31 May 2013

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

The following beautiful sermon was delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity:

On this last Sunday of May, we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of one God in three persons, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And since then we pronounce this mystery every day, as in the prayer before and after the meal, before the Mass, the recitation of the Divine Office, the Holy Rosary so on. For the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central and the most basic mystery of our faith and our life. And one God in three persons is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore, the source of all the other mysteries of faith.

Indeed many religions which have appeared during history invoke God as Father. But in our Catholic faith, Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard of sense. He is Father not only in being Creator, creating everything out of nothing but He is eternally Father especially by His relationship to His only Son, Who, in His turn, is Son only in relation to His Father. Jesus said, "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

So we read in the Gospel of St. Luke that after His resurrection Jesus was with His disciples in Emmaus but they did not know who He was. Then while He was at table with them, He took bread, and blessed, and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, of course their spiritual eyes, and they knew him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other; was not our heart burning within us, while He spoke in the way, and opened to us the scriptures?

Before the passion Jesus announced the sending of another Paraclete (Advocate), the Holy Spirit who proceeds from Father and the Son. This Spirit of Jesus has been with and in the disciples to teach them and guide them unto all the truth. Thus the Holy Spirit is revealed as another divine Person with Jesus and the Father.

So God is balanced out to us in a way we can understand by the all-seeing Father, the teacher Jesus, and the guiding Holy Spirit.

The Trinity is one. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three Persons, the consubstantial Trinity. And God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. He destined us in love to be His sons and to be conformed to the image of His Son, through the spirit of sonship. Thus the ultimate end of the whole divine plan is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity. But even now, we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus says, “If a man loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

So we are no more strangers to God but we belong to God’s family, and our relations with God must be essentially filial ones, trustful and confident. Then our prayer ought to express the feelings of a confident child who enjoys talking heart to heart with his Father, Whom he knows be good and merciful and capable to forgive. And knowing Who is God the Father, we can throw ourselves into the Father's arms with complete abandon.

But unfortunately, we are often very stubborn and we do not know how to behave in front of this loving Father and also the knowledge of our persistent sinfulness and repeated unfaithfulness may paralyze this filial affection, causing a certain fear to arise in our souls. And this happens especially when the soul is going through dark periods of struggle, temptations and difficulties, all of which tend to throw it into agitation and confusion, impeding, in spite of its efforts, that confident outpouring of the heart which submerges all its worries and anxieties in this merciful God.

But if we know how to abandon ourselves in His merciful arms and then persevere in prayers, one day, during prayer, the soul becomes recollected under the influence of a new light which drives away all fear, not a new thought but an intimate realization of truth never before experienced: "God is my Father. I am His child.” It is good to be convinced that it is the influence of the gift of piety when we have such a thought and a movement in our heart, set in motion by the Holy Spirit. So St. Paul, speaking to the first Christians, told them, “You have not received the spirit of bondage of slavery again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father’, for the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.” It is the Holy Spirit who infuses into the soul this strong feeling of filial piety, of full confidence in its heavenly Father. And interior prayer is nothing but than this intimate conversation of the soul with God, heart to heart.

Therefore there will never be a ritual nor devout book capable of regulating completely the intimate relations of friendship between the Father and His child. But there is one Master whose ability is fully proportioned to His aim, and Whose instruction is within the reach of every Catholic soul. And this Master is the Holy Spirit. So St. Paul said, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” This is a consoling truth for the soul which feels its powerlessness, its inability to treat with God, its need of a prayer which is fully suitable to the Most High. And this is how the Holy Spirit alternates in the soul sentiments of complete confidence and of profound adoration of loving friendship and of recognition of God’s supreme greatness.

But the mystery of God is so sublime and it so exceeds our understanding, that we can only bow our heads and adore in silence. In today’s Epistle, St. Paul exclaims, “O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!” How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways. He who, having been caught up into paradise, could neither know nor say anything except that he had heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. So in the presence of this unspeakable mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, the highest praise is silence which is not an empty silence but the silence of the soul that adores and acknowledge God’s supreme greatness.

So, dear faithful, let us offer our act of humble adoration to praise and glorify the Most Holy Trinity.

29 May 2013

Notes from the Bowl, Part 25: TGTV

As we circle the drain with the rest of Western civilization, this one comes from the file marked "Don't read:  Brain will ooze out of ears."

From Breitbart:

Children's Network Launches Transsexual Superhero Show

Nothing says “child-appropriate material” quite like gender-bending underage superheroes. At least that’s the theory over at the Hub, the network co-owned by Discovery and Hasbro, which is trotting out its latest soon-to-be-dud, SheZow. That show follows the adventures of a 12-year-old boy named Guy who uses a magic ring to transform himself into a crime-fighting girl. Yes, you read that correctly. When Guy says the magic words – “You go girl!” – he becomes SheZow, wearing a purple skirt and cape, as well as pink gloves and white boots.

The chief executive of the Hub, who may or may not have been high (and leftist) when she greenlit this project, is Margaret Loesch. Loesch commented, “When I first heard about the show, my reaction was ‘Are you out of your minds?’ Then I looked at it and I thought, ‘This is just funny.’”

The target audience for the Hub is children aged two to eleven.

28 May 2013

We Treat Them No Better

The link below has some dramatic, but disturbing, photos.

A miracle. A condemnation of the modern day disdain for human life. A reminder that anti-life policies have consequences. A sickening example of what happens under China's One Child policy.

Yes, but don't forget we kill a million and a half of our least brethren every year in this land of the free.

May God forgive us and give us the grace of conversion.

25 May 2013

SSA = Sodomy Seeks Attention

Believe me when I tell you that I resisted posting on the latest celebration du jour of immorality that is the self-outing of the so-called "gay" priest, Fr Gary Meier of St. Louis. Why? Because attention is what the pro-sodomy lobby wants. The story, sadly, is not news, is not new, and is really, really sad.

So, why do it now? Because this misguided person, ordained as a priest of God, has kicked up the hypocrisy meter so high, and because the response of the Archdiocese seems pretty flaccid. Let's take them one at a time:

1. Fr. Meier tries to front that his actions are not an attempt to harm the Church, yet he casts his lot with those who persecute her, and consorts with the local schismatic and heretical attention-seekers the Church has had to suffer in the past several years. He also causes scandal and spreads confusion among the weak-minded. From the STLToday story linked above:

“I have tried over the years to reconcile my silence as a gay priest with that of the Church’s increasingly anti-gay stance. I have been unsuccessful,” Meier writes in his book “Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest.” “I was hopeful that I could find a way to have integrity while remaining part of a hierarchy that is anti-gay — I was unsuccessful.”

Meier originally published the book anonymously in 2011. But last week, he republished it with his own name on the cover. The crowd of 80 or so supporters who turned out Tuesday afternoon at UMSL — where Meier is studying for a master’s degree in counseling — included former parishioners, other Catholic priests, former priests (the Rev. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Church was in the audience) and members of gay-rights groups.

Since his public declaration of his sexual orientation, Meier said, he has received a lot of support on his Facebook page. One woman, though, scolded him for accusing the church of a “lack of love.”

“That’s not at all what I’m saying,” Meier told his audience. “But I am accusing the church of a lack of tolerance and acceptance.”

He also wrote this:

It has been difficult to remain part of a hierarchy that has been so hostile towards homosexuals in recent years. This is especially true considering nearly 30% of all successful teenage suicides are attributed to sexual identity issues. Our church once stood for and represented the radical nature of God's love for all people. That is not the true today - especially towards the LGBT community and therefore I feel compelled to stand in solidarity with those Catholic's who have lost their jobs, have been denied the sacraments, have been excommunicated or who have been made to feel 'less than' by their church leaders because of who they love.

Oh, thanks for clearing that up, Father. Maybe a different approach might have been better. May I suggest, confession, prayer, and seclusion as you sort this out? Why do you consider it a matter of "personal integrity" to publicly undermine Divine precepts and encourage contempt for Christ's Holy Church?

2. The posture of the local Church is noteworthy throughout. In an RFT story on Fr. Meier we read this nugget:

Meier celebrated the 15th anniversary of his ordination on Thursday. He said his sexuality had never been a secret to his family and friends. He said that when he was interviewed during the screening process at Kenrick Seminary, he answered truthfully to the six interviewers (of nine, total) who asked about his sexual orientation and history. When they asked him if he believed he could be celibate, he answered, “I think so.”

As late as 2010, Fr. Meier was appointed to lead the North City Deanery. After his self-"outing", the Archdiocese issued a press release, which I post in its entirety:

The Archdiocese of St. Louis just learned that Fr. Gary Meier authored the book "Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest" which was originally released anonymously in 2011. On May 22, 2013, Fr. Meier will release a 2nd edition of this book under his name.

Fr. Meier has been on leave for the past year for reasons of vocational discernment.

As a man who experiences same-sex attraction, Fr. Meier has before him an opportunity to be an example and mentor to Catholics in the archdiocese who struggle with the same feelings. Whether he will seize this opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Life which offers the truth about the beauty and sanctity of human sexuality, is entirely within is his control.

The Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. It teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality -- whether they are homosexual or heterosexual, priest or lay person.

Our Catholic faith teaches that we are defined by something far deeper than sexual orientation; rather we are defined by our identity as children of God. We agree with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when he said, 'Every human being is loved by God the Father. No one need feel forgotten, for every name is written in the Lord's loving heart.' We encourage Catholics and all people of faith to pray for our culture.

Not exactly Regnans in Excelsis, is it?

But of course this isn't the same situation, and the Archdiocese's statement is obviously trying to walk the line between reaching out to this man and others who might have the same temptations while upholding the Divine and Natural Law. I get that. Unfortunately, it soft sells it so much that it says nothing at all.

-- Fr. Meier is on a leave of absence? So he can come back? On what conditions?

-- "All people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality," says the statement. Could someone please state what that means, especially in the context of a press release that clearly states that the Church does not condemn people with "same-sex attraction"? Pardon my language, I do not mean to be flippant. But if the reader did not already know what the Church's teaching on sodomy was, this could mean lots of things: monogamy in a "gay" relationship, or maybe using prophylactics. Maybe something like the Church loves him so much she worries for his soul and for the souls of those his book could mislead?

-- Also, why would the Archdiocese give so much information about the book itself? I half expected the statement to give the ISBN number and a link to Amazon.

One final note. The problem of priests living out their vows of celibacy is maybe as old as the vow itself. We are all weak. And we pray that after the many troubles of the last 15 years that the vetting processes at the seminaries are more effective.

Like I said, the whole story is sad, and all the more so for failing to surprise.

22 May 2013

KMOV Cans Larry Conners!

Un. believable.

Hilariously-broken irony meter alert: a quote from the KMOV head stooge:

"The current IRS controversy is of serious importance for journalists to report," [general manager Mark] Pimentel said. "And it becomes very difficult for us to produce a newscast where you have someone (reporting IRS-related news) who could at least seem to be biased."




Tweedle-dee Dum and Tweedle-dee Dee
They’re throwing knives into the tree
Two big bags of dead man’s bones
Got their noses to the grindstones

Living in the Land of Nod
Trustin’ their fate to the Hands of God
They pass by so silently
Tweedle-dee Dum and Tweedle-dee Dee

Well, they’re going to the country, they’re gonna retire
They’re taking a street car named Desire
Looking in the window at the pecan pie
Lot of things they’d like they would never buy

Neither one gonna turn and run
They’re making a voyage to the sun
“His Master’s voice is calling me”
Says Tweedle-dee Dum to Tweedle-dee Dee

Tweedle-dee Dee and Tweedle-dee Dum
All that and more and then some
They walk among the stately trees
They know the secrets of the breeze

Tweedle-dee Dum said to Tweedle-dee Dee
“Your presence is obnoxious to me”
They’re like babies sittin’ on a woman’s knee
Tweedle-dee Dum and Tweedle-dee Dee

Well, the rain beating down on my window pane
I got love for you and it’s all in vain
Brains in the pot, they’re beginning to boil
They’re dripping with garlic and olive oil

Tweedle-dee Dee—he’s on his hands and his knees
Saying, “Throw me somethin’, Mister, please”
“What’s good for you is good for me”
Says Tweedle-dee Dum to Tweedle-dee Dee

Well, they’re living in a happy harmony
Tweedle-dee Dum and Tweedle-dee Dee
They’re one day older and a dollar short
They’ve got a parade permit and a police escort

They’re lying low and they’re makin’ hay
They seem determined to go all the way
They run a brick-and-tile company 

Tweedle-dee Dum and Tweedle-dee Dee

Well a childish dream is a deathless need
And a noble truth is a sacred dream
My pretty baby, she’s lookin’ around
She’s wearin’ a multi-thousand dollar gown

Tweedle-dee Dee is a lowdown, sorry old man
Tweedle-dee Dum, he’ll stab you where you stand
“I’ve had too much of your company,”
Says Tweedle-dee Dum to Tweedle-dee Dee

--Bob Dylan

Saint Louis Catholic Gets Berger Bitten

If you are a St. Louisan of a certain age (and I don't mean young), you will be familiar with the gossip columnist Jerry Berger.  He used to write for the Post-Dispatch, and appear semi-regularly on the local news.  He would write pithy bites about locals who do and or did stuff.

It seems that these days he is relegated to blogdom like me.  Whether that is a compliment to me or a negative for him I will leave for you to decide.

Reader TradDadof4 was kind enough to point out that Berger mentioned my post questioning the practice of removing not-yet-cancerous breasts in his blog the other day.  He doesn't really comment on it more than I did, but I suppose the way he mentions it is a type of "check out this loser who hates women" thing.

Cool by me, and he just may have found it interesting.

But the reason I mention it here is that among the comments at his post is one supremely idiotic rant from some anti-Catholic, and particularly anti-clerical, clover.  People really do hate us.  So, if you are one of those naifs who think their "nice" neighbors will stand up for them when they come to haul them off to camps, I say guess again.  

Silence at best, cheers and a pay-off more likely.  The founder of the Catholic Church was perfect and only had three people to condole him when he was killed.  Don't expect better.

Have a great day, everybody!

21 May 2013

The Long Slide from Gatsby

...Then I thought of poor old Scott Fitzgerald. He wrote Gatsby, sold only 24,000 copies, died very much in debt, and now his masterpiece sells 500,000 paperbacks every year, the novel has been turned into a movie five times, and the latest version cost $105 million. How’s that for irony? I’d say worse than Bloomberg and the duck salesman posing as gentlemen.

The actor playing Nick Carraway, Tobey Maguire—who’s as tall as Bloomberg at 5 foot 8 inches—was asked whether he had loved the book and answered, “But I read the script, of course.” No Fitzgerald expert he. The movie is exactly what I had predicted a couple of months ago: Pearls, cloche hats, dropped waists, and lots of fireworks. It’s a tumultuous work that has about as much style as the fictional Gatsby parties. Still, it’s a far better film than the Robert Redford version of 1974, where the wooden Redford was as believable as Gatsby as Rupert Everett was playing General Patton.

For some strange reason, in the new version a very good Indian actor plays Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim. Indians playing Jews to avoid charges of anti-Semitism is a first for me. The novel’s subtlety is nonexistent in the film, so here’s a tip: Forget the book’s subtlety and tenderness and watch the movie as entertainment. And enjoy the girl that plays Jordan, who should have been cast as Daisy, but more about casting next week when I will be filing from Cannes and walking the red carpet for the premiere of the greatest movie since Gone With the Wind, starring Alec Baldwin, Taki, and a cast of thousands. It’s directed by the great James Toback, a man so talented Orson Welles tried to poison him in a jealous rage but thankfully failed.


Our culture nowadays is dominated by the conspicuous vulgarity of new and ill-gotten wealth, while manners and morals are nonexistent. Young people act as if they’re autistic and simply cannot communicate because the machines they stare at all day and night have made interaction impossible. Our language has even changed, with people using acronyms instead of normal speech—when they use English, that is. In the Bagel, only a minority speaks English. The most blatant degeneracy is the constant use of the F-word and the way the slobs dress. Last week at a Broadway play, I was one of the very few to be wearing a suit and tie. Soon people wearing neckties will be profiled, their picture appearing in police stations. See you in Cannes.

-- Taki Theodoracopulos, in a social commentary disguised as a review of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby

17 May 2013

Pope Francis Speaks Out against Immoral Monetary Policy

Again, this Pope is mysterious, formidable, and full of surprises; this is a gutsy play. I don't know the endgame here, but may Mary guide him and us. If you haven't yet read this talk, you should. He makes some very good points that probably won't sit well with many.

From Vatican Radio comes the English translation of the Holy Father's remarks to some ambassadors whose credentials he accepted Thursday:

...Ladies and Gentlemen, our human family is presently experiencing something of a turning point in its own history, if we consider the advances made in various areas. We can only praise the positive achievements which contribute to the authentic welfare of mankind, in fields such as those of health, education and communications. At the same time, we must also acknowledge that the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity, with dire consequences. Certain pathologies are increasing, with their psychological consequences; fear and desperation grip the hearts of many people, even in the so-called rich countries; the joy of life is diminishing; indecency and violence are on the rise; poverty is becoming more and more evident. People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way. One cause of this situation, in my opinion, is in the our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society. Consequently the financial crisis which we are experiencing makes us forget that its ultimate origin is to be found in a profound human crisis. In the denial of the primacy of human beings! We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.

The worldwide financial and economic crisis seems to highlight their distortions and above all the gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption. Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have begun a throw away culture. This tendency is seen on the level of individuals and whole societies; and it is being promoted! In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules. Moreover, indebtedness and credit distance countries from their real economy and citizens from their real buying power. Added to this, as if it were needed, is widespread corruption and selfish fiscal evasion which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The will to power and of possession has become limitless.

Concealed behind this attitude is a rejection of ethics, a rejection of God. Ethics, like solidarity, is a nuisance! It is regarded as counterproductive: as something too human, because it relativizes money and power; as a threat, because it rejects manipulation and subjection of people: because ethics leads to God, who is situated outside the categories of the market. These financiers, economists and politicians consider God to be unmanageable, unmanageable even dangerous, because he calls man to his full realization and to independence from any kind of slavery. Ethics – naturally, not the ethics of ideology – makes it possible, in my view, to create a balanced social order that is more humane. In this sense, I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs” (Homily on Lazarus, 1:6 – PG 48, 992D).

Dear Ambassadors, there is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and farsightedness, taking account, naturally, of their particular situations. Money has to serve, not to rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them. The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics.

For her part, the Church always works for the integral development of every person. In this sense, she reiterates that the common good should not be simply an extra, simply a conceptual scheme of inferior quality tacked onto political programmes. The Church encourages those in power to be truly at the service of the common good of their peoples. She urges financial leaders to take account of ethics and solidarity. And why should they not turn to God to draw inspiration from his designs? In this way, a new political and economic mindset would arise that would help to transform the absolute dichotomy between the economic and social spheres into a healthy symbiosis...

Twelfth Night Comes to Shakespeare at the Park

click to enlarge
From May 24 to June 16 in Forest Park
Details here.

15 May 2013

US Court of Appeals Dismisses German Homeschooling Family's Asylum Case

What a great country we have.

An Immigration Judge gave this homeschooling family from Germany political asylum because the German government does not allow homeschooling and would forcibly remove the children from their parents if they attempted it.  The basis for the family's decision to homeschool was religious in nature.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides for a grant of political asylum to an alien who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution, by his government or by forces that the government cannot or will not control, on account of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Longstanding Supreme Court precedent states that a fear is well-founded if it is subjectively held and also is objectively reasonable-- specifically, that there is at least a 10% chance of happening.

This case is tailor-made.

Except for one thing:  they are Christians.  No, make that two things: they are also homeschoolers.

I know immigration attorneys, and from experience it is obvious that in any case where religion is a ground for asylum that a Christian has a much tougher time obtaining relief than a comparable Muslim, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Falun Gong, Sikh, or other religious case.  Why?  Well, that seems obvious.

But homeschooling, pardon the expression, queers the deal here.  Why?  Because of the regime's attack on family and parental rights generally, of which homeschooling is  a subset.  Because your children belong to the state.

Anyway, a decision of an Immigration Judge, while binding for that particular alien, does not set precedent for other cases.  Therefore, the Immigration Judge's grant worked justice, gave this family their relief, and yet didn't set any general precedent that homeschooling was a protected or protect-able asylum ground.

This was not good enough for the current regime and its Injustice Department, which decided to appeal the grant to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  The BIA overturned the IJ's decision and ordered the family out.  It held there was no right to homeschool one's children, and that the German law was not therefore persecution.  This was the argument of the junta's lawyers.  Unlike a decision of an Immigration Judge, a BIA decision is precedential, and so in addition to the plight of this particular family it was vital for all alien's who face similar persecution that the family file for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Well, the regime continued its fight, and on the same terms.

The Sixth Circuit dismissed the case yesterday.  It upheld the removal of the family and the denial of their asylum claim.  The decision stops short of immediate total disaster, as it acknowledges that the U.S. Constitution "protects the rights of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control."  

However, it carries in it some potentially dangerous rationale. The Court held that the family did not prove persecution because the law against "truancy" was applied generally to all citizens, not just homeschoolers.  Because all Germans are forced to send their children to government schools, not just would-be homeschoolers, it is not unfairly targeted against homeschoolers.  Hence, it isn't persecution to fine, imprison or take children away from them.

Great-- except it could be applied like this:  all citizens are required to worship the antichrist, not just Christians.  Just because they have some religious objections to this doesn't make it persecution, because they aren't singled out.  

The problem of course is that most persecution works this way:  a tyrannical government doesn't need to harm a citizen that doesn't object to its tyranny.  Duh.

Well, the regime wins another round in its courts.  I would not be surprised to see that, victory in hand and lots of bad press on other fronts accosting it, the administration elects to grant status to this family anyway, in an exercise of pure discretion.

Rule of law aside.

14 May 2013

Larry Conners Wonders Whether IRS Targeting Him after Political Interview

Story at STLToday:

Is the IRS hassling Larry Conners?
 by Joe Holleman

Much news is being generated by allegations that the Internal Revenue Service recently has targeted conservative groups.

Now KMOV-TV (Channel 4) anchorman Larry Conners wonders if he is being targeted by the IRS because of tough questions he asked President Barack Obama during an interview in April 2012. 

Monday night, Conners posted his concerns on Facebook. The post begins:

"Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.
"I don't accept 'conspiracy theories,' but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me."

In conclusion, Conners wrote:

"What I don't like to even consider ... is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.

Can I prove it? At this time, no. But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview ... the IRS has been pressuring me."

Meatless Friday Tuesday, News Round-Up Edition

A few notes from the week that is...

1. Can someone tell me why the new trend of 'preventative' mastectomies? Is this a prudent course of action or just mutilation? And I ask that question without an answer in mind. I wonder if any moral theologian with a blog might weigh in here.

2. Tough times for Schnucks these days, financial and familial.

3. Il Duce is having a bad week, too. Now that he is safely foisted on the country for a second four-year period of destruction, the 'free' press has decided to think about maybe reporting some of the stuff he's done-- gently, so as not to offend.

4. Though not news, Dan Brown is an idiot. And yet brilliant. Unfortunately his brilliance comes from banking on the idiocy of his readers. His new book is ostensibly about the cool secrets hidden in Dante's Inferno about the evils of-- wait for it.... Overpopulation. Yes, you read that right, overpopulation. Though the rapid depopulation of whole nations, and the impending depopulation of the globe, are well-documented and breaking through the tired Population Bomb template at last, Brown wants us to do something to stop non-existent overpopulation:

Brown does briefly take on the Vatican in "Inferno" for its "meddling in reproductive issues" and he praises Melinda Gates, "a devout Catholic herself," for raising hundreds of millions of dollars to improve access to birth control.

But instead of reviewing church history, Brown has spent the past few years studying the future. He has immersed himself in transhumanism, which advocates the use of technology to alter the mind and body, and has his characters debate the morality of genetics. ... Overpopulation, Brown says, is an issue so profound that all of us need to ask what should be done. The author himself has not decided.

A real piece of work.

5. Finally, who knows? We may be able to stop invading other countries to spread freedom and democracy so we don't have to fight them over here distract people from the bad economy to secure our oil supply prevent the spread of WMDs.

One can hope.

13 May 2013

...Wouldn't Want to Be Ya

As in, see ya.

Abortion Doctor Gosnell Found Guilty of Killing 3 Babies Born Alive

Former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty on three of four counts of first-degree murder involving the deaths of four babies.

He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of former patient Karnamaya Mongar. He will now face the death penalty in the sentencing phase.

09 May 2013

Not New, Not Improved

A reader was kind enough to forward an excellent article by David Warren, "The Hold Up", concerning his conversion to Catholicism ten years ago, what led to it, and what made it take so long.

From the full article at The Catholic Thing:

It took me fifty years to find my way home (to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church)...My question for today: What takes people so long?
... I recall many occasions when the idea of being received into the Catholic Church occurred to me. Several of these were somewhat dramatic...

To start, as a sudden Christian convert, in England back in 1976, I actually first went looking for a Catholic priest, for it seemed to me then that the Church of Rome must offer Christianity, par excellence. Without invidiously naming names or places, I was sharply turned off, however. I was given a “Dutch catechism” to read, and other hints that the Church, then and in England, had gone New Age Marxist. Perhaps papism was dead.

... I soon found myself soused in High Anglicanism. The liturgy was impressive, the people seemed to take their faith seriously, and they called themselves “catholic."... 

...in my experience, whether or not it is acknowledged, the beauty of language, music, gesture, architecture, and art play an important, often-crucial role in drawing people to the Church. Such things testify to the Gloria. They tell us God is large, not small; that the argument of the soul is not with something shallow, mean, and strident.

But even at the level of “mere reason,” the argument for the authority of the Catholic Church was unanswerable. It wasnt a syllogism, or other formula. It was too obvious for that.

For in the view over twenty centuries of Christian history, how could “Rome” not be Christs Church? The question had only to be asked to see the answer. Of course, she was in every generation flawed, as every institution involving humans. But on this scale of history, the agitprop of a Luther or a Calvin became a farce. These were obsessions from some narrow place and time.

One may see this, and yet not act. For years I avoided reading Newman – for instance – because I knew he would rub my nose in this reality. I knew I couldnt stand up to him. Ditto with so many other saints and scholars of the Church. They would endanger my comfortable Protestant affiliation. Yet I did not consider myself Protestant; and was consistently well disposed towards the Roman fold.

Heres the thing. I cannot explain to myself, today, why it took me so long to become a Catholic. ... Naturally attracted to the Catholic Church myself, I was discouraged by attempts to present something “new” in it, by many of its (arguably) well-meaning representatives.

For two generations now, it has seemed to me, the attempt to repackage the faith in a more attractive way to a contemporary audience has been, quite obviously, self-defeating. For me, at least, the very attraction of the Church, and the best argument against the competition, was that it remained the opposite of “new.” People like me – admittedly, a reactionary – are drawn to the Church not by the scent of fashion, but instead by the promise of “Eternity.”

They are sick, sick at heart, with the spirit of innovation. It is the very thing they are trying to escape, as they approach the divine. The secular environments from which they are escaping are rancid with the “new and improved.” They have tired of salesmanship. More than tired: they are repelled by the slick and shiny. Christ, to them, is the opposite of that.

Though mostly free of liturgical learning and sophistication, I have noticed that the younger Catholics attending the Latin Mass, high or low, are riveted by its solemnity. I have seen this in many subtle but unmistakable facts. For instance, small children their parents had not tried very hard to control at Novus Ordo Masses, are now carefully controlled; and the children themselves seem to attune to the atmosphere of reverence.


Ascension Thursday

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God: that we, who believe Thine only-begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have ascended on this day into heaven, may also ourselves dwell in mind amid heavenly things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Ascension

Masses at the Oratory today at 8 am, 12:15 pm and Solemn High Mass at 6:30 pm.

08 May 2013

Pope Francis Reads Saint Louis Catholic

Well, possibly.

OK, not bloody likely.

But... but... His Holiness did say something today to a meeting of the Superiors General of religious orders in Rome that captured a thought I was trying to express in this recent post, one that cuts to the quick:

“The men and women of the Church who are careerists and social climbers, who 'use' people, the Church, their brothers and sisters—whom they should be serving—as a springboard for their own personal interests and ambitions … are doing great harm to the Church.”

This whole address is well worth reading, and has great ecclesial insight. The article is at the Vatican Information Service, h/t to Rorate Caeli.

Mother of Our Creator

"Mater Dei, Mater Creatoris," Mother of God, Mother of Our Creator, we invoke her in the litany.  These two titles which seem to be contradictory, actually express a unique synthesis because Mary, although a creature, is really the Mother of Her Creator, the Mother of God's Son to whom she has given a human body: the fruit of her flesh and blood is the Son of God in whom and by whom all things were created.  Here we understand more than ever how Mary's dignity reaches the threshold of the infinite.  "God could make a bigger world or a wider sky, but He could not raise a pure creature higher than Mary, for the dignity of the Mother of God is the highest dignity that can be conferred on a creature" (St. Bonaventure).

To anyone who wonders why so little is said about Mary in the Gospel, St. Thomas of Villanova replies: "What more do you want?  Is it not enough for you to know that she is the Mother of God?  It would have been sufficient to say, 'De qua natus est Jesus,' Jesus was born of her."  In fact, O Mary, all I need to know, in order to love you, is that you are the Mother of my God.

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

07 May 2013

Do You Feel It?

The Rogation Days are upon us (day 2, to be precise) and Ascension Thursday is, ironically enough, on a Thursday.  This coming Thursday, to be exact.

It is a good time to reflect upon something that I have sensed, but upon which I cannot put my finger precisely.  It feels like we are in the doldrums, the calm before the storm, or maybe the dentist's waiting room before a root canal.  Friends have noted it, too, but then there is nothing definite.

A general malaise.

The dramatic announcement that the Holy Father would abdicate his throne... the usual speculation on his successor, made wild by the omnipresence of social media and technology... the surprising choice of Pope Francis... the mixed signals from his early days... the continued tightening of the vise from the secular governments of the world upon the liberty of the Church... the hatred of the worldly being stoked by the elites of what passes for our 'culture'... and the chaos within the Church's own ranks.

Lots of signs, many ominous, but no dramatic action as of yet. You might be feeling that something could happen any minute, and at other times think that things really aren't that different and could go on like this for a hundred years.

Which brings me back to Rogation and Ascension. 

In the traditional Rogation days, in a nod towards the power of God and His natural creation and invoking His mercy, we Catholics implore Him that the fruits of the earth will not fail us.  Falling right before Ascension, where we may naturally but mistakenly feel abandoned when Our Lord leaves to rejoin the Father at His right hand, it seems especially opportune to persevere in prayer.

Faith vivified by hope and charity is necessary.  We are not orphaned.  Christ Himself said that it was "expedient" that He should ascend to the Father. Expedient.  Good for us, efficient, effective.  Why?  Well, to completely answer that would be to know the mind of God, which is not possible.  But we can rely upon the word of the Speaker.  He said it was expedient, because without it the Paraclete would not come:

But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go. For if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin and of justice and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father: and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged. (John 16: 7-11)

We have certainly received the message of the Paraclete.  No one with their eyes open has yet to be convinced of the sin and justice and judgement. 

God has not abandoned us, and has sent us the Spirit of Truth.  We must rely upon Him in faith, hope and charity.  We must humbly yet confidentally ask Him that the fruits of the earth not fail us.

Rogation and Ascension.

The remedy for malaise is not easy, maybe, but it is clear.  Be patient, hopeful, and await God's time. 

06 May 2013

Oremus Pro Pontifice Nostro Francisco

Lest one think that I am unwilling to note as much, I wanted to point out some of the hopeful signs coming out of this pontificate as of late.  Pope Francis has, in the last couple of weeks, called for Bishops to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, has publicly rebuked a Cardinal who retired under serious allegations, advising him to leave the country wherein he was involved in scandal, has expressed the shock of the world at the inhuman working conditions suffered by the workers in the building collapse in Bangladesh, and has maintained the official stance of his predecessor regarding the wayward heterodox nuns.

Intriguing times, intriguing Pope.  Who knows what comes next?

The following prayer is taken from the Roman Missal. A partial indulgence is attached to the versicle and response.
V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco. V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.
R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. [Ps 40:3] R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]
Pater Noster, Ave Maria. Our Father, Hail Mary.
Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen. O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

05 May 2013

Fr. Biondi to Step Down as SLU President

Timetable not specific yet. From STLToday:

ST. LOUIS • The Rev. Lawrence Biondi surprised supporters and critics alike Saturday evening when he announced plans to retire from the presidency of St. Louis University.

The move follows months of campus strife that included no-confidence votes by faculty and students.

Read more.

03 May 2013

First Friday

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.

02 May 2013

Pilgrims, poor or rich, whether coming or going to the place of St James, must be received charitably and respected by all peoples. For whoever will take them in and diligently procure hospitality for them, will be hosting not only St James but even the Lord Himself. For the Lord himself said in the gospel, ‘He who receives you, receives me’.

-- Codex Calixtinus

Total Mess in Shanghai-- Sneak Preview of the American Patriotic Catholic Church?

This story comes from STLToday via AP:

Shanghai bishop funeral held amid successor crisis

Funeral services were held Thursday for Shanghai Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, while the whereabouts of his anointed successor remained unclear amid a struggle for control between the Vatican and the ruling Communist Party.

Jin died Saturday at age 96, leaving deep uncertainty about the future leadership of one of China's largest and wealthiest dioceses.

His successor, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, was placed under house arrest last year immediately after he renounced his role in the Communist Party-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association. Ma had been confined to Shanghai's main seminary at Sheshan, but reportedly was moved recently to an undisclosed location.

The officially atheist Communist Party insists on tightly controlling all organized religions. It requires that Catholics worship in churches that belong to the Patriotic Association and demands the right to appoint bishops in defiance of the Vatican. Despite that, Ma had been approved by both the Vatican and Beijing, making his public renunciation of the Patriotic Association at his July 7 ordination Mass a grave affront to the party.


After Ma renounced the Patriotic Association, it stripped him of his title as "coadjutor," or acting, bishop but the Vatican refused to recognize the move and has continued to view Ma as Shanghai's auxiliary bishop.


Jin had been criticized by some for cooperating with Mao's successors in reviving the church in Shanghai, but later reconciled with the Vatican and worked to heal divisions between Catholics who worship in the state church and those who do so in underground congregations.


China has an estimated 8 million to 12 million Catholics. Despite official requirements, around half worship in congregations outside the control of the Patriotic Association.


Michael Voris sometimes refers to some members of the Church's U.S. hierarchy as the American Patriotic Church, which is always worth a chuckle.  And yet it is a prospect that is not impossible to envision-- an actual, schismatic Patriotic Church that allows gay marriage and adoption, allows contraception, and so on.  Though it seems as though there would at least be clarity about exactly which one was Catholic, over time, the situation in China has become a confusing one for Chinese Catholics who suffered in the underground Church as Rome made repeated attempts to reconcile the Party-friendly regime.  Some repent, some apostasize, some recant-- and confusion reigns.

If a government with the philosophical program of Mao, the morality of a folding chair, and the intellectual force of a runaway cotton ball decides to finally clamp down on those annoying Catholics, you can be sure they will have plenty of Patriotic Catholics to support them.

May Mary avert such a disaster, though we of course don't deserve her effort.  

Did I mention this Saturday is First Saturday?