29 September 2013


Solemn High Mass at the Oratory, with benediction and reception for Canon Wiener to follow.

O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.

Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.

27 September 2013

God Bless the Crescat Blog

I can't improve the post, so I'll just repost it with a link:

Marini to be named Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship?!?!?

… Is your bar stocked? It’s gonna be a long papacy.

Looking at the bright side; if the rumors prove to be true at least that Bad Vestments blog might get regularly updated now. I’ll just be staying drunk till the next conclave, m’kay.

Dust off your copies of Quo Primum-- it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Human Activity Meets Divine Providence

“When any evil happens to you, apply whatever remedies you can and do this in a way agreeable to God, since to do otherwise is to tempt God. Having done this, wait with resignation for the results it may please God to send. If it is his will that the remedies overcome the evil, then humbly return him thanks. If it is his will that the evils overcome the remedies, then bless him with patience.” 

-- St. Francis de Sales

Meatless Friday, Bad Football Edition

Lots of badness to go around, but this quoted stat is my favorite:

“49ers had 11 drives of 12 yards or less. And won 35-11."

 Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com

25 September 2013

If You Don't Go to the Oratory for Mass this Sunday...

...then there's something wrong with you.

Sorry to be harsh, but there it is.

OK, I kid. But I kid because I love!

Solemn High Mass with Benediction at 10am. Reception to welcome back Canon Michael Wiener thereafter.

It's Michaelmas, for Pete's sake!

To review: you will be at the Oratory this Sunday, Michaelmas, September 29, at 10 am.

That is all.

Local Catholics Walk to Remember Father Kapaun

A friend of mine who is participating in this event On October 12 asked me to post this information about his team:

Team Kapaun

Team Kapaun will be walking in honor of Father Emil Kapaun. Father Kapaun, was born in Pilsen, Kansas in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas on Holy Thursday, April 20, 1916. He was ordained as a Priest for the Diocese on June 9, 1940 and entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 1944.

Separated from the service in 1946, he re-entered the Army in 1948 and was sent to Japan the following year.

In July of 1950 Father Kapaun was ordered to Korea. On November 2 of that same year he was taken as a prisoner of war. In the seven months in prison, Father Kapaun spent himself in heroic service to his fellow prisoners without regard for race, color or creed.

To this there is testimony of men of all faiths. Ignoring his own ill health, he nursed the sick and wounded until a blood clot in his leg prevented his daily rounds. Moved to a so-called hospital, but denied medical assistance, his death soon followed on May 23, 1951.

The Diocese of Wichita and the Vatican have begun the formal process that could lead to Father Kapaun’s canonization. In 1993, it was announced that Fr. Kapaun would receive the title of “Servant of God”.

Father Kapaun was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in April. Beyond the obvious significance of his service to our Country, there is a local connection as Father Kapaun did his priestly studies at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.


The team will also have 500 Holy Cards of Fr. Kapaun to hand out to participants that day.

24 September 2013

Sermon for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

The following sermon was given by Canon Raphael Ueda this past Sunday at St. Francis de Sales Oratory:

In today’s Gospel a poor paralytic is presented to Our Lord. He probably had himself brought there to ask for bodily health, but in the presence of the purity and holiness which emanates from the person of Jesus, he realizes that he is a sinner and remains confused and humiliated before Our Lord. Jesus has already read his heart and seeing his faith and humility He does not even wait for him to speak but suddenly says to him with kindness. “Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Then the first miracle has taken place. Jesus, who came to save souls, rightfully healed the soul before the body. 
The Gospel presents Jesus to us in all the splendor of His divine personality, possessing all the powers proper to God. Today’s Epistle also shows Him in the act of putting his divinity at our service to sanctify and make us participate in his Divinity. Jesus continues to do for our souls what he did for the soul of the paralytic. Today’s Epistle is a beautiful synthesis of His action in us, an action far reaching and complete, embracing our whole being. 

Souls are, as they were, God’s treasure, he has created them in His image and likeness by an act of love and by an ever greater act of love He has redeemed them with the Blood of His only-begotten Son. And one who has penetrated the mystery of God’s love for men, the one who has been redeemed by Him, cannot remain indifferent to them. In spite of all the contradictions and difficulty in this world,  by the light of faith, he has understood that all that God does is in the end for man’s good and for his eternal happiness. And once someone has a glimpse of God’s love, he longs to have some share in this action, knowing that he can do nothing which will be more pleasing to God than to lend his humble collaboration for the salvation of those who are so dear to Him.

This was always the ardent desire of the saints. And this must be ours also. St. Therese of Avila said “This is an inclination given me by Our Lord and I think He prizes one soul which by His mercy and through our diligence and prayer, we may have gained for Him more than all the other services we can render Him.”

In fact nothing exalts His goodness, love and mercy more than the work of saving souls. Therefore to love God and His Glory means to love souls. It means to work and sacrifice oneself for their salvation.

Regardless of the degree of charity to which a soul may have attained and of his particular vocation, there is for every Christian a duty of apostolate based on the very fact of his being a Catholic, that is, a member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

St. Paul says “So we being many are one body in Christ.” For as in our body each member is interested in the welfare of the other members, and if one member suffers anything, all the others suffer with it. And also as the back, the hands, the head and the eyes of our body do not disregard the good of the foot, but each in its own way, hastens to help the suffering member, so no Catholic can be unconcerned about his brother but is obliged according to his ability to work for the good if his neighbor’s soul ... and this by reason of his Baptism which constitutes him as a member of Mystical Body, making him one with the other members so that the good of other is his Good, the suffering of others is his suffering.

So no one is fulfilling his own duty if he ignores his neighbor’s salvation because all of us are members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

The saint said “If you dare to contend that you have nothing in common with your fellow member, if you think you have nothing in common with your brother, then neither have you Christ for your head," and these strong words remind us that the apostolate is not something optional, left to the free will and generosity of individual, it is the express duty of every Catholic.

Jesus by his death on the Cross merited grace for us. And even though it was possible for Him personally, immediately to impart these graces to men, yet He wished to do so only through a visible Church where every man would perform a work of collaboration with Him in dispensing the grace of Redemption. The Church is the society of the faithful. And each one of us constitutes the Church.
Therefore it is urgent for us to cooperate in the diffusion of grace in souls. Pope Pius XII said “Not only the sacred ministers and those who have consecrated themselves to God in the religious life but also all the other members of Mystical Body of Jesus Christ have the obligation of working hard and constantly for the building and increase of this Body."

Jesus wills to make use of His members to continue His redemptive work in the world. Being infinite and omnipotent He can sanctify souls without help from anyone, just as He created everything out of nothing, but He wills to need us and our poor works. He invites us and begs us to sacrifice ourselves with Him for the salvation of others. 

The salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary mortifications undertaken for this end by the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ and on the cooperation of the pastors and of the faithful.
As St. John Bosco saw in his vision, often the Church is compared to the ship navigating in the ocean of this world. And in this ocean there are also the enemy ships that move to attack it, and they try in every way to stop it and to sink it. Sometimes it happens that struck by strong blows, it gets large, deep gaps in its side. But no sooner is the harm done than a gentle breeze blows from the two columns of the devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to Mary, Help of Christians.  And the cracks close up and the gaps are stopped.

We are on the same ship and share somehow the same destiny.  Let us continue to pray for each other. Amen.

On the Other Hand

The UK Telegraph blogs that Pope Francis signed off on an excommunication decree against a pro-sodomitical-union priest in Australia.  The blog post is somewhat short on specifics, but parsing the politically tilted language of the original article it cites here, one could surmise the priest was also schismatic.  Well, let's light a candle anyway, shall we?

And our beloved Cardinal Burke states outright that Nancy Pelosi should be denied Holy Communion until she renounces her pro-death politics, going farther than her local ordinary will go. 

La Merced

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Ransom.  A blessed feast day to you!

Relics of St. Therese in St. Louis, October 5-6

Click and enlarge the photo for information.

23 September 2013

Ruthless Comboxing

There has been a rule on this site for years that any comment submitted for posting must have a name attached to it.  It is true I have at times honored this more in the breach.  Usually this is because comments "contrary" to my opinion tend to be more likely to be anonymous than those that "support", and I have wanted to avoid charges that I squelch comments from those who disagree.  I don't.  I enjoy the exchange of opinion that forms the real basis for blogs to flourish.  

Don't get me wrong, favorable or complimentary comments are always welcome, and I am grateful.  But it would be a boring combox indeed to have uniform agreement, and I am equally grateful for anyone who thinks enough of the site or the topic to take the time to disagree or add a unique take.  

As you probably know, one of my favorite sites is Rorate Caeli, and I was disappointed when they decided to close the comboxes.  Their reasons are their own, and I don't question them.  For instance, their numbers dwarf my own, and they have been especially targeted by some with scandalous, libelous accusations.  In short, they are big enough to be on radars that pass me by.  I am content with my littleness, to quote St. Therese. 

But enough people read this site (7 and counting)  that it can sometimes do some good, as well as some bad, I dare say. All the more reason do I encourage comments of all varieties.  I think one of the good things about comboxes in these troubled days is that it is easy to feel isolated when one tries to be Catholic.  This blog, all Catholic blogs, can fill the need for a "virtual parish" and community.  

What parish out there contains only persons who think identically?  None, and so there is no such blog.  Feel free to comment here.  

However, here's the thing.  Some are quick to ascribe the comboxers' opinions as the blogger's.  Most don't, but some do.  I have had some friends "ditch" my acquaintance for some things said by commenters in the box, because they held me responsible for them.  I respectfully disagree with that position, with some reservations.  I don't allow profanity, and I don't allow comments that promote schism or heresy, and I don't allow comments that encourage contumely for the Church or her shepherds.  If these ever get through, it is by mistake on my part.

You have to decide; do you want free conversation and argument in the combox, or don't you?  I do.  I respect the decision of Rorate to drop them, but I think something important gets lost.  Not everyone has an agenda, many just want to ask questions and try to pursue truth, get or give advice, seek or give encouragement, etc.

So, all that in mind, I will from now on ruthlessly enforce the "no anonymous comment" rule.  This does not mean you have to give your real name or url or email.  It just means you have to put a name, any name, to a post.  Click "anonymous" and subscribe your post.  Or better yet, choose "name/url" and put a name.  Of course, google and blogger have their own ids which can be used if you prefer.

Thank you to everyone who reads, and to everyone who writes.  God bless you all, and may Mary protect us in the days to come.

20 September 2013

A Modest Proposal on the Pope and the Media

No sentient Catholic can fail to have noticed that the Pope has made news through his press conferences and spontaneous public comments. The secular press has made much of these comments, which are generally reported to be either 1) changes in Catholic teaching; or, 2) changes in emphases of Catholic teachings that the press hopes signals future changes to Catholic teachings.

The response of some in the Catholic world to these fairly discouraging events is to maintain that the Pope being systematically and unfairly misquoted and quoted out of context by a hostile press with its own agenda. To these people, the Pope isn't doing anything but reaching out to the world with the constant teaching of the Church, and is being manipulated by the press through no fault of his own. This simple Pope, they say, just doesn't have the experience in dealing with the media to manage it all well.

Certainly the mainstream press has a definite agenda that is contrary to that of the Church. But there is one thing that I propose we give a permanent rest: the idea that the Holy Father is unaware of the reaction his words will provoke.

Can we stop blaming the secular press for all this?

He knows exactly what he is doing.

But, but!... But nothing. The first misquoted press conference, yes. The second even. Maybe, in an effort to stretch a best case scenario, three clunkers.

We are way beyond that now. There have been many such shocking reports about what he did or did not say. The blame-the-media crowd would have us believe that the Holy Father is too naive or unintelligent for the job. I give him credit for intelligence and awareness. The Pope himself has shown in press conferences that he is aware of the reaction to previous public comments.

He says things on purpose, and knows how they might be reported. He knows how they have been reported, even if he did not intend the things reported.

If you'll pardon me, you won't get bad-old-media line here.

So, then, why is the Holy Father doing this? Two general categories of explanations seem to be out there:

1. He is super shrewd, and engaging the remnants of modern anti-culture in a way people are not used to hearing from the Church, in the hopes this will get people to look at the Church in a new way, and thus draw them back.

2. He is trying to signal that the Church will not insist on enforcing doctrines, but instead will focus on the big tent, ecumenical approach to building the Church. Dialogue instead of ecumenism of return. The 'Spirit of Vatican II'.

For purposes of this post, I do not choose, and allow all to make their own call, as to which is more likely. There may be other reasons. Feel free to share.

But don't tell me the Holy Father isn't acting with purpose.

19 September 2013

Let's Talk about Quebec

Why, you ask?  Because it's my blog.  Because it is a cautionary tale to American Catholics and a warning that we could yet-- though probably won't-- heed.

My family and I were blessed to visit Quebec in 2012.  We absolutely loved it.  We spent many days both in Montreal and Quebec City and other areas. As I wrote last year, we were Canada's second most popular tourist attraction.

That fact is just one practical symptom of Quebec's problem.  And as usual, Quebec's problem is the Catholic Church's problem.

Quebec's Neutron Bomb
At the time, I had several gut reactions to Quebec.  First of all, it is beautiful, with stunning architecture and natural beauty.  And it is so "Catholic" in the harmony between nature and artifice, faith and culture.  Streets are mostly named after saints.  Churches of great beauty abound.  Due to the historical 'accident' of being founded by Catholic France, then taken over by Britain before the anti-Catholic French Revolution (and Britain allowing freedom to practice the Catholic Faith, which it did not give to its own citizens a century or so earlier), it retains a look and feel of a royalist French province.

And yet, it is inescapably obvious that this impression is a facade. I commented to my lovely wife, Sharon, that it was as though someone had dropped a neutron bomb on Quebec.  All the Catholics are gone, but their stuff remains. 

Catholic churches. Catholic buildings.  Catholic art.  Catholic cultural residue.  No Catholics.

The impetus of this post is this article that I found referenced and discussed on the Fisheaters forum.  The title is half-right:  
 "Neither Practising nor Believing, but Catholic Even So".

But of course, you can't be Catholic if you neither believe nor practice.  So goes that truth, so goes Quebec.  

In Montreal, the Basilica of Notre Dame (which you see in the photo above) is a stunning Church, inside and out.  We visited it once-- actually, twice, because the first time we were denied entry because there was a "light show" for paying customers.

When we returned the next day, we saw a glorious church with some weird lighting. There is a chapel behind the sanctuary you see above that is stupendously ugly. That is where the weekday Masses are celebrated. It was built in 1970. As far as I know, no one has yet been prosecuted for it.

That is a microcosm of Qubec's institutional Church: loss of confidence in the Faith, mired in 1960s ugliness, hawking its past to tourists instead of converting souls.

The Museum of Civilization as a description of Quebec

There is an otherwise fine museum in Quebec City called, rather ambitiously, The Museum of Civilization

There is a permanent exhibit there on the history of the Québécois people; as far as production values go, it is exceptionally well done. There are essays, multimedia presentations, and memorabilia. Great, until you get to the modern era. There is a term for the flushing of Western civilization that is particular to Quebec-- The Quiet Revolution. This was a true revolution that embraced the most destructive secularism and threw off the "shackles" of Christ's true religion. I guess it was inconvenient.

There is an exhibit at the museum about Catholicism and the state. It glorifies the state and basically assigns the Church, Communism-like, to the dustbin of histoire. The write-up sounded like Henry VIII wrote it. You see, the people took their rightful role and booted the Church from its insidious control over education, healthcare, and the family. Now that people could sin at will, everyone was much happier. Hopefully soon all the Catholics will die.

I barely exaggerate.

My wife and I got a bit miffed, but also enjoyed some gallows humor, at the display of antique Catholic relics like altars, breviaries, etc. my favorite: the Brown Scapular. The description of this included this beauty: "this was worn by Catholics until the mid-twentieth century. Catholics were told that wearing this item would guarantee their entry into heaven..."

My family all had on our scapulars. I checked mine. No expiration date.

There is no denying that the Church in Quebec has withered in a way even a cynical American couldn't (yet) recognize. The article states it this way:

Their forebears sacrificed what little they had - they had no choice, since it was forcibly extracted in the form of a tithe legalized in the Quebec Act of 1774 - to adorn Quebec with the biggest, most ornate parishes in the New World. But when baby boomers rebelled against the Church's repression and hypocrisy, against the tedious, ritualistic lives and fearful piety of their parents, they didn't ruminate.

A description worthy of Anglo-Toronto's paper of record. Church's repression? If only. It goes on:

Church attendance, which stood at more than 90 per cent before 1960, didn't so much collapse as vaporize - at least among those born after 1945. "At a precise moment, during the year 1966 in fact, the churches suddenly emptied in a matter of months. A strange phenomenon that no one has ever been able to explain," Father Leclerc, the priest in Denys Arcand's Barbarian Invasions , tells a French appraiser to whom he is trying to peddle church artifacts.

No one can explain any connection to the year after Vatican II ended? The super-de-duperest bestest council ever? I might be able to explain that, Father.

And what does Quebec have now? A welfare state. No God. No Church. No children. No hope.

Catholics in the U.S. are on notice. We've already begun the descent here. Is there any chance to stop it?

Fatima Conference Videos

I apologize for the sparse posting of the past week, as feeding my family has put a dent into important blogging time.

I would be remiss if I did not urge you to check out the website of the recently concluded Fatima: the Path to Peace conference.  You can access videos of most of the talks, and they are extremely enlightening and encouraging.

Yes, I am one of those who maintain the consecration of Russia has not been done as Our Lady requested.  Why?  Because I can read and understand terms like "convert", "Russia", "peace", and because I trust Our Lady to do what she says.  But more seriously, the evidence of the failure to consecrate and the withholding of the words of Our Blessed Mother in the Third Secret are well documented.  For a start, watch the relevant videos from this conference, and from last year's conference, which are linked at the site above.  Or you can read one of many books on the subject, most notably Antonio Socci's The Fourth Secret of Fatima.

17 September 2013

Fisher-More College Settles into New Campus

From friends down at Fisher-More College in Fort Worth, TX, comes this nice article in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram about its move to a new location, taking over a beautiful site formerly owned by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.

It is a college that aims to educate and form students in the traditions of the faith, and the traditional Mass and Office are available daily.

Fisher-More has a nice, revamped website to coincide with the move here.

13 September 2013

Ted: I just think this thing of always falling in love with incredibly attractive girls is-- really bad. Maybe, by resolving to go out with plain, or even rather homely girls I could avoid all that. I've got a real romantic illusion problem. Instead of a fantasy built on the pretty slope of an eyebrow or the curl of an upper lip-- to see the real person, maybe to even look into her eyes and see her soul.

Fred: What?

Ted: I resolve to out with only plain or even rather homely girls...

Fred looks at him with surprise.

Fred: What if-- and this is a hypothetical-- the one girl in the world with whom you could be happiest-- the girl with the most wonderful personality-- or soul-- imaginable-- also happened to be incredibly attractive? According to your theory, you wouldn't even look at her.

Ted: Oh, I'd look at her. I just wouldn't go out with her.

Fred: Your one chance at ultimate happiness would be gone.

Ted: I don't buy that, that there's just one girl who's right for you. Things don't work that way. I'm sure there are a lot of terrific plain or homely women.

Fred: Alright, but what if you don't meet any of those terrific plain or homely girls? What if the only women you meet and like, also happen to be incredibly attractive?

Ted: Do you think I'm an idiot? Of course, if the only women I meet and like are attractive, I'd make an exception.

Why do I tell you anything about this? I must be drunk...

Fred: No, you can confide in me.

Ted: It was just an idea.

Fred: Good, because it sounded really pathetic. Crazy.

Ted: Thanks.

-- Barcelona, 1992

John Burroughs Prom in Finland Today

At least, that is what I gathered from this story in the UK Guardian.

12 September 2013

I Don't Know What It Is. I Can Only Stand in Awe

Text of the Pope's Words on the Possibility of Salvation for Unbelievers

'Not without sorrow have we learned that another error, no less destructive, has taken possession of some parts of the Catholic world, and has taken up its abode in the souls of many Catholics who think that one should have good hope of the eternal salvation of all those who have never lived in the true Church of Christ. Therefore, they are wont to ask very often what will be the lot and condition after death of those who have not submitted in any way to the Catholic faith, and, by bringing forward most vain reasons, they make a response favorable to their false opinion. Far be it from Us, Venerable Bretheren, to presume on the limits of the divine mercy which is infinite; far from Us, to wish to scrutinize the hidden counsel and "judgments of God" which are "a great deep" [Psalms 36:6] and cannot be penetrated by human thought. But, as Our Apostolic duty, we wish your episcopal solicitude and vigilance to be aroused, so that you will strive as much as you can to drive from the mind of men that impious and equally fatal opinion, namely, that the way of eternal salvation can be found in any religion whatsoever. May you demonstrate with that skill and learning in which you excel, to the people entrusted to your care that the dogmas of the Catholic faith are in no wise opposed to divine mercy and justice.

'For, it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God. Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains "we shall see God as He is" [1 John 3:2], we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is "one God, one faith, one baptism" [Eph. 4:5]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry.'

-- Blessed Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadam, 1854

Links to Complete Series of Lenten Sermons on the Precepts of the Church, 2013

Septuagesima Sunday/ Feast of St. Francis de Sales: The Authority of the Church to Make Laws

Sexagesima Sunday: Contributing to the Support of the Church

Quinquagesima Sunday: The Sunday Precept

1st Sunday of Lent: Fasting and Abstinence (link will be provided when I have it)

2nd Sunday of Lent: Yearly Confession

3rd Sunday of Lent: Marriage Precept

Laetare Sunday: The Easter Duty

Sermon on the Precept of Yearly Confession

Lenten Sermon Series A.D. 2013 Precepts, 2nd Sunday of Lent

And His face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow.”—Matt. 17: 2


Just after announcing his death, our Lord took three of his apostles, Peter, James & John, up to the Mount Tabor. He granted them a vision of his divinity so as to reassure them of his divine mission. Because Christ, from the first moment of his conception, enjoyed the Beatific Vision, his body is resplendent. However since he wanted to seem as ordinary men, he hid his splendor “in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3)” & only showed it in this vision at Tabor. The glory of his face & garments express the presence of grace.

Life of Grace in the soul

In us, this divine grace, elevates & sanctifies us. It will transform us “from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).” We first received it when we were baptized & made children of God. If we persevere in it we will see God face to face in the Beatific Vision.

Confession—restorer of grace

Once we have received sanctifying grace, we cannot lose it unless we commit mortal sin, that is, unless we turn away from God & his commandments in a grave matter. Since our blessed Lord knew of our frailty & the unstableness of our dedication to him, he established the sacrament of Penance as a plank to save us should we make shipwreck of our baptismal grace. For he who has committed mortal sin after baptism, it is the only way for him to escape the fires of hell and reach the blessedness of heaven. It therefore has the power to restore us to divine grace, taking away the hideousness of our sins. And where once we were the enemies of God, it reconciliates us with our Heavenly Father.

Precept of the Church

As a loving mother, Holy Church has a great solicitude for the souls of her children. Not wanting that we remain long in danger of eternal damnation, she has given us a precept in canon 989 of the Code of Canon Law: “After having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess his serious sins (peccata sua gravia) at least once a year.”

The sacred canons give other indications about this obligation: “In order to receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of Penance, the Christian faithful ought to be so disposed that, having repudiated the sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, they are converted to God. (can. 987)” & “A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind (specie) and in number all serious sins committed after Baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which one is conscious after a diligent examination of conscience. It is also recommended to the Christian faithful that venial sins also be confessed. (can. 988, §§1&2)”

To fulfill the precept one can go to confession at any time of the year, in any place & to any priest who has faculties to hear confessions.

Those who would be exempt from this precept are 1) they who have not reached the age of reason, & 2) they who have not sinned by grave matter since their last confession.

One would not fulfill the precept by a sacrilegious confession, in other words, one in which a mortal sin is deliberately concealed, or sorrow for sinning & a purpose of amendment are lacking.


By this precept to confess our sins at least once a year, the Church call us to a continual conversion to the Lord and exhorts us to avoid final impenitence. By it she cries out to us, in the words of Saint Catherine of Siena, “Do not despise the Blood of Christ!” Certainly should we fall into grievous sin, we should have recourse to the confessional as soon as possible. Many saints confessed their sins on a regular basis. So much did they, & so should we do likewise, take to heart the words of Saint Paul in today’s epistle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification...For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (I Thess. 4)

Sermon on the Precept of Marriage

As I noted earlier this week, I have now the two missing sermons from this year's Lenten Series on the Precepts of the Church. I will link them at right as part of the series, but to do so I need to run them as two distinct sermons, which I will do now and next post. Thanks again to the Institute for making these available.

Lenten Sermon Series 2013: 3rd Sun of Lent, Precept on Marriage

But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints (Ephesians 5:3)

In today’s epistle Saint Paul the Apostle exhorts us to live in Christ and warns us against such sins as would forfeit for us eternal life. As he says: “For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one - for that is idolatry - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5: 5) Instead we are to “walk, as children of light, for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth.” (Ibid. v.9) Now a very grave sin, though not the gravest, which leads many a soul to hell is impurity. Our Lady when she appeared to the three shepherd children of Fatima lamented that most souls in hell are there because of this kind of sin. Now to avoid any type of sin we need divine grace. We need actual grace which helps us to do good and avoid evil in the face of temptation. And we need sanctifying grace, which is the very life of the soul, so as to be united to God by the bond of love which motivates us to seek in all things His most holy Will. Christ instituted seven sacraments as the conduits of divine grace. Each one is a remedy of sin and its consequences. The sacrament of Marriage was instituted, as Saint Thomas Aquinas says, “as a remedy against concupiscence in the individual, and against the decrease in numbers that results from death.” (ST IIa IIae q. 65, a.1)

Church Authority over Marriage

Being a sacrament, the Church has great care to preserve the integrity of Marriage and to safeguard it. Over the course of centuries she has made laws concerning it, having received that authority from Christ Himself, “I promise you, all that you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and all that you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) The Church states her authority in Canon 1059: “Even if only one party is Catholic, the marriage of Catholics is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of civil authority concerning the merely civil effects of the same marriage.”

Church Laws concerning Marriage

There are several laws concerning this sacrament, but I will expound on those which should be in the forefront of the mind when one is considering marriage.

1. To observe Canonical Form, since the Council of Trent, the Church has made a law that all Catholics be married in the presence of an authorized priest and two witnesses. The Church has made this law so as to protect the marriage contract which by its nature should be known publicly. By the public knowledge thereof the rights of the contracting parties are protected against the arbitrary disavowal of the fact of marriage and the rights of the children are likewise protected. A Catholic attempting marriage outside the Church would contract no marriage at all. Also it is a way of reminding the couple of the sacramental nature of marriage.

2. Not to marry non-catholics: Married life has many joys, but also trials and difficulties. Already it is difficult for two persons to harmonize in a peaceful manner, but if they disagree on very fundamental things such as the purpose of life, the understanding of human nature and eternal life, how much harder must it make family life. In addition, just as the great King Solomon fell from wisdom into folly through the influence of his pagan wives and worshiped their false gods, so likewise there is the danger of losing the faith for a Catholic to marry a non-catholic. There is also the possibility that the catholic party succumb to religious indifference, considering all religions to be the same, as if yes means no, and no means yes. Now in certain cases the diocesan bishop may grant a dispense from this impediment if the faith of the catholic party and the eventual children can be safeguarded.

3. Not to marry close relatives: Church law forbids marriages between any generations in the direct line (for example, a parent cannot marry his child, nor a grandparent a grandchild) and up to and including the fourth degree in the collateral line (no marriage between cousins).

4. Not to be celebrated during Advent & Lent: Because weddings are joyous occasions, the Church does not permit them during season of penance such as Advent and Lent.

5. Should already be confirmed, canon 1065, §1 Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before they are admitted to marriage if it can be done without grave inconvenience. The reason for this law is to reassure that one has received the sacraments in due time and is sufficiently catechized, and it provides yet another spiritual help for married couple.

What do these laws mean for the average Catholic in the pew? Well, if a couple is considering marriage, they must consult their pastor or the priest that has the care of their souls. The priest then will do an inquiry to make sure that there are no obstacles to the marriage and prepare them for this great sacrament. For everyone else, when the banns of marriage, the announcement of the future marriage, is published in the bulletin, if one knows of an obstacle to the announced marriage, he must make it known to the priest. This is important since in some cases the couple themselves may be ignorant of an impediment.


My dear faithful, Christ has given to his Church the authority to make laws in his name, for his greater glory and for the good of our souls. Her laws concerning marriage are then for our benefit and we must strive to obey them. Many in our day do not heed her voice, either out of ignorance or even out of flippancy. We must pray for such souls, ever mindful that without God’s grace we would be the same or even worse. Let us strive in all things to “Be imitators of God, as very dear children and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and delivered Himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice breathing out fragrance as he offered it to God.” Amen.

11 September 2013

Triumphalism of the Cross?

This Saturday is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which also commemorates the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  

I mention this because of an observation made to me by a wise Catholic friend whom I hold in high regard.  I had asked this person for a quick take on some words spoken by Pope Francis in a homily the other day, criticizing "triumphalist Christians" who "do not believe deep down in the Risen One", with "their triumphalist attitudes, in their lives, in their speeches, in their pastoral theology, liturgy, so many things..."  While the Holy Father did not specifically identify who these persons were, you may have noticed that Catholics who love the traditional Mass are a little jumpy these days.  I do not comment about whether there is reason to be jumpy, but jumpy many are.

This person noted what I noted-- that the group is not identified, that spontaneous homilies are not ex cathedra pronouncements, etc.  So far I had figured out.

But then my friend made an observation that struck me forcibly as being incredibly profound.

This person wondered if the liturgy at St. Francis de Sales was so triumphalist, where people freeze in the Winter and faint from heat in the Summer.  In response I thought of the monetary, physical and spiritual hardships of so many triumphalist families that homeschool, or bear large numbers of children, or who drive so far to go to the Oratory, or who live in neighborhoods of doubtful security in order to be near the Mass.  And of those who are the off-scouring of polite society for trying to live their faith as best they can.

Then, my friend had this to say:

"I don't know anybody who celebrates the old rite today who can experience a triumph, except that of the cross."


09 September 2013

Against Scandal

Canon William Avis of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was kind enough to send me some of his sermons of this past year about which many of the faithful have asked.  Here is the first, from the Third Sunday after Easter, about the sin of scandal:


“Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 2 Peter 2:12

There is a dark, noxious cloud hanging over us.  Its weight crushes, its darkness obscures, its air putrefies.  What is this menace upon us?  It’s scandal.

Vae mundo a scandalis! “Woe to the world because of scandals.  For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.” CCC 2284 “Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.”  In other words scandal is the assassination of the soul.  Much like the bomb at the Boston Marathon, it shreds all who are around it.  But unlike the temporal loss of limb or life, scandal sends others into the eternal abyss of hell.

“But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, says our Lord, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  The Catechism teaches us that [2286] “Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to "social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible." [87] This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, [88] or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values. [2287] Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. "

Our Lord warned us saying, “The Son of Man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity.  And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Scandal is what prevents and decimates the new evangelization, which we hear so much about.   The sinful behavior of Catholics, whether true or “in name only”, turns people away from the Gospel.  Much like the wicked sons of Heli, their unjust actions causes man to withdraw from the worship of God.  A list too long to recount without vomiting could be made of all the scandals and scandalizers under which our present age suffers.  We could name many people, but first we must look to ourselves.  Have we caused scandal?  Have we led others into sin?  Has our sinful conduct brought about the rejection of the Faith by others?

Would be that it were not so!  For what shame is upon those who each day pray in the Our Father “Hallowed by Thy name” and yet violate and profane that Name by their deeds and by whose fault God Himself is blasphemed.  They are like those rebuked by the Apostle Saint Paul when he said: “For the name of God through you is blasphemed among the Gentiles.”  “For according to the sort of life and conduct led by those professing a particular religion, so precisely in the eyes of the multitude will be the opinion held of that religion and of its author.”

Instead we must be the contrary, as says the Roman Catechism: “Those, therefore, who live according to the dictates of the Christian religion which they have embraced, and who regulate their prayers and actions by its precepts, furnish others with a powerful motive for greatly praising, honoring and glorifying the name of our heavenly Father. As for us, it is a duty which the Lord has imposed on us, to lead others by shining deeds of virtue to praise and glorify the name of God. This is how He addresses us in the Gospel: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven; and the Prince of the Apostles says: Having your conversation good among the Gentiles, that they may, by the good works which they shall behold in you, glorify God.”

This of course excludes all hypocrisy for Christ taught us not to appear holy, but to be holy.  That means that each day we must convert to the Lord.  As the sacred liturgy bids us at each Mass everyday, “Sursum corda! Lift up your hearts!” that they be lifted up to the Lord.  Christ did not give us a religion of merely exterior comportment.  To the contrary, He commanded us to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.”  It is a constant battle to love God with the entirety of our being and our neighbor as ourselves.  But if we do, many will be brought to the Truth of the Faith by the goodness of our charity and the beauty of our deeds.  Then like the martyrs in Roman times, our witness to Christ will ignite the fire of divine love in the hearts of those who encounter us, and they will have the beginnings of eternal life.  In fine, Dissipate that dark cloud of scandal and heed the words of Saint Peter in today’s epistle, “Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God.”