31 July 2012

The Beacon of Hope

Thanks to reader Phil for sending a link to this lovely write-up of Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, courtesy of the Catholic Nomad blog.

And please take the time to read the whole series of thoughtful and thought-provoking posts about her time documenting the Oratory beginning on this page. It is good to see the newness of the experience for those of us who are in danger of taking for granted so much beauty and holiness.

30 July 2012

The Comic Genius of Our Age?

The Lincoln War Crimes Trial

What might have happened with a bit of luck on July 3, 1863, by historian Clyde Wilson. The full "chapter" of this alternative history is here. Below are excerpts. Read the full piece if you can.

The Lincoln War Crimes Trial: A History Lesson

In the previous chapter we discussed the early stages of the North American War of Secession of 1861-63 as the minority Lincoln government attempted to suppress the legal secession of the Southern United States by military invasion. In this chapter we will discuss the conclusion of the war and some of its consequences.

In the spring of 1863 General R.E. Lee’s Confederate army crossed the Potomac for the second time in the hope of relieving devastated areas of the Confederacy and bringing the war to a successful conclusion.

For several weeks he maneuvered freely in Pennsylvania without encountering United States forces, which were under strict orders to protect the Lincoln government in Washington. The Confederates observed the rules of civilized warfare, despite the systematic atrocities that had already been visited upon civilians in the South by the Lincoln forces. Pennsylvanians worked peacefully in their fields as the ragged but confident Confederates marched by.

About the first of July, Lee found the US forces entrenched at Gettysburg, a town in Southern Pennsylvania. Though having superior numbers, "Honest Abe’s" armies were unable to initiate any forward movement. ("Honest Abe" was a name given to Lincoln by his early associates and later political enemies, for the same reason that the biggest boy in a class is called "Tiny.") Union morale was low. While there were many good men in the ranks who had volunteered to fight for the preservation of the American Union, there were also many unwilling conscripts and large numbers of foreigners who had been lured into the army by bounties and who were ignorant of the issues of the war and of American principles of liberty and self-government.

Among the better US soldiers there was much discontent over the recent illegal "Emancipation Proclamation," which in their view had changed the nature of the war, and over the dismissal of the popular General McClellan. Historians have often noted that, generally speaking, the best generals and soldiers in the "Union" armies were not supporters of the Republican Party or the Lincoln administration. Republicans and especially abolitionists tended to avoid military service in the war they had initiated.

After several days of probing attacks by Lee, the decisive breakthrough came on July 3, the eve of a day revered by lovers of liberty and self-government throughout the world. Pickett’s fresh division and Pettigrew’s seasoned veterans broke through the center of the Union line, its weakest point in terms of terrain. Military historians have noted the striking similarity between this attack and the French breaking of the Austrian center at the Battle of Solferino just four years before.

There were heavy casualties on both sides, but the ever-vigilant General Longstreet exploited the breakthrough and rolled up one wing of the union army. The other wing began retreating toward Washington to defend the government there. The noted Confederate cavalryman Stuart arrived at last and began to dog the retreat, which was made miserable by torrential rains and blistering heat.

Some US troops fought bravely, especially General Hancock, a Pennsylvanian, later President of the US, and Col. Joshua Chamberlain of Maine, later US ambassador to the Confederate States. But when the Democratic governors of New York and Illinois ordered their regiments to suspend fighting and return home, the remaining "Union" forces retreated to the inner defenses of the capital, ironically named for a great Virginian who was a relative of General Lee.

On Independence Day following the battle, former President Franklin Pierce addressed a cheering crowd at the capitol in Concord, New Hampshire. Pierce had never wavered in his support for the Constitution despite threats from the Lincoln government. The tide has turned, Pierce told the audience, and the Constitution and liberty of the Fathers would soon be restored in peace. (It should be pointed out that relatively new telegraph lines made communication almost instantaneous by 1863.)

Lincoln had always been careful to stay away from fighting, visiting his forces only in quiet periods, in contrast to President Davis who was often on the battlefield. Immediately upon receiving the news of Gettysburg, Lincoln wired General Grant, an undistinguished officer who had been trying unsuccessfully for months, with a large force, to capture the small Confederate garrison at Vicksburg on the Mississippi River. Grant was ordered to retreat at once into Tennessee and bring his army by rail to the defense of Washington. For reasons that have long been disputed by historians, Grant refused to carry out his order.


A small force left behind in Mississippi by Rosecrans was captured by Forrest. The commander of this force was one General Sherman. Among papers found with Sherman were plans from the Lincoln government for a war of terrorism to be waged systematically against women and children in the South. These included detailed instructions, with illustrations for the soldiers. Houses were to be pillaged and then burned, along with all farm buildings and tools and standing crops. Livestock was to be killed or carried away and food confiscated or destroyed.

Particular emphasis was laid on destructions of family heirlooms – pictures of dead loved ones, Bibles, wedding dresses, and pianos. There were also directions as to how to persuade, or coerce if persuasion failed, black servants into divulging the whereabouts of hidden valuables.

The revelation of these papers shocked the world and played a significant part in the later war crimes trail of Lincoln. Sherman had issued additional orders, urging his soldiers to "make the damned traitorous rebel women and children howl." At his trial later, Sherman defended himself. His actions had been called for, he said, because Americans had too much freedom and needed to be brought under obedience to government like Europeans. The trial of the United States vs. Sherman resulted in a famous precedent-setting verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Meanwhile, Lee waited outside Washington without attacking and the Confederate government renewed the offer made in 1861 and never answered, to negotiate all issues with the US in good faith, on principles of justice and equity. Many of the remaining Union soldiers slipped quietly away, consoling themselves with a popular song in the New York music halls, which went, "I ain’t gonna fight for Ole Abe no more, no more!"

There then occurred one of the extraordinary unexpected historical events, which brought about a dramatic shift in the situation. Lincoln attempted to escape Washington, as he entered, in disguise. He was taken prisoner by Colonel Mosby, a Confederate partisan who operated freely in northern Virginia. Very shortly after, Mosby’s men intercepted a band of assassins intent on killing Lincoln. It was soon revealed that Booth, a double agent, had been hired by the "Union" Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and certain Radical Republican leaders in Congress, to remove "Honest Abe" and make way for a military dictatorship under a reliable Republican.


Needless to say, the successful establishment of independence by the seceding States had far-reaching consequences, not only in North America, but throughout the world. The great American principle that governments rest upon the consent of the governed had been conspicuously vindicated.


President Vallandigham and the Democratic Congress of the US returned to Jeffersonian principles not only on the tariff but across the board. The debacle of the Lincoln administration and its corruption had provided all the evidence needed of the abuses and danger of centralized government. War contracting had showed up tremendous graft for political favorites. Expenditures were curtailed, corruption prosecuted (it was said at one point that every other Lincoln appointee was in jail or under indictment), and the national banking fraud dismantled. The corrupt and brutal Indian policy of Lincoln was terminated in favor of a return to the moderate Jeffersonian policy. To this is attributed the subsequent relative freedom of the US from Indian wars.

There remained one vexing problem. What to do with Lincoln, in comfortable confinement in Richmond, receiving every courtesy from his captors. Doubtless the failed President’s disappointment and sorrow were deepened when his son Robert, who had spent the war at Harvard, denounced Lincoln as a fraud and a failure and attempted to launch his own political career, and Mrs. Lincoln had to be confined to a mental asylum. (The indictment of Mrs. Lincoln for unauthorized expenditures from the White House accounts was quietly dropped.)

The fate of Lincoln became the subject of international interest. Count Bismarck of Prussia and the Czar of Russia called an international conference in support of Lincoln, which justified his actions on the grounds that legitimate governments must have the power to suppress rebellious subjects and provinces. Britain, France, and many of the smaller states of Europe countered with a declaration upholding the American doctrine that governments rest on the consent of the governed.

An idea that gained attention at the time was put forward by the Rev. Mr. Joseph Wilson, a Presbyterian minister in Augusta, Georgia. The peace-loving nations should establish a world government to punish aggressions such as those Lincoln had committed. After all, such offences were against all humanity and not just invaded peoples. The press soon reported that the idea had really come from the Rev. Wilson’s twelve-year old son, Woodrow. (Woodrow, who became a college president, was later noted for his fruitless lectures in favor of world government.)

Who did have jurisdiction over the numerous crimes? True, Lincoln had made unscrupulous war upon the Southern people in an attempt to suppress their freedom. But he had also, in so doing, violated the Constitution of the United States and caused great suffering to the citizens of the US. After mature consideration, Lincoln was turned over to the authorities of the US to be prosecuted in their courts. Ironically, the Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens, an old friend of Lincoln, volunteered for his defense team.

The list of indictments was long:

~Violation of the Constitution and his oath of office by invading and waging war against states that had legally and democratically withdrawn their consent from his government, inaugurating one of the cruelest wars in recent history.
~Subverting the duly constituted governments of states that had not left the Union, thereby subverting their constitution right to "republican form of government."
~Raising troops without the approval of Congress and expending funds without appropriation.
~Suspending the writ of habeas corpus and interfering with the press without due process, imprisoning thousands of citizens without charge or trial, and closing courts by military force where no hostilities were occurring.
~Corrupting the currency by manipulations and paper swindles unheard of in previous UShistory.
~Fraud and corruption by appointees and contractors with his knowledge and connivance.
~Continuing the war by raising ever-larger bodies of troops by conscription and hiring of foreign mercenaries and refusing to negotiate in good faith for an end to hostilities.
~Confiscation of millions of dollars of property by his agents in the South, especially cotton, without legal proceedings.
~Waging war against women and children and civilian property as the matter of policy (rather than as unavoidably incident to combat). (General Sherman and others were called to testify as to their operations and the source of their orders.)
Two questions widely discussed at the time could not be formulated into systematic charges against Lincoln. One was the huge number of deaths among the black population in the South as a result of forcible dislocation by "Union" forces. No accurate account was ever achieved, but the numbers ran into several hundred thousand persons who had died of disease, starvation, and exposure on the roads or in the army camps.

The second unpursued charge had to do with the deliberate starvation and murder of Confederate prisoners. When Lincoln was captured, the guards fled the camps where these prisoners had been confined. Many Northern citizens were willing to testify to the terrible conditions in the camps – exposure and starvation where food and medicine were readily available. One of the strongest impulses for the restoration of good feelings between the former compatriots of the North and South was the Christian aid and comfort given by many Northerners for the relief of these prisoners.

These atrocities could not be directly charged to Lincoln, though they were pursued against a number of lesser officers. Lincoln was charged with contributing to numerous deaths by being the first civilized authority to declare medicine a contraband of war and refusing the Confederate offer to allow Northern doctors to attend the Union prisoners in their hands.

The trial, long and complex, was held in the new US capital, Chicago. Eminent lawyers were engaged on both sides. A number of Radical Republican politicians, hoping to revive political careers, were eager to take the stand against their former president.

The impression that most observers had of Lincoln at the trial was that of a wily corporate lawyer and astute political animal and of a powerful but somewhat warped personality. His employment of specious arguments and false dilemmas, semantic maneuvers, and homely and sometimes bawdy anecdotes to divert attention from the prosecution’s points, became increasingly transparent as the weeks of the trial wore on.

The high point of the trial came when Lincoln, on the stand, avowed that though he now regretted much that had happened, everything had been according to God’s inscrutable will and he had acted only so that government of the people, by the people, and for the people should not perish from the earth. The courtroom erupted in guffaws, whistles, and howls of derision that went on for an hour.

Found guilty, the former leader’s sentence was suspended on condition that he never enter the territory of the United States again. His subsequent wanderings became the subject of a famous story and play, "The Man Without a Country," and were most notable for his collaboration with Karl Marx, whom he met in the British Museum Library, in the early Communist movement that was to have so great an impact on European history.

About the time the war crimes trial ended, General Lee was inaugurated as the second President of the Confederate States. Speaking by the statue of Washington on the capitol grounds at Richmond, he described the first recommendations he would send to Congress. The Southern people had been deeply moved by the loyalty and shared suffering of most of their black servant population during the war. It was time to fulfill the hopes of the Southern Founders of American liberty. He called for a plan that would provide freedom, at the age of maturity, along with land or training in a skilled trade, for all slaves born after a date to be set. The plan had already been approved by the clergy of all denominations in the Confederate States and by many other leading citizens. (It is to Lee’s farseeing wisdom that peaceful relations between white and black in the CSA have not been disrupted by the strife that has characterized other countries of the New World.)

In closing, Lee advised the people of the free Confederacy to put aside all malice and resentment, look forward to the future, and give thanks to the Almighty for his infinite mercy in vindicating to the world the great American principle that governments rest on the consent of the governed.

February 21, 2001

LCWR Assembly Still On (of Course), August 7-10

Millennium Hotel St. Louis
200 South 4th Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63102

O God, the heathens are come into Thine inheritance; they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit.

--from the Introit to today's Mass, the Commemoration of SS. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs.

27 July 2012

The First Piece of Good Episcopal Appointment News in a Long Time

Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone is tabbed as Archbishop of San Francisco.

Yep, he'll need our prayers.

Which Doesn't Belong and Why?

Answer in the combox.

Address of John XXIII to Open the Second Vatican Council

The opportuneness of holding the Council is, moreover, venerable brothers, another subject which it is useful to propose for your consideration. Namely, in order to render our Joy more complete, we wish to narrate before this great assembly our assessment of the happy circumstances under which the Ecumenical Council commences.

In the daily exercise of our pastoral office, we sometimes have to listen, much to our regret, to voices of persons who, though burning with zeal, are not endowed with too much sense of discretion or measure. In these modern times they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin. They say that our era, in comparison with past eras, is getting worse, and they behave as though they had learned nothing from history, which is, none the less, the teacher of life. They behave as though at the time of former Councils everything was a full triumph for the Christian idea and life and for proper religious liberty.

We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.

In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men's own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed toward the fulfilment of God's superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church.

26 July 2012

One Good Act as President

Lew Rockwell says it pretty well:

One of the Few Things Obama Did Right

He took the bust of war criminal Winston Churchill out of the oval office. The Romster wants to put it back.

Tradition for Tomorrow's New Site

I have been greatly remiss in posting on this, but the website for the restoration of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, Tradition for Tomorrow, has undergone a beautiful redesign.  

Check out the new blog for ongoing updates.  Lots of good information on the restoration effort, and a virtual tour of this stunning Church, too.

The image above is taken from the site-- a photo of the homeschool co-op's All Saints Day party, where the children are dressed up as their favorite saints.  Very cute, though you'll forgive me for thinking that four of the children are just slightly cuter than the rest.  

A group like that gives us hope that there will indeed, God willing, be Catholic Tradition for many more tomorrows.

...Dude Will Say It

Hard on the heels of his call for the SSPX General Chapter to oust Bishop Fellay, the episcopal car accident (in the sense that you just can't look away) Bishop Bernard Williamson speculates on false flag attacks at the London Olympics.

If he thinks it...

Not the Best Advertising, Perhaps

I drove by a local tuckpointing business on my way to work today, as I have for many years now, and only just noticed that it is located in a frame house, layered in vinyl siding.

25 July 2012

Feast of Santiago Matamoros

All Catholic hearts turn to Spain on this glorious feast day of St. James the Greater. Today let all of us, wherever we are, be spiritually united in the Sacred Heart in Santiago de Compostela.

Let our prayers be offered for, and in union with, the peregrinos arriving at the Cathedral today.

Happy feast day!

23 July 2012

Just Sayin'

In this political season, I might just vote for the first politician who appears in his TV ads with his sleeves all the way down, his tie on, and fully tied.

I enjoy Kabuki theater, but it gets old.

19 July 2012

The LCWR Opposes the Bishops on the Contraception Mandate. Do the Bishops Care?

When will we hear that the LCWR assembly in St. Louis has been condemned? I keep reading the Review and there is silence. Nothing but silence.

When will we hear that Catholics are warned to stay away from the LCWR assembly? I read the Archdiocesan website and see nothing.

When will we hear that the LCWR has been asked to take their assembly elsewhere? Anyone?

What about you? Hear any homilies against it?

We read and hear from these people about peace and justice. What is just or peaceful about murdering children?

So, helping several poor people to apply for government benefits gives these people license for heresy and scandal?


Statement of the SSPX General Chapter and One Blogger's Take

The following is the English translation (thanks to Rorate Caeli) of the joint statement of the Society of St. Pius X at the conclusion of its Extraordinary General Chapter.

It has been made public and sent to Rome as a response to the recent disturbance of the waters by the CDF. This is my own take, of course, but by "disturbance of the waters" I mean that it seems to me that to head off any reconciliation of the Society, as the Pope and Bishop Fellay have sought, some modernist elements in the Curia again revised the famous-though-unpublished Preamble that was to be signed by the SSPX and which was to be the precursor to canonical regularization by the Holy Father. This last-minute feint put Bishop Fellay in a very tight spot, as he seemed to be bringing the Society to this agreement by the force of his will, carrying along a large portion of his members who feared it (and many who welcomed it, to be sure).

Again, I stress that this is my opinion based on the record made public, the past history of the negotiations, and some (hopefully) reasonable speculation. If you disagree, I certainly get that; feel free to state your case in the combox.

How do we get to a situation where the Holy Father and the Head of the SSPX desire a reconciliation and have agreed to terms (at least general terms), yet are thwarted by the machinations of bishops and others who are below their authorities?

In any event, the elements of the SSPX who wait for "Rome to convert" (as if that were possible for a Catholic to seriously maintain) are delighted to bring out the "I-told-you-sos" and faithful Catholics inside and outside the Society are left to wonder when the Pope will ever enforce his will and authority given him by Christ.

This statement can be spun any way you like. It forebodes both reconciliation and continued resistance. After the situation clears, the victors will point to the language in it that supports one or the other. Initially, some will spin it as a negative, as all of the communications of the past few months have been undoubtedly pro-reconciliation. It is refreshing to read some parts of it that clearly state elements of our Catholic Faith (contrast that with your parish's RCIA program!).

This thing stands on a knife's edge. Prayer is needed:

As announced in the press communiqué of the Society of St. Pius X’s General House on July 14, 2012, the members of the General Chapter sent a common statement to Rome. It has been published today.

During the interview published at DICI on July 16, Bishop Bernard Fellay stated that this document was “the occasion to specify the (SSPX’s) road map insisting upon the conservation of the Society’s identity, the only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom”. “For,” he said, “doctrinal mutism is not the answer to this “silent apostasy”, which even John Paul II denounced already in 2003.”

At the conclusion of the General Chapter of the Society of St. Pius X, gathered together at the tomb of its venerated founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and united with its Superior General, the participants, bishops, superiors, and most senior members of the Society elevate to Heaven our heartfelt thanksgiving, grateful for the 42 years of marvelous Divine protection over our work, amidst a Church in crisis and a world which distances itself farther from God and His law with each passing day.

We wish to express our gratitude to each and every member of our Society: priests, brothers, sisters, third order members; to the religious communities close to us and also to our dear faithful, for their constant dedication and for their fervent prayers on the occasion of this Chapter, marked by frank exchanges of views and by a very fruitful common work. Every sacrifice and pain accepted with generosity has contributed to overcome the difficulties which the Society has encountered in recent times. We have recovered our profound unity in its essential mission: to preserve and defend the Catholic Faith, to form good priests, and to strive towards the restoration of Christendom. We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization. We have decided that, in that case, an extraordinary Chapter with deliberative vote will be convened beforehand.

We must never forget that the sanctification of the souls always starts within ourselves. It is the fruit of a faith which becomes vivifying and operating by the work of charity, according to the words of St. Paul: “For we can do nothing against the truth: but for the truth” (cf. II Cor., XIII, 8), and “as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it… that it should be holy and without blemish” (cf. Eph. V, 25 s.).

The Chapter believes that the paramount duty of the Society, in the service which it intends to offer to the Church, is to continue, with God’s help, to profess the Catholic Faith in all its purity and integrity, with a determination matching the intensity of the constant attacks to which this very Faith is subjected nowadays.

For this reason it seems opportune that we reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the unique Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation nor possibility to find the means leading to salvation; our faith in its monarchical constitution, desired by Our Lord himself, by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth; our faith in the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of both the natural and the supernatural orders, to Whom every man and every society must submit.

The Society continues to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, and also in regard to the reforms issued from it. We find our sure guide in this uninterrupted Magisterium which, by its teaching authority, transmits the revealed Deposit of Faith in perfect harmony with the truths that the entire Church has professed, always and everywhere.

The Society finds its guide as well in the constant Tradition of the Church, which transmits and will transmit until the end of times the teachings required to preserve the Faith and the salvation of souls, while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities.

We wish to unite ourselves to the others Christians persecuted in different countries of the world who are now suffering for the Catholic Faith, some even to the extent of martyrdom. Their blood, shed in union with the Victim of our altars, is the pledge for a true renewal of the Church in capite et membris, according to the old saying sanguis martyrum semen christianorum.

“Finally, we turn our eyes to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is also jealous of the privileges of her Divine Son, jealous of His glory, of His Kingdom on earth as in Heaven. How often has she intervened for the defense, even the armed defense, of Christendom against the enemies of the Kingdom of Our Lord! We entreat her to intervene today to chase the enemies out from inside the Church who are trying to destroy it more radically than its enemies from outside. May she deign to keep in the integrity of the Faith, in the love of the Church, in devotion to the Successor of Peter, all the members of the Society of St. Pius X and all the priests and faithful who labor alongside the Society, in order that she may both keep us from schism and preserve us from heresy.

“May St. Michael the Archangel inspire us with his zeal for the glory of God and with his strength to fight the devil.

“May St. Pius X share with us a part of his wisdom, of his learning, of his sanctity, to discern the true from the false and the good from the evil in these times of confusion and lies.” (Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre; Albano, October 19, 1983).

Given at Ecône, on the 14th of July of the Year of the Lord 2012.

16 July 2012


I am a sucker for Catholic Mom blogs; this you know.

Hence, 2 news items from their special world, involving two CatMoms who have been linked here.

One is a Ph.D; one has a pretend M.D.

One is from KC; one is from STL.

It's like someone mixed up chocolate and a beer cow peanut butter!

Rae, formerly of Quo Vadis, now takes up the CatMom cudgel.

Mother Crab, she of the working camera, has moved to Wordpress, has a nifty new layout, and has promised to post more often.

Can it get any better? I submit that it cannot!

The French Revolution: "In situations like this we are forced to confront once again Dostoyevsky's dictum: 'If there is no God, then everything is permitted.'"

This weekend marked the 223rd anniversary of the Fall of the Bastille, the event generally thought of as the beginning of the French Revolution. It is perhaps the blackest event of a half-century of black events for Western civilization.

As a counterpoint to the fireworks of celebration, I encourage you to read this essay originally published in Fidelity Magazine in 1989 by Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. It just about says it all. The excerpt below is just the final three paragraphs:

One shouldn't forget that much of what may appear positive to us today - liberality, intellectuality, humanitarianism - had all been already brought to us by the liberal, courtly absolutism, while the French Revolution which used all these words in reality did nothing more than brutally extinguish them. One is reminded of the reaction of Caffinhals, who replied to the uproar created by the defenders of Lavoisier, who cried, "You are condemning a great learned man to death," by saying, "The Revolution has no need of learned men." The good man was right; since the French Revolution only quantities, ciphers and numbers, have any value. The speech of the elite is hardly tolerated anymore.

From an intellectual point of view, the French Revolution was a conglomeration of un-thought out but fanatically believed inconsistencies, but it showed clearly, as so many other revolutions have, the true character of the great majority of the Genus Humanum.

In the French Revolution the scum of France succumbed to blood lust and opened the door to evil. In our day of electronic stultification, it's a sure bet that now, 200 hundred years later, this monstrosity will be the focus of orgiastic celebrations. The average man always clings despairingly to cliches. If one takes them away from him, he has to do his own research, his own thinking and deciding and has to begin anew. One can't really expect this sort of elitist behavior from such poor folks. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first rob of their reason.

14 July 2012

Black Is White. Up Is Down. Popes John Paul I and Paul VI to Be Beatified???

Paul VI. Paul VI?!? Paul VI?? Paul VI!!!!!???!!!

Oh, and JPI while we're at it.

The flagship of the N.O. "conservative", the National Catholic Register, has the story in full. Some excerpts:

ROME, Italy — A former head of the Vatican’s congregation on saints’ causes said Pope Benedict XVI could beatify his predecessors Pope John Paul I and Pope Paul VI during the upcoming Year of Faith.


After the beatification of John Paul II in May of 2011, Pope Benedict’s possible beatifications of John Paul I and Paul VI would be the first time in history that a Pope has beatified three of his predecessors.

Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith is slated to begin on Oct. 11 and will serve to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.


The miracle attributed to the Servant of God Paul VI — who made Joseph Ratzinger a cardinal — is the healing of a baby inside its mother’s womb.

11 July 2012

That Moment You Realize You've Lost Paternal Credibility

My son, to me, over my shoulder:

"Are you serious?! Have you lost your mind?! Star Trek?!

"And not just Star Trek... but Star Trek: The Next Generation!

"And not just Star Trek: The Next Generation... but Star Trek: The Next Generation: Behind the Scenes!!

"It's like you've traveled backward in time and channeled your inner nerd!"

Stupid Netflix...

Will He or Won't He?

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon will let everybody know tomorrow whether or not he will veto the bill passed by the Missouri Legislature, allowing employers to opt out of contraception coverage for religious or moral reasons.

The photo above doesn't fill me with hope-- fun fact: that's Catholic nemesis Rabbi Susan Talve next to Straddlin' Jay.

From STLToday:

JEFFERSON CITY • Will Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sign or veto a bill that would let the state's employers choose whether to cover sterilization, abortion and contraception? We may know tomorrow.

Nixon has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Thursday in his Capitol office to discuss "additional legislative actions." He has until Saturday to sign or veto legislation passed during the last session.

The contraception bill (SB749) is among the hottest items on his desk. It would allow employers and insurers to decide not to provide coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such procedures run contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

The bill's supporters include the Catholic bishops of Missouri, the Missouri Baptist Convention and Missouri Right to Life. They argue that the law is needed to protect religious liberties threatened by the Obama administration's policy requiring contraception coverage for most insurance plans.

Organized labor and Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri are among the groups that have urged a veto. They say the bill threatens access to birth control for thousands of Missouri women and invites lawsuits by attempting to supersede federal law.

"We remain optimistic that Gov. Nixon will veto the bill," said Allison Gee, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Nixon has not revealed his position, saying only that the bill was under review.

During the legislative session, the governor's staff members tried to make sure that "medically necessary" sterilizations would still be covered under the bill. But their attempt to insert a narrow definition of sterilization failed.

In the past, Nixon has straddled the fence on abortion issues, letting two anti-abortion bills become law without his signature. But he is up for election this November and seems unlikely to take that approach this time.

True Devotion

A few excerpts from Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales couldn't hurt anyone, especially these days. I hope to post some on a semi-regular basis as I re-read this classic of Catholic spirituality.

I suppose the best place to start is in the beginning:

You aspire to devotion, dearest Philothea, because being a Christian, you know that it is a virtue extremely pleasing to the divine Majesty: inasmuch as small faults committed in the beginning of any affair, in the progress thereof grow infinitely greater and in the end become almost irreparable, it is necessary before all things that you should know what the virtue of devotion is; for since there is but one true devotion, and very many which are false and vain, if you know not which is the true, you may very easily be deceived, and waste your time in following some devotion which is false and superstitious.

Aurelius was wont to paint all the faces in his pictures to the air and resemblance of the women whom he loved, and each one paints devotion according to his own passion and fancy. He that is given to fasting holds himself for very devout, if he do but fast, though his heart be full of rancour: and though he dare not moisten his tongue in wine or even in water for fear of transgressing sobriety, yet he scruples not to plunge it in the blood of his neighbour, by detraction and calumny. Another will account himself devout, for reciting a great multitude of prayers every day, although afterwards he gives his tongue full liberty to utter peevish, arrogant and injurious words among his familiars and neighbours. Another will readily draw an alms out of his purse to give it to the poor, but he cannot draw any gentleness out of his heart to forgive his enemies. ... even so do many persons cover themselves with certain external actions belonging to holy devotion, and the world believes them to be truly devout and spiritual; whereas in reality they are but statues and phantoms of devotion.

True and living devotion, O Philothea, presupposes the love of God; nay rather it is no other thing than a true love of God; yet not any kind of love; for, in so far as the divine love beautifies our souls, and makes us pleasing to His divine Majesty, it is called grace; in so far as it gives us strength to do good, it is called charity; but when it reaches such a degree of perfection, that it makes us not only do good, but do so carefully, frequently, and readily, then it is called devotion. ... In short, devotion is no other thing than a spiritual nimbleness and vivacity, by means of which charity works in us, or we by her, readily and heartily; and as it is the office of charity to makes us observe all the commandments of God generally and universally, so it is the office of devotion to makes us observe them readily and diligently

06 July 2012

"Of course, for the two forms of the Mass to enrich each other, both must be available."

Cardinal Burke gave an interview to CNS on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Summorum Pontificum:

For Cardinal Burke, restoring tradition is a work in progress

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Five years after Pope Benedict XVI lifted most restrictions on celebration of the Tridentine Mass, a senior Vatican official says that much work remains to make the traditional liturgy fully accessible to the faithful, and to bring its influence to bear on the form of the Mass most Catholics attend.

"There's no question that there remains in certain places a resistance to what the Holy Father has asked, and that's sad," says Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature and a former archbishop of St. Louis. "It's sometimes even an expression of disagreement with the Holy Father's discipline and even an expression that this is harmful for the church."

With his apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum," issued July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict allowed priests to offer the Tridentine Mass without special permission from their bishops. The decree also provided for the establishment of "personal parishes" dedicated to the traditional liturgy, which had passed out of use amid the modernizing changes that followed the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965.

"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful," the pope wrote at the time in a letter presenting his announcement to the world's bishops.

Pope Benedict made it clear that he was acting in part to promote reconciliation with the disaffected traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X, who had broken from Rome to protest some of the teachings of Vatican II and subsequent changes to the liturgy.

Last month, following three years of on-again, off-again talks, the Vatican announced that the traditionalists had been offered formal terms of reconciliation. Though the SSPX has warned of persistent "doctrinal difficulties" that could prolong negotiations, Cardinal Burke has told Catholic News Service that he believes a reunion will ultimately take place.

But satisfying the demands of the traditionalists was not Pope Benedict's only purpose in issuing "Summorum Pontificum." The pope wrote that he acted in order to "preserve the riches which have developed in the church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

In the same letter, the pope also affirmed that the older and newer versions of the Mass could be "mutually enriching." For Cardinal Burke, such mutual enrichment is part of the so-called "reform of the reform," the process of repairing the deficiencies of the liturgy introduced under Pope Paul VI.

The reform of the Roman Missal in the period following Vatican II was "too radical," and "went beyond, and in some senses perhaps not completely coherently with, what the council fathers had set forth," the cardinal says.

"There was a stripping away, a changing of the form of the rite that in my judgment was too much," he says. "You can't take a living reality, the worship of God as God has desired that we worship him, and tamper with it without doing violence and without in some way damaging the faith life of the people."

The use of Latin was far from the most important loss, the cardinal says, noting that even the newer form of the Mass is still regularly celebrated in the church's universal language.

Among the other elements of tradition that Cardinal Burke hopes the church eventually will restore to the Mass in its newer version are the opening prayers at the foot of the altar, which he says provide an "immediate tie-in" to the liturgy's Jewish heritage: the psalms once sung by the high priest as he entered the temple in Jerusalem.

Other features of the Tridentine Mass that the cardinal would welcome in the newer liturgy include the priest softly reciting the prayers before Communion, a period of near-silence that, he explains, "draws our attention to this most sacred part of the Holy Mass"; and the closing recitation of the prologue of the Gospel of St. John, a "hymn to the redemptive incarnation" that "sets in your mind once again the great reality which you have encountered and in which you have participated."

On the other hand, Cardinal Burke says, the practice of reading scriptural passages in modern languages has been a "tremendous gift" of the post-Vatican II liturgy that should be incorporated in the Tridentine Mass. And he said that the newer version of the Mass, in which the priest typically faces the congregation, can encourage a deeper appreciation of the "transparent devotion" with which priests should celebrate both forms of the liturgy.

Of course, for the two forms of the Mass to enrich each other, both must be available. But after half-century of neglect, the cardinal notes, there is a shortage of priests with any knowledge of Latin, not to mention experience with the older liturgy, a problem which he says calls for revising seminary curricula.

In the meantime, the cardinal counsels patience to traditionalists who feel "embattled" when well-meaning bishops cannot satisfy their demands quickly enough.

"It would be improper and even offensive to our Lord," he says," to have someone offering the Mass who doesn't know what he's saying or doesn't even know how to say it."

- - -

05 July 2012

25th Anniversary of the Ordination of Father Jean-Pierre Herman

New Liturgical Movement has a nice write-up of Fr. Herman's Anniversary Mass at the Oratory last Sunday, complete with more photos by Phil Roussin and a video of the Mass. If you weren't there, this gives you a flavor of this beautiful Mass. And I will say that the video and audio quality, considering that it's YouTube, is quite good. The embedded video is the first ten minutes, subsequent videos are at the YouTube site.

Congratulations, Fr. Herman!

Home Run Derby at the Oratory

If you are interested in participating in a fun event that isolates and glorifies one aspect of our nation's pastime, why not take part in a Home Run Derby on July 15 (a week from Sunday) after 10am High Mass. The festivities will likely start around 12:30pm.

Don't let the fierce visages of Canon Talarico and Abbé Alex scare you away.

"It is a failing to be so harsh and rigid that we will not allow ourselves or others to indulge in any recreation. Air and exercise, cheerful games, music, field sports, and the like are such innocent amusements that they only require to be used with ordinary discretion."

-- St. Francis de Sales

Possibly Disastrous

But, hey, I am an incorrigible optimist.

This interview with Archbishop Müller, the new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is filled with the kind of platitudinous, capable of meaning anything, sociological-speak to which we have become accustomed to hearing from so many in the last half century.

I don't think the LCWR gals have anything to fear anytime soon, excepting, perhaps, the particular judgement-- if that is still dogma.

04 July 2012

The 149th Anniversary of the Fall of Vicksburg

At the special request of StGuy Fawkes, a repost. Geraldo's birthday isn't the only reason to mark July 4:

Today marks one of the turning points in American history. Vicksburg, Mississippi succumbed to a lengthy Northern siege on July 4, 1863, the day after the defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg. With the fall of Vicksburg, the Confederate States were cut in two, and the Union Army controlled the Mississippi River. This surrender, coupled with the defeat of Lee at Gettysburg, ensured Union victory in the War of Northern Aggression.

From the Wikipedia entry:

The Confederate surrender following the siege at Vicksburg is sometimes considered, when combined with Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg the previous day, the turning point of the war. It also cut off communication with Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department for the remainder of the war. The city of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day for about eighty years as a result of the siege and surrender.

For a kick, check out the comments from last year's post.

It's the Fourth of July

Happy Birthday, Geraldo Rivera! May you experience an Al Capone vault-sized degree of happiness.

03 July 2012

What is the Big Deal about the Rationale of Roberts' Holding?

"Roberts is saying that if Congress, to stimulate the economy, orders every middle-class American to buy a new car or face a $5,000 fine, such a mandate is within its power."

-- Patrick Buchanan

Other examples can be thought of...

02 July 2012

Five Years after Summorum Pontificum, the Mass That Still Dare Not Say Its Name

As we near the Fifth Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum on July 7, the most important papal document in half a century, and perhaps in nearly half a millennium, I thought I would revisit a topic I posted on last year: the Mass that dare not say its name.

The Mass of the Ages, the noble, traditional Latin Mass. The Mass that still inspires some, and scares others. The Mass that the Saints and martyrs for the great bulk of the Church's history knew and loved, and for which Mass they lived and died.

This Mass, which has existed in its essential format for more
than 1,500 years, which was made normative throughout the universal Church since 1570, and which the Holy Father confirmed has never been abrogated, is still disfavored and begrudged around the world. Why? Why is it still the kiss of death for priests to be caught celebrating it?

Undeniably, the so-called Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite has become somewhat more available in the last five years. But it hasn't become common. Not in ordinary parishes throughout the world. Why?

Are we to believe that the laity are against it, or is this a suppression by priests and bishops? Perhaps we can only point to anecdotal evidence, but what does your gut tell you?

The liturgy is vital to the faith of the Church. The mere "threat" of the Extraordinary Form has done more to promote reverence in the liturgy and solid catechesis outside it in five years than the "reform of the reform" effort did in forty. And of course, the Ordinary Form, the celebration of which is rife with the abuses encouraged by its relative formlessness, has done incalculable damage to faith and praxis.

To borrow a quote at the Protestant St. Paul's about architect Christopher Wren, we might speak of the new Mass by noting the empty pews, empty seminaries and convents, and sparse sacramental registers, and say, "If you wish to see its monument, look around you."

The connection between liturgy and faith is highlighted by the disparate treatment of groups like the SSPX and the LCWR.

Both groups have been cited for lack of obedience, yes. But the group that champions the Traditional Mass, the group that adheres to no heresy, is under the strictest scrutiny, with an implied threat of excommunications for those who do not respond to this last effort at reconciliation.

And what of the LCWR? This group champions outright heresies, and defends the heretics who spread them. They promote the heresy of women's "ordination". They undermine the bishops on issues of moral theology. Yet for all the talk of the Vatican "cracking down" on them, they continue to operate with no real threat of discipline. They will invade St. louis this Summer, unchecked, to host a New Age self-help seminar disguised as a gathering of Catholic sisters. And their "liturgies" are rife with every novelty, even when stealth priestesses aren't pretending to consecrate anything.

About the only way these formerly Catholic sisters would ever face real discipline is if they took a shine to the Traditional Mass. In a way that is easier to see than to explain, it really is all about the Mass.

The Catholic Mass makes Catholics. A non-Catholic liturgy makes non-Catholics.

We know the Church will be healthy when a Catholic may assist at the Extraordinary Form at every parish. That day seems a long, long way off. But Summorum Pontificum has set the process in motion, and it cannot fail. No amount of obstruction or suppression can stop it now. In fact, concern for souls should prompt our pastors to implement this motu proprio as intended.

And thanks be to God and Pope Benedict XVI for this wonderful document.

Feast of the Visitation

Happy Feast Day, everybody. Please pray for Sr. Mary Joseph, Provincial Superior of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, who celebrates her 25th Anniversary today.



01 July 2012

If This Is at All True...

...then Roberts is worse than I thought. But go ahead and commiserate with the Bush apologists who continue to insist that the unknown Roberts was the perfect choice to sail through confirmation, though unknown, because he was unknown. Trust Bush to nominate a true conservative. A true conservative nominated by a true conservative. Ha!