtaking, what happened today. And it is breathtaking to watch ignoramuses who don't really understand what happened celebrate it. We have been betrayed and deceived by Congress. We have been betrayed and deceived by the Supreme Court.

"Do as you're told! Shut up, sit down, or pay a tax."

From Eyewitnesses at the Scene of the Crime

"The case is easy and straightforward, however, in another respect. What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power—upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon the sovereign States. Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.

That clear principle carries the day here. The striking case of Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U. S. 111 (1942), which held that the economic activity of growing wheat, even for one’s own consumption, affected commerce sufficiently that it could be regulated, always has been regarded as the ne plus ultra of expansive Commerce Clause jurisprudence. To go beyond that, and to say the failure to grow wheat (which is not an economic activity, or any activity at all) nonetheless affects commerce and therefore can be federally regulated, is to make mere breathing in and out the basis for federal prescription and to extend federal power to virtually all human activity."


June 28, 2012: The Day the Law Died

Struck with past blows innumerable, sure, but passing away today.

They Hate Us for Our Freedoms

27 June 2012

Fr. Waldman's Chalice Recovered

Great news-- Fr. Waldman's chalice is back where it belongs. The Review has the story. I wonder if the Archbishop has to re-consecrate it.

The photo above is the chalice of St. Philip Neri, upon which Fr. Waldman's is modeled.

Meatless Friday Thursday: Adderall Edition

I just came across this Jim Goad article on TakiMag and enjoyed such a succinct, and devastating, take on force-feeding our children amphetamines. From the full piece:

Losing Interest in Attention Deficit Disorder

...Maybe because I’m crazy, I question the validity of all psychiatric diagnoses, but especially ones that result in millions of prescriptions for legal amphetamines. I arch my eyebrow even higher at the fact that tots as young as THREE can be prescribed Adderall to “cure” a “condition” that is diagnosed by means no more scientific than answering an old-fashioned questionnaire.

Suddenly, yes, this has my full attention.

An estimated one in ten American schoolchildren has been diagnosed with ADHD, an “illness” that miraculously didn’t exist until it was formally enshrined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987. As a result of the new illness and all the new diagnoses, kids are being showered with Ritalin and Adderall as if Skittles and M&Ms were raining from the sky.

Then, almost as if by coincidence, it was “discovered” that adults weren’t paying attention either, so the nice men in the white coats let them have speed, too. All the speed they wanted. Verily, and so the office workers, the door-to-door salesmen, and the college students throughout the valley all took speed, and yea, it was good.

No one seemed to pay attention to the fact that this might become a problem.

The main problem is that these “diseases” are not caused by germs or viruses or, as far as it seems, anything remotely resembling indisputable chemical or brain-scan evidence. This is nothing more than speculation that diseases exist based on the act of describing common symptoms.

OK, I saw one brain-scan study where the ADHD kids had smaller brain areas than the normal kids, but it was later revealed that—ta da!—it may have been caused by the fact that these kids had already been on Ritalin for years. So there’s possibly some confusion about cause and effect there.

So I’m not convinced that “ADD” and “ADHD” are anything more than ideas. At least that’s how it seems to me at the moment. I can be persuaded otherwise, but you’ll have to be very, you know, persuasive. I suspect that what is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is actually Teacher Charisma Deficit Disorder.


If you had told me thirty years ago that they’d be prescribing amphetamines to kindergarteners who acted up in class, I would have said you’re crazy. Now that they’re actually doing it, I say the world’s crazy.

Suddenly everyone’s depressed. Suddenly everyone’s anxious. Suddenly everyone’s distracted. And suddenly there are pills for all of it.


During grade school, I was told the reason I acted up in class was because I was smart and found the subject matter they were teaching to be boring. Even at six years old, that alibi didn’t ring true with me. I wasn’t paying attention to the teachers because they weren’t very interesting. But aside from a few detentions, the worst I got out of it was an “F” grade in Conduct one semester. These days they’d diagnose me with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and herd me onto the Kiddie Cattle Car of the American Speed Train.

There’s no better time to question authority than when they make the very act of questioning authority into a mental disorder.

Sometimes boys are made to misbehave, and it’s healthier to let ’em do it. At least it’s better than if in some misguided attempt to make them behave, you create a prematurely burned-out tweaker in the process. Right now, I’m happy it’s just me, my unbroken restless spirit, and my coffee.


Not my sentiments, but I did understand this declaration by someone who was reacting to the behavior of the Attorney General in sending weapons to Mexican cartels that ended up being used to kill Americans, and then stonewalling Congress about the operation:

"I am so [upset] that I will, repeat, will be voting for that Mormon robot plutocrat in November."

26 June 2012

Did You Miss That? Swine Flu "Pandemic" of 2009 Claimed 284,500 Lives

Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA! Hee hee!


I dunno. Maybe it's like layaway, and the lives will be claimed much later. Here's the "scoop":

Swine flu likely claimed quarter of a million lives: study

(AFP) – 16 hours ago

PARIS — The A(H1N1) "swine flu" 2009 pandemic probably claimed over a quarter of a million lives -- 15 times more than the 18,500 reported, a paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal said Tuesday.

The elevated toll underlined the need for better planning and vaccine distribution, said a team of epidemiologists and physicians who made a statistical model based on population and infection estimates to present what they believe is a more accurate picture of the pandemic's reach.


Some 18,500 deaths had been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from confirmed laboratory test results, but the international researchers believe this number to be a gross underestimation.

They wrote that "... diagnostic specimens are not always obtained from people who die with influenza and the viruses might no longer be detectable by the time of death in some people."

The team estimated there were 284,500 deaths from swine flu in the 12 months from April 2009. But the figure may be as high as 575,400, they said.[...]

Now the flu geniuses want you to remember that you should be scared 100% of the time. So, from the same folks who brought you global warming climate change, here is the money quote:

Between 250,000 and 500,000 people die of seasonal influenza every year, according to the WHO.

So rush out and pump yourselves and your children full of the latest untested vaccines!

25 June 2012

Thief Steals Chalice from SS. Joachim and Ann

STLToday has the story of the theft of Fr. Noah Waldman's chalice. Still can't spend money in hell, from what I've been told. Pray for a conversion of heart of this thief, and a return of this good young priest's chalice:

ST. PETERS • St. Peters police are looking for whoever is responsible for burglarizing Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, where officials discovered a chalice, valued at about $6,000, missing.

Also, a set of golf clubs was stolen from the rectory garage and offering boxes were broken into, with an unknown amount of money missing.

The chalice was described as a solid silver goblet covered in gold with the inscription: "NOE ANDREAS PHILLIPPS WALDMAN / SACERDOS FACTVS DIE XXIV MAII MMVII."
Church officials believe the burglary happened between June 13 and June 17.

Anyone with information about the stolen chalice is asked to call St. Peters Police Detective David Beckman at 636-278-2244 ext. 3530.

24 June 2012

A Lifetime of Long Goodbyes

A tough weekend winds down at last. Our beloved Rector, Canon Michael Wiener, went back to Europe to continue his treatment for lymphoma. He will be stationed in Bayerisch Gmain, along with Canon Karl Lenhardt, which makes Bavaria the official "retirement" spot of SFdS Rectors. Thanks to Mother Crab for the photo.

Lots of other friends are leaving town, or have recently left.

It seems to me that God will bring wonderful people into our lives, to lead us to Him-- and as soon as we rely on them more than on Him, He takes them out of our lives. In the end, He will be our only comfort, and in Him we have everything.

In this world, though, the goodbyes are still hard.

In 2008, I ran this piece by a member of the Institute's apostolate in Oakland, who expressed her thoughts on Canon Wiener as he left Oakland for St. Louis. It is a good time to read it again.

22 June 2012

Happy Birthday!

To my own effervescent little flower, MGG, who turns 12 today. I love you!

21 June 2012

Assuming This Is Addressed to the LCWR Assembly, I'm OK with It

Story here.

To Sharon

Fortnight for Freedom Kicks Off Today

Today begins the two-week (if you haven't read Shakespeare, that's a fortnight) effort of the U.S. Bishops to keep the heat on the administration to back off its death-mandate in the so-called "healthcare" plan. Archbishop Carlson is very much in the front of this very worthy campaign. As part of this program, he has called on parishes to set aside this weekend to focus on the issue. The St. Louis Review has an article.

I always love to read USA Today for hard-hitting news delivered in a highbrow style, so for your amusement I link to its story here. They sure are worried about the sinister question of "just who is funding this campaign?", though wondering who funds the other side of the issue does not occur to it.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court, set to recess next Thursday until the first Monday in October, will put an end to this most unconstitutional of "laws" (perhaps as early as today), and turn this fortnight into a victory lap. Though one thing no Catholic should ever do is to put trust in that Court, I will say.

Because nothing in this vale of tears is without stain (Our Blessed Mother excepted), pardon me as I point out two discordant notes about the USCCB, and Archdiocesan, plan, worthy as they are:

1. While the Archbishop has called on all Catholics to support the effort to repeal the contraception mandate, the LCWR will use its Annual Assembly in St. Louis just over a month from now to give a national platform to speakers like Jamie Manson, who wrote this about the bishops' campaign:

With its attacks on same-sex marriage, battle against providing adequate health care for women, hostile takeover of LCWR and inquisition into the Girl Scouts, the hierarchy continues to make itself an embarrassing media spectacle in a society that long ago refused to accept the teaching on birth control, believes in women's equality and increasingly supports same-sex marriage.

Even those who are not affected directly by these ideological battles find it odious that hierarchy is choosing to spend precious money and resources on lawsuits against the Obama administration and bizarre new campaigns like the Fortnight for Freedom.

[...]The hierarchy's refusal to acknowledge the crucial need for contraception globally as well as a priesthood that includes women and married persons is a clear sign of their continued isolation from the concerns of society.

Respectfully, this is a very mixed message. How will the faithful react to this call for shared advocacy on such a vital issue when the Archdiocese allows such a speaker at such a conference? Would it not serve the effort better to speak with a clear and unambiguous voice as the Catholic community? Why would the LCWR get away with rubbing its agenda in face of the Archbishop-- especially so soon as this?

2. Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with the theme of the effort being a call for "religious liberty?". The very first sentence on the Archdiocesan campaign page states, "Religious liberty is our first, most cherished freedom."

That term can mean lots of different things, and we all know of doctrinal wars over its meaning. Of course, we can assume that, in this campaign, it refers to the "free exercise of religion" clause in the First Amendment, or possibly to the liberty of the Catholic Church in the sphere of religion and morals. Fine, but strictly defined the term could be taken in a non-Catholic sense, that error has rights in an absolute sense. It is an old and recurring issue in Church history.

Oh well. This is a quibble. The Bishops' effort is a good one, and well-done at that. And that includes the effort in St. Louis. Keep up the pressure on politicians as though everything depended on it, and pray as though a miracle is needed instead. After this fortnight is past, we can put that pressure on the LCWR assembly.

This Mortal Form Grows Weak. I Require Sustenance!

20 June 2012

LCWR Annual Assembly in St. Louis: Still Waiting

Still waiting for what, you ask?

Well, let's start with the canonically-appropriate: forbidding the meeting, with an interdict against those who attend, after a public warning about this meeting of manifest public heretics claiming to be Catholic. See Canon 1373 (though 1374 really describes the LCWR in practical reality). And how about Canons 1365 and 1369? And this is just on first blush. I'm sure that the great Unknown Canon Lawyer X could draft several thorough decrees.

Since that doesn't seem realistic, what else? The Archbishop could forbid the Assembly from taking place. As the local Ordinary, he has the authority to do so. Perhaps this would merely be a theoretical remedy as well, as the earth worshipers seem to obey no one but themselves Gaia. But at least it would send the unmistakably clear message that this den of vipers does not have the blessing of Holy Mother Church.

Moving on, I'm still waiting to read a notice in the Archdiocesan paper of record, warning the faithful of the theological and moral dangers of taking part in it, or attending its sessions.

And, finally, we can only pray that priests and employees of the Archdiocese will be forbidden to participate in, attend, or even (God forbid) speak at this assembly of abomination.

Why is the assembly an abomination? The wacky New Age heresies of the keynote speaker have already made the Catholic press. If you didn't catch that scandal, read about her on her website. WARNING: creepy and weird, yet comical. This is the womyn that the LCWR prefers over the Holy See.

But let's take a quick look at another speaker-- you could do so at random, really, and get the same type-- Jamie Manson of the "National" "Catholic" "Reporter". She is an apologist for sexual deviancy in the form of the usual call of leftists to ignore the tenets of Natural Law. She is also aces on dissent-mongering. Here are two recent articles of hers in the NCR:

LCWR: A Radical Obedience to the Voice of God in Our Time

Is the Roman Catholic Church Downsizing into a Sect?

Enjoy those. I'll wait.

You're back? OK.

So this is the circus that's coming to town, right here in St. Louis. Where is the effort on any official level to counteract it? Where is the outcry? In this time of turmoil, when there is so much open and secret disobedience to the Holy Father, may we not ask what we can do to uphold the faith, to defend the Church?

The faithful will rally to the Church and her pastors every time she asserts her true authority. The momentum, small as it is, of the bishops in the campaign against coerced contraception needs to continue. Doctrine within the Church is directly related to the strength or weakness of the Church's position in secular matters. Catholics look for leadership on matters of faith, too.

The LCWR Assembly begins August 7, 2012.

Still waiting...

P.S. That creepy, alien-inspired graphic, above, is the very one the earthsisters use to promote the
coven convocation.

19 June 2012

For My Novus Ordo Readers

As a service to you, I just had to post on a new development that may make you want to move to North County.
As announced in the Review, the Archbishop has appointed Fr. Eric Kunz as Associate Pastor of St. Angela Merici Parish, where he will assist Fr. Thomas Keller. It is all too rare to have two such faithful, orthodox, liturgically sound priests in a parish these days.

Of course, such a blessed situation demands that I bestow upon them the proverbial kiss of death by commenting favorably about them in this space. Sorry!

But, while it lasts-- and if you prefer the so-called Ordinary Form (why is that again, btw?)-- enjoy the ride. Tell your lapsed friends at St. Angela that they should "come home," as the marketing department says.

And pray for our priests!

18 June 2012

Novena to the Infant of Prague

Divine Infant Jesus, I have recourse to Thee. Please, through Thy Blessed Mother, assist me in this necessity ...mention intention..., because I firmly believe that Thy Divinity can help me. I hope with confidence to obtain Thy holy grace. I love Thee with all my heart and with all the strength of my soul. I repent sincerely of my sins and I beg Thee, O Good Jesus, to grant me the strength to triumph over them. I resolve never more to offend Thee and I come to offer myself to Thee with the intention of enduring everything rather than to displease Thee. Henceforth, I desire to serve Thee with fidelity and, for the love of Thee, O Divine Infant, I will love my neighbor as myself.

All-powerful Infant, O Jesus, I implore Thee again, assist me in this need. Grant me the grace of possessing Thee eternally with Mary and Joseph and of adoring Thee with the angels in the Heavenly Court. Amen.

-- para una intención especial

In Anticipation of the LCWR Assembly in St. Louis

Consider these excerpts from today's Mass of St. Ephrem.  First, from the Epistle:

For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

and from the Gospel:

Jesus said to His disciples, You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more, but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

Just sayin'.

15 June 2012

Not Exactly News, but...

...I love Cardinal Burke.

Solemn Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

I give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart.
This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.

I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.
Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God the Father, and turn away from me the strokes of his righteous anger.

O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in You, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Your goodness and bounty.

Remove from me all that can displease You or resist Your holy will; let Your pure love imprint Your image so deeply upon my heart, that I shall never be able to forget You or to be separated from You.

May I obtain from all Your loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Your Heart, for in You I desire to place all my happiness and glory, living and dying in bondage to You. Amen.

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A blessed feast day to everyone, from a conference room in Nashville.

14 June 2012

This Is Not Catholic

I offer this one in the ongoing SSPX negotiation turmoil.  In the midst of the meeting of Bishop Fellay with the CDF yesterday, Rorate Caeli published a translation of a French periodical's interview with one of the four SSPX bishops, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais.  This interview was presented to show the gulf in opinions between Bishop Fellay, the Superior General, on the one hand (pro-reconciliation) and Bishops Tissier de Mallerais, Gallareta, and Williamson on the other (not-so-much).

However, what struck me forcibly was something much more serious.  And though the Bishop knows more about the political situation than I do, I will not shrink from stating that his interview evidences an attitude that cannot be described as Catholic.   This is just an excerpt, and to prevent this being taken out of context in your minds, please read the whole post, above:

RIVAROL: The imminent "reintegration" of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) within the "official Church" is mentioned widely. What is it exactly? 

Bp. TISSIER de MALLERAIS : “Reintegration”: the word is false. The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has never left the Church. It is in the heart of the Church. There where the authentic preaching of the faith is, there is the Church. This project of "officialization" of the SSPX leaves me indifferent. We have no need of it, and the Church has no need of it. We are already on the pinnacle, as a sign of contradiction, that attracts those noble souls, that attract lots of young priests, despite our pariah status. One would wish to place our lamp under the bushel for our integration in the Conciliar world. This status that is proposed to us, of a personal prelature, analogous to that of Opus Dei, is a status for a state of peace. But we are currently in a state of war in the Church. It would be a contradiction to wish to "regularize the war".

R. : But some in the Society of Saint Pius X think that it would be in fact a good thing. Are you not bothered by this "irregular" situation?

Bp. T.: The irregularity is not ours. It is that of Rome. A Modernist Rome. A Liberal Rome that has renounced Christ the King. A Rome that had been condemned in advance by all Popes up until the eve of the [Second Vatican] Council. On the other hand, the experience of the priestly societies that have joined current Rome is that all, the ones after the others, included Campos and the Good Shepherd, have been constrained to accept the Vatican II Council. And we know what has become of Bp. Rifan, of Campos, who now has no objection to celebrating the new mass and who has forbidden his priests from criticizing the Council!

His Excellency, like some others in this camp of the Society, takes the position that it is not the SSPX who needs to reconcile to the Church, but "Modernist Rome" that needs to convert to the Church.  However, in this analogy, the Church can only mean the SSPX.  As in, the SSPX has the faith, Rome doesn't, so "Rome" better convert, and then we can let them join us.  And this is not Catholic.  Not only that, but it shows that there is no way in the actual world of facts that he or the other two opposition bishops would consent to be reconciled with the Holy Father.

Christ founded one Church, the Catholic Church.  It is a visible Church, with a visible head.  Christ made Peter, a real man in time, and his successors, real men in time, the principle of unity.  Yes, Catholics must believe dogmas and doctrines to be Catholic.  But it is unity with Peter that is the sign and certitude of being Catholic.  You don't like this system?  Neither did Luther, neither did the schismatic East, neither does any Protestant with his Bible and self-assumed infallibility.

Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, makes some accurate points.  Yes, there are many in Rome who do not hold to the faith.  Yes, the Church since the council is a mess, temporally speaking.  Yes, there is a "risk" in working within the structure of the Church.  Tell me about it.  Yes, the Council is cited by many as an excuse to hold heretical opinions. But that doesn't make those persons right.  What matters is this:  is Pope Benedict the XVI teaching heresy, is he the Pope or not?

In the end, however the Bishop wants to spin it, if he really means what he says, he is a de facto sedevacantist.  In other words, he acts in that the chair of Peter is empty, because a Pope who is a public heretic (according to some theologians) loses his office.  It is a dangerous charge and one beyond any man's pay grade.  But if he believes it, say and have done.  Just like a heretical LCWR nun-theologian, Pope Benedict need not be obeyed in a matter in which he has authority, if he is Pope.

This whole idea of "Rome"-- and if that is not "the Church", then what is it?-- needing to "convert" before the good bishop will condescend to join it is a position that should not be held by a Catholic.  And if it meant something else, what does it mean?  This is merely an excuse, and a clear sign that there is NO WAY the three will consent to any agreement.  The excommunications don't exist.  The traditional Mass is their right, and every priest's right, to celebrate.  They needn't celebrate the new Mass.  They can do everything they are doing and will have their suspensions lifted.  What is the problem?  That the Pope will appoint future Bishops?  Isn't that how the Church works?  That (assuming a prelature) Bishops of dioceses where the SSPX does not currently have a house will have a say on whether they can put one there? Isn't that how the Church works?  That there is a danger of compromising the faith?  Doesn't everyone run that danger every single day in this vale of tears?

What will suffice?  They will come in only when every Catholic signs a petition and admits the SSPX was right all along?  They will only come in when every bishop, priest and layman is perfect?  Would they come in even if that happened?

The time has come to declare ourselves.  Are we Catholics or not?

God's providence has put Bishop Fellay in charge of the Society at this time.  The reasons for the dispute have been removed, one by one, and thank God that Bishop Fellay can see it.  Once the SSPX receives faculties and pontifical right, they are in a strong position of unquestioned legitimacy.  And those who wait for the Pope to "convert", let them wait on.

13 June 2012

Big Day for the SSPX?

Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli is reporting that the response of the Holy Father to Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, concerning the famous and secret doctrinal preamble that, if agreed to by Msgr. Fellay, will reconcile and regularize the SSPX.  Due to the making public of the internal (apparent) disagreement among the SSPX bishops, the Holy See announces that the other three bishops will be dealt with separately.

And, in an update, it appears that Bishop Fellay has met in person with the CDF in Rome today.  Pray for God's will to be done.

Rorate has the translation of the Tornielli piece and some analysis:

Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) will receive in the upcoming hours the papal response in Rome.* From Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli, writing for La Stampa - the excerpt below includes all new information:

After having studied with attention the text of the doctrinal preamble, with the modifications requested by the Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, Benedict XVI would have made his decision and had delivered it to Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and to the Secretary of the same Dicastery, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, during the audience granted to both last Saturday.

The text of the doctrinal declaration is a top secret, but it will be published - this was assured from the beginning - if an agreement between the Holy See and the Society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre is formalized. It is not possible to know, therefore, if modifications or clarifications were added to the text that Bishop Bernard Fellay had sent to Rome in mid-April and that the Cardinals had examined and discussed on May 15, in the Feria Quarta [Wednesday meeting] of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the upcoming hours, the papal response may be delivered to the Lefebvrian superior. It will be up to him to give final assent to the preamble. ...  If Fellay, after having received the Vatican response, signs the doctrinal declaration, the agreement will be officially announced.

In any event, the matter concerning the other three Lefebvrian bishops will remain open ... . Even if the Superior of the [Society of] Saint Pius X signs the doctrinal declaration, the positions of the three bishops will be examined individually by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

*[Update:] French religious news agency I.Media confirms the information that the Superior General is in Rome and adds the following (it is now 1430 in Rome):
The Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX), Bp. Bernard Fellay, was called to the Vatican to meet, in the afternoon of June 13, 2012, the officers of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), I.Media has learned. Following this meeting, the Prefect of this Dicastery, Cardinal William Levada, will deliver to the FSSPX authority the conclusions of Benedict XVI at the end of the discussions aiming at bringing the Society to full communion with Rome. [Via Le Salon Beige]

[1630 Rome - Update] From Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress:
Lombardi: Negotiations with the Society of Saint Pius X still in progress
Vatican City, 13.06.2012 (KAP) - The reintegration process between the Vatican and the "Society of St. Pius X" (SSPX) is, in the words of Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, "still underway". Currently, there is no information on a decision, he told "Kathpress" on Wednesday.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
St. Pius X, pray for us!

12 June 2012

Please Pray

Please if you can in your kindness pray for the full and speedy recovery of Canon Michael Wiener, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory. I did not want to post any specific requests earlier out of considerations of privacy, as there had been no public announcement. But our beloved spiritual father is undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

May God reward you for your prayers.

09 June 2012

The Time for Sundering Has Come

Well, that is a bit dramatic, but between the loony gal-heretics of the LCWR (coming to St. Louis this Summer, still waiting for excommunications there...) and these "Catholics" scandalized by a diaconal ordination ceremony conducted correctly according to ceremonial approved by the Church, I am torn between laughter and tears.

Talk about schism.  Perhaps the time has come to force a de jure decision that already has been made de facto.  Wouldn't a little clarity help?  Haven't we already reached the time to conclude that the dragnet has grabbed all it will grab?*

How long, O Lord?!


* Nope.  Not good enough.  I realize that I am not God.  In His good time, and praying for His mercy on us all, let us continue to suffer for souls.

08 June 2012

My Own Provincial Take on the Recent DICI Interview with Bishop Fellay

A little context is in order to prevent any misunderstanding on a potentially sensitive subject.  Regular readers will know this already, and may skip ahead.

I am a traditional Catholic who very much supports the work of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  This Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right was founded in 1990, two years after the cataclysmic episcopal consecrations and excommunications of 1988.  Two years after the failed attempt at an agreement between Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Lefebvre of the SSPX, two years after the founding of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which started as a group of former SSPX priests who broke off in response to the illicit consecrations.  Unlike the Fraternity, the Institute was not a break-off group of the SSPX, but rather formed independently of the drama of 1988.  The founders of the Institute were proteges of the late, great Cardinal Siri of Genoa, a Bishop near and dear to the hearts of traditional Catholics for many reasons.

In charitable moments, SSPX members and their supporters refer to the Institute, the Fraternity, and other such Vatican-approved groups of traditional Catholics as "Ecclesia Dei" communities, after the motu proprio of John Paul II in 1988 that, among other things, formed the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), to oversee the so-called "indult" for the traditional Mass (that was really not an indult at all, as was confirmed in 2007 in Summorum Pontificum-- but I digress).

With this in mind, DICI, the media-arm of the SSPX, published an interview with Bishop Fellay, the General Superior of the Society.  In it, His Excellency discusses the current situation.  As always, I am impressed by Bishop Fellay, who seems God-sent to lead the Society in this hour.  He is intelligent, thoughtful, and measured, as usual.  I strongly encourage everyone to read this interview here, as it gives news and real reason for hope.


There is just one thing, one discordant note, that I cannot let pass without comment.  Here it is:

DICI: Will there be a difference in your relations with the Ecclesia Dei communities? 

Bishop Fellay: The first difference will be that they will be obliged to stop treating us as schismatics.  As for future development, it is clear that some will draw closer to us, since they already approve of us discreetly;  some others, no.  Time will tell how Tradition will develop in this new situation.  We have great expectations for the traditional apostolate, just as some important personages in Rome do, and the Holy Father himself.  We have great hopes that Tradition will develop with our arrival.

Now, of course, I suppose there are some persons who support the Ecclesia Dei communities who may consider the SSPX to be in schism, despite the lifting of the excommunications by Rome, and even statements to the contrary by Vatican dicastery officials before then.  And I suppose that there are some persons who support the SSPX who consider the Ecclesia Dei communities to be traitors or sell-outs, or not traditional at all, despite the often heroic effort to preserve the ancient liturgy and Catholic doctrine in a spirit of humble submission to the Church's lawful pastors, without much support from those same pastors.

However, I personally know many, many people on both sides of this coin who who see the opposite groups as complementary, on-the-same-side-of-tradition, brothers-in-(spiritual)-arms who are two separate movements of the same great cause.  I will not venture to give percentages to those who view our counterparts positively, as opposed to negatively, and perhaps I am naive.  But I will say that most people I have met within the Vatican-approved groups, and most people I have talked with in the SSPX camp, take the positive view.  We have enough enemies without poking each other in the eye.

Furthermore, as any regular reader of this blog knows, I fully support the reconciliation already under way, and apparently so close to fulfillment, between the SSPX and Rome.  The Church would benefit by their unbesmirched status, and, just as importantly, so would they.  I often hear from SSPX supporters that "if it weren't for the SSPX (or Archbishop Lefebvre, or both), there wouldn't be any traditional Mass, any "indult", any Summorum Pontificum, any maintenance of Catholic tradition," etc.  Well, in a sense that is likely true, but it does leave a lot out of the equation, and also presumes a bit that can never be proven.  How do they know that, for instance?  It is a supposition.  

We can guess, but never know, what would have happened if Archbishop Lefebvre had not consecrated the bishops without permission. Who knows, but some greater thing would have happened?  Perhaps profound humility, and obedience to an inexplicable or even unjust prohibition, would have lead to a quicker resolution, or quicker restoration.  We simply cannot know.  Christ in Gethsemane submitted His will to that of the Father, though it cost Him everything.  And His disciples whom he accompanied on the way to Emmaus were scandalized at His apparent defeat.  But we know how that turned out.  I believe that those of the SSPX acted in good faith as they saw it.  I believe those of the traditional groups who disagreed also acted in good faith as they saw it.  If we are in the Fatima times, as I think likely, what better proof of the diabolical disorientation within the Church than that of brothers who ought to be natural allies but instead are estranged?

And here is one speculation that may not have occurred to SSPX supporters:  Perhaps one of the reasons why reconciliation is so close is due to the twenty year apostolate of these Ecclesia Dei groups, who provided an example to those within the official Church structure (and I mean Bishops and priests, as well as the faithful) that the Mass-- and the practice-- of tradition is nothing to fear and is even a draw to conversions and to vocations.   That it remains not just alive, but vital and relevant (and, as is obvious to anyone not on drugs, far superior to the Mass made by committee that was foisted on us in 1969).  Perhaps the fact that it scares the you-know-what out of liberal bishops, priests, "nuns" and laymen made it a very good thing to attract well-meaning Catholics beyond the reach of the SSPX?  Maybe, the very obedience-without-doctrinal-compromise of groups like the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest showed the hierarchy that such a situation was possible?  Scoff if you will, but I can make assumptions as well as anyone else.  What pull would the traditional Mass have had on the Church if no one "inside" the Church was actually celebrating it?  If it had been the sole property of the so-called "schismatics" of the SSPX?  I think to ask that question is to answer it.

And so, though I get the perfectly understandable "pride" (in the good sense) of the SSPX'er who says, hey, give us some credit for preserving the Mass of all ages, it must be noted that there is danger of Pride (in the bad sense) if by that one means that the SSPX saved the Mass in a fundamental sense, denying God's sovereignty, or even worse if the SSPX "saved" the Church.

Because, as Monsignor Wach often says, "We do not save the Church.  The Church saves us."

Along these lines, as I have written before, there is a great need for humility on all sides as we pray for a good understanding between the Holy Father and the SSPX.

The "traditional apostolate", as Bishop Fellay calls it, began in A.D. 33.  But even in its more recent form, it was carried on in many places since 1962, 1969, 1984, 1988, 1990, 2007, or whatever other date one may select.  The restoration of the Mass, the liturgy, the Sacraments, and the Church has only one author, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Maria, Mater Ecclesiae, ora pro nobis!

06 June 2012


Only a comedian would be allowed to get away with accurately describing the immorality and illogic of our domestic foreign policy.  Note for the sensitive, there is a slightly baudy phrase used within the video.

05 June 2012

Substitute "Blogger" for "Barber"...

...and my name for the barber's, and thus I offer this tribute to priests like Canon Michael Wiener of the ICRSS: 

Joe Pallavicino is my barber...

On Sunday mornings he loves to come to Solemn Mass and behold me standing at the high altar clad in the gorgeous vestments of a celebrant.  I shine amid a blaze of lights.  I am bowed at by respectful attendants in their flowing maniples and braided gowns.  I am showered with incense by graceful altar-boys.  I raise my hands majestically and speak aloud the beautiful phrases of the Latin prayers.  I burst into song and am answered from the distance by a triumphant organ and a full-throated choir.  I walk to and fro in an aura of mystery surrounded by golds and marbles, linens and flowers.  I gesticulate to the accompaniment of chimes.  One thousand pairs of eyes approve and interpret my every movement.  I raise this multitude to its feet when I go to read the Gospel.  I drop it on its knees with the paeans of the Sanctus.  I send it into a hush at the sacred moments of the Consecration.  I am the protagonist in the greatest drama that happens under the stars.  I am Joe Pallavicino's hero of heroes.  He has never met anyone in the world so wonderful as me.

On Monday morning it is quite different.  I walk into Pallavicino's barber-shop with all my glory gone from me.  I am the most nondescript-looking person imaginable.  I am dressed in somber black....

But Joe Pallavicino refuses to forget me as he saw me on Sunday.  My image in its moment of grandeur has been burned into his memory... 

--from Fish on Friday, by Fr. Leonard Feeney

PS-- Just ponder for a moment that this Mass, and this respect for the glory of the priesthood, was not confined to a microscopic number of parishes and oratories when Feeney wrote this book.  And this was barely a generation ago.

May Our Lord have pity on us and raise up more priests, and flocks, like those described above!

Pray for our priests!

04 June 2012

Eine Kleine Feeneymusik

Or, a little wisdom from Fr. Leonard Feeney, one of the great Catholic writers of the Twentieth Century, from his book, Fish on Friday.  This collection of short stories was written in 1934, when Fr. Feeney was very much in good standing with Holy Mother Church, and long before the unfortunate dust-up concerning Baptism of Desire led him into hot water (which, for the record, was cleared up before his death, and he died in the good graces of the Church).

I have had occasion to re-read this gem recently and, according to my usual practice, can't help but share a few excerpts here.  The first one seems to describe me to a T: 

I am given to superlatives.  I overstate things.  My friends have rebuked me for it.  I have tried to correct it.  But I haven't.  I can't.  I say "most" when I mean "much."  Without the words "tremendous," "wonderful," "amazing," and "astounding," my vocabulary would collapse.  I couldn't talk.  I couldn't think.  Megalomania is like a bad devil.  It can be driven out only by prayer and fasting.  And I have neglected to fast sufficiently. 

Here he is on the virtue of motherhood versus the vice of contraception: 

I sometimes think mothers get more pity than they require.  There is much talk lately about how difficult it is to bear a child and too little talk about how nice it is to have one.  Someone should put a stop to the considerable screaming being done by unmarried lecturers in the throes of giving birth to imaginary children on public platforms.  Motherhood is never honored by excessive talk about the heroics of pregnancy.  If babies were not worth the pains and confinements they cause, there would not have been a billion of them born in the last hundred years... 

Katie Zdrojefska [the protagonist of this particular short story] has never heard the reasons advanced for the restriction of families and would probably not comprehend them if they were explained to her.  She knows it is hard enough to be poor and have children.  She would think it unbearable to be poor and have none.  Fidelity to nature's laws has left her will unhampered by hesitancies, inhibitions and phobias.  Her body has become the instrument of a pure spirit able to melt every inch of it and make it maternal.  Her fruitfulness has never been outraged by drug-store deviltries and so there are no cross-purposes  in her nerves needing to be untangled by a psychiatrist.  Hither and thither she moves at her nursery tasks, bothered but not bored, tired but never in a tantrum, her children's chiefest plaything continually tugged at by the apron strings.  It is her way of learning that life is very good and God is very wonderful...

It must be obvious that this unlettered Polish woman is a splendidly civilized person and a most valuable member of society.  She is a minimum of annoyance to her neighbors and a minimum of expense to the state.  No high-salaried social scientist is required to adjust her to the simple problem of living... 

On Catholic humor and the joy of being Catholic: 

...one source of Catholic humor is human nature itself in the act of being transformed (with all its absurdities, stupidities, scruples and superstitions) into something serene and noble.  For a religion as universal as ours embraces all classes and patiently tolerates among its members even the most ridiculous types provided they be men of good-will.

But this is to take Catholic humor in its passive sense.  This is not what makes a Catholic laugh.  It is what makes him laughable.  I am anxious to discover, in some fashion or other, what is the inner secret of our joy and what it is that makes us laugh by ourselves and within ourselves, even when we are alone.

I am sure the reason lies in our knowing through the light of Faith paradoxes too magnificent to be contradictions.  And this is the secret not only of our mirth but of our sorrow as well.  There is an empty amusement and an empty sadness that come from a mere knowledge of life's contradictions.  But these are the portion of the skeptic and the stoic who seldom laugh and seldom weep.  But the Christian may look into a world of mystery in which all contradictions are reconciled even though paradoxes remain.  And the fruit of his wisdom is his gayety and his tears, for laughter and tears are safety valves of sanity and by these beautiful outlets the strain within our nature is relieved. 

And finally (for this post at least), this description of reasons for his close friendship with a Protestant minister: 

...I think the reason must be because we are a perfect complement one for the other.  He is a living example of what I should like to be in the way of nobility, sincerity, kindliness, and singleness of purpose.  I am definitely what he longs to be in the way of spiritual power.  He can forgive injuries, but I can forgive sins.  He can soothe the dying; I can anoint the dying.  The size of his Sunday congregation depends on the sun; mine on the Son of God.  His sermons are well written but his service is meaningless.  My sermons are very poorly written, but my service is the sublimest act of religious worship ever conceived.  He has two lovely children, but is title is "Mister."  I am homeless and childless but thousands of loving hearts call me "Father."  He outweighs me by fifteen pounds, but is sufficiently diminutive to be named "My Little Minister."  Ecce Sacerdos Magnus the choir sang on my ordination day, and, though I say it with shame and confusion, I do humbly avow they sang the very truth.