31 May 2014

This Article Needs to Be Read in Full

Or stay asleep. Whatever.

Rorate has the post with the necessary translations.

Whatever you think about this whole situation, you must at least acknowledge it is an unprecedented novelty.

Feast of the Queenship of Mary

Today is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in the traditional calendar. You know, the real calendar, if that helps you to differentiate them. The great feast of the Visitation is July 2.

Today we celebrate and honor Our Lady under that most anti-modernist title: Queen. The Queen of Heaven and earth. Queen of the Universe.

May Mary our beloved Queen continue to sanctify us, purify us, correct us, guide us, pray for us, and protect us!

O Most Holy Virgin who wast pleasing to God and didst become His Mother. Immaculate in your body, in your soul, in your faith and in your love, we beseech thee to look graciously upon the wretched who implore thy powerful protection. The wicked serpent, against whom the primal curse was hurled, continues nonetheless to wage war and to lay snares for the unhappy children of Eve. Ah, do thou, our blessed Mother, our Queen and Advocate, who from the first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of our enemy, receive the prayers that we unite single-heartedly to thine and conjure thee to offer at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares that are laid for us, in such wise that we may all come to the haven of salvation; and in the midst of so many dangers may holy Church and the fellowship of Christians everywhere sing once more the hymn of deliverance, victory and peace. Amen.

30 May 2014

Apocalypse 3: 1-6

31And to the angel of the church of Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know thy works, and that thou hast the name of being alive. And thou art dead.et angelo ecclesiae Sardis scribe haec dicit qui habet septem spiritus Dei et septem stellas scio opera tua quia nomen habes quod vivas et mortuus es
32Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God.esto vigilans et confirma cetera quae moritura erant non enim invenio opera tua plena coram Deo meo
33Have in mind therefore in what manner thou hast received and heard: and observe and do penance: If then thou shalt not watch, I will come to thee as a thief: and thou shalt not know at what hour I will come to thee.in mente ergo habe qualiter acceperis et audieris et serva et paenitentiam age si ergo non vigilaveris veniam tamquam fur et nescies qua hora veniam ad te
34But thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.sed habes pauca nomina in Sardis qui non inquinaverunt vestimenta sua et ambulabunt mecum in albis quia digni sunt
35He that shall overcome shall thus be clothed in white garments: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. And I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.qui vicerit sic vestietur vestimentis albis et non delebo nomen eius de libro vitae et confitebor nomen eius coram Patre meo et coram angelis eius
36He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.qui habet aurem audiat quid Spiritus dicat ecclesiis

"Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago."

"It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago; or to anyone who ever sailed a skiff under a quilt sail, the moment in 1492 when somebody thought This is it: the absolute edge of no return, to turn back now and make home or sail irrevocably on and either find land or plunge over the world's roaring rim."

--William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust (1948).

Lines are Drawn; Knives are Out; Masks are Off

These are metaphors, people.  All appropriate to the situation in the Church.
It isn't just that people are asleep.  It isn't just that the watchmen who sound the alarm wake very few.  But there are those who will do anything, defame anyone, resort to any tactic, to kill the watchmen and make sure the sleepers do not awake.
The tension is palpable, at least to me.  Is it to you?  No?  Sleep away. 

.  .  .  
Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me. Matthew 26: 45-46

"Like forcing a healthy patient to take medicine."

For the Record: More on the Ongoing Destruction of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Story at Rorate.

29 May 2014

You Don't Shea!

Blogging is hard enough.  For me, coming up with headlines is even harder.

I read the perfect headline the other day over at the Remnant's blog about a recent escapade of my second-favorite neo-Catholic blogger, the very blustery Mark Shea.
You see, I was going to title this post, "Mark Shea loses all credibility", but as an attorney I could see that this was objectionable, as it assumed facts not in evidence. 
Then I was going to try "Mark Shea loses the last bitter shreds of any possible claim, stemming from any source, however misguided, to any possible credibility, even with those so gullible as to enjoy reading Simcha Fischer", but it seemed not very catchy.

So, instead, I give you the brilliant headline of the wonderfully entertaining and informative article by Remnant columnist Chris Jackson, and just ask that you read the post in full:

Meatless Friday Thursday: Ascension Thursday Thursday Edition

Fact: Our Lord ascended to heaven on a Thursday.
Suggestion: Why not celebrate this Feast on a Thursday, namely Ascension Thursday?

Fact: The Sunday after Ascension Thursday has its own proper Mass.
Suggestion: Why not celebrate it on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday?

If you haven't made Mass yet today-- Ascension Thursday-- there is still Solemn High Mass this evening at St. Francis de Sales Oratory at 6:30 pm.

Masses for the Sunday after the Ascension are at 8 am and 10 am, as usual.

Have a blessed Feast day, today, Ascension Thursday!

As a help for the scrupulous and for further discussion, see a past post here.

28 May 2014

The Time Will Come, at the Time Our Lord Wills; Do Not Hasten It

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.

--St. Francis de Sales

Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.  But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.  And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles:  But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak.  For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. 

The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death.  And you shall be hated by all men for my name' s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.  And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.  The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?     

Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.  And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 

Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows.  Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.  But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.  Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.  For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.     

And a man' s enemies shall be they of his own household.

--Mathew 10: 16-36

English Bishops' Conference Weighs in on Same-sex Civil Unions

Readers, the above headline is taken, word-for-word, from the article over at Catholic Culture.

Note it doesn't say: English Bishops' Conference Opposes Same-sex Civil Unions

The bishops spoke about a governmental proposal to automatically convert all 'civil unions' (foisted earlier on the public) into 'marriages'. I mean, if the government can decide by fiat who is the King, or whether the Pope is the head of the Church, then redefining marriage seems a small thing.

The question you may be asking, "Who are they to judge?" is perhaps apropos, in that if this indeed is the judgment of the bishops in England, perhaps they oughtn't weigh in on the subject. From the story:

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, chairman of the conference’s Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, expressed opposition to the proposal.

“Some lesbian and gay Catholics do not wish to enter into civil same-sex marriage because of their deeply held belief that marriage is between a man and a woman only, but still wish to have the legal rights that are contained in a civil partnership,” he said. “The removal of the option for same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships could cause great harm to those Catholics and others.”

“It is important that those who share the protected characteristics of sexuality and religion continue to be able to manifest their religious beliefs whilst not being denied the legal protections that are offered by a civil partnership,” he added.

But don't worry. The Archbishop issued this further 'clarifying' statement:

My recent comment on civil partnerships was solely in response to a specific government consultation on whether to abolish civil partnerships or convert them all into marriages in law. My comment should not be misunderstood … I was dealing solely with this issue of conscience which has now arisen given the current law, and my response should not be misinterpreted as a wider commentary on civil partnerships in general.

Not exactly Regnans in Excelsis.

Perhaps this kind of slippery slope trajectory is why "civil union" legislation and policies should continue to be opposed vigorously by Catholics and their shepherds. It is so unfair, after all, that the people who have merely taken advantage of an unjust law weakening the institution of marriage should be forced to violate their delicate consciences by calling their situations 'marriage'.

27 May 2014

Wow. Just... Wow.

Updated: Since The subject matter is the Holy Father, and there seems to be conflicting visual evidence, I'm going to remove the photos linked below. I haven't really found anything definitive yet-- if a definitive yes, I would keep the content up and/or put it back; if a definitive no, I would delete the post. I will update as necessary. The reason this placeholder post and link are here still is to preserve the combox discussion. Linked post is here.

24 May 2014

Reminder: Mass and Reception with Archbishop Carlson this Sunday

Solemn High Mass at 10am, reception to follow, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Meatless Friday Saturday, Civil War Edition

The U.S. Government spent over $1 billion dollars from 1860-1865 to wage the war that subdued the Southern states and ended slavery. That's 1865 dollars. And that doesn't include money spent by Confederate states.

In 1860, there were roughly 385,000 slave owners in the United States-- including states that did not secede.

Though slavery existed in many nations of the Western Hemisphere, every such nation ended slavery in the time between 1794 and 1888. Only two nations accomplished this via war: Haiti and the U.S.

So, being bored waiting for daughters' dance classes to end, I wondered how much would each slaveholder have gotten (in today's dollars) if the government simply bought the freedom of the slaves? The answer is, it depends on how you calculate it-- but the amount is significant.

This site discusses the various ways in which the value of a dollar may be calculated between different years; the manner of calculating this varies. You can read it yourself; I am no economist.

According to the site, an 1865 dollar would be worth between $12.80 and $1,680.00 today. Thus, the U.S. Government spent between $12,800,000,000.00 (12.8 billion) and $1,680,000,000,000.00 (1.68 trillion) in today's dollars.

Dividing the sums equally among the number of slave owners (yes, there are other ways to to this), each slaveholder would have gotten the following amount of today's dollars to free their slaves:

Simple cost of living: $38,480
Labor value: $319,800 (using unskilled labor value)
Labor value: $647,400 (using production level worker value)
Economic power: $4,368,000

Just a thought exercise, of course, though several countries did just that-- they compensated the former owners to secure the greater moral and societal good of ending the abhorrent practice of slavery. Again, the Lincoln administration spent from $12.8 billion to $1.68 trillion on the war. What if he just signed checks instead?

Oh, and in case you were wondering, 620,000 soldiers died in the war, and an undetermined number of civilians.

So This Happened

Feel free to ask Mark Shea why this isn't a big deal.

23 May 2014

Six New Priests to Be Ordained Tomorrow

It is not clear from the article if all these men are to be incardinated in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, but the news of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary producing six new priests is welcome indeed. Archbishop Carlson will celebrate the ordinations tomorrow at 10 am at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Please pray for these men that Our Lord and Lady will make them faithful and holy priests.

Photo from the St. Louis Review

Archbishop Carlson to Visit the Oratory this Sunday, Preach Sermon

Sunday, May 25 - 5th Sunday after Easter -10am High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory

The Sermon will be delivered by His Grace, the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of Saint Louis.

Afterwards, there will be the opportunity to greet His Grace at a reception in the church hall.

Come and welcome Archbishop Carlson back to the Oratory!

"An Attack on People's Memories"

Thanks to Rorate Caeli for tweeting this absolute gem of a story by Dominic Selwood at his blog on the UK Telegraph. It is a frank, interesting and (for a blog post) remarkably in-depth review of the English Protestant Revolution and the propaganda machine that killed England's memory of the true events.

Read it, and learn not only what really happened in that period of English history, but also see if you can spot any similarities to a more recent, top-down repression of the religion of the people. I can't help but post a few excerpts here, but please take the time to read it all. You won't be sorry you did.


How a Protestant spin machine hid the truth about the English Reformation

...Even now, the historical English disdain for all things Catholic is often regarded as irrefutable and objective fact. Otherwise why would we have been taught it for four and a half centuries? And anyway, the English are quite clearly not an emotional race like some of our continental cousins. We like our churches bright and clean and practical and full of common sense. For this reason, we are brought up to believe that Catholicism is just fundamentally, well … un-English.


...what emerges is a very different picture to the one we were taught in school.

It seems that in 1533, the year of Henry’s break from Rome, traditional Catholicism was the religion of the vast majority of the country. And in most places it was absolutely thriving.


It is true that English religion in the early 1500s was not especially studious or erudite. The people did not spend hours a day in biblical studies, contemplation, and moralising in the manner of the more intense European reformers. But England had a nationally cohesive spirituality that was alive and exuberant, with a distinctly community feel.


The first thing to go under the reformers’ axe was the cult of saints. The ancient robed and flower-garlanded effigies were smashed up and carted off. Stone and alabaster were ground up. Wood was burned. In addition to the dramatic loss of these cherished protector figures, the parishes were also deprived of around 40 to 50 saints’ “holy days” (holidays) a year, when no servile work was allowed from noon the previous day. This was a dramatic change to the rhythms of life the country had known for centuries. The reformers were keenly aware this would boost economic activity, and welcomed the increase in output it would bring.

The next biggest change was the abolition of purgatory. The reformers ridiculed the cult of the dead (“purgatorye ys pissed owte” one memorably wrote). But these age-old rites of death and the afterlife provided a unique framework that late medieval English people embraced to cope with death. When the reformers ripped out grave stones and brasses inviting prayers for the departed, when they burned the local bede-rolls remembering the dead of the parish, and when they sledge-hammered the chantry altars where relatives were daily prayed for, they did something even more profound than the vandalism. They stole the dead from the daily lives of their communities, rendering the deceased suddenly invisible to those long used to honouring and remembering their departed relatives and friends. Whether or not intentional, this was an attack on people’s memories.


Given the intensity of people’s attachment to early 16th-century popular religion, the stark Tudor reforms were met with incomprehension, outrage, and sometimes passionate violence.

The men sent to smash up the churches knew this grassroots anger all too well. There are innumerable records of the hostility and violence they faced from distraught parishioners trying to protect churches and graves.

Once the bussed-in workmen had inevitably triumphed, and the heat of confrontation had worn off, people were left bereft:

On the feast of the Assumption 1537 Thomas Emans, a Worcester serving-man, entered the despoiled shrine of Our Lady of Worcester, recited a Paternoster and an Ave, kissed the feet of the image, from which jewels, coat, and shoes had been taken away, and declared bitterly for all to hear, “Lady, art thou stripped now? I have seen the day that as clean men hath been stripped at a pair of gallows as were they that stripped thee.” He told the people that, though her ornaments were gone, “the similitude of this is no worse to pray unto, having a recourse to her above, then it was before.” (from Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars)


The conclusion of this modern grassroots scholarship is that bulldozing the Catholic Church off the face of medieval England was not a “bottom up” revolution in which Henry merely acquiesced to his people’s wishes by throwing off a widely hated foreign domination. To the contrary, it looks increasingly like Henry and his circle imposed the Reformation “top down”, unleashing 100 years of deep anger and alienation that was only overcome by sustained politicking and ruthless force. Politics and economics have always fitted together snugly, and it was no different in Henry’s day. By spreading some of the lands and wealth stolen from the monasteries, Henry was able to create a firm coterie of influential landholders who had a financial interest in seeing the reforms through.


Like King Philip IV of France two centuries earlier surveying the wealth of the Templars, the temptation for Henry was just too much to resist.

The only problem was that although Cromwell’s plan suited Henry and his circle (who would all get very rich off the scheme), there was the small matter of the English people.

To change a country’s religion lock, stock, and barrel was no easy task. In the end, it took Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I. The strategy was fairly predictable for a medieval monarchy, and again, it has striking similarities with how Philip IV took out the Templars. Cromwell’s plan only needed three steps: outlaw everything to do with Catholicism; denigrate and malign it at every opportunity in official pronouncements and sermons; and execute anyone who objects.


The Tudor violence meted out to enforce the break with Rome was extreme, designed to deter by shock. For instance, one of Henry’s earliest victims was Sister Elizabeth Barton, a Benedictine nun. When she criticised Henry’s desire to marry Anne Boleyn, he had her executed, and her head spiked on London Bridge — the first and only woman ever to have suffered this posthumous barbarity.

Henry and his inner circle of politicians and radical clerics put to death hundreds of dissenters, pour encourager les autres. None of these people were plotting to kill him or destabilise his rule. Their “treason” was to oppose the destruction of their religion or the despoiling of their property. The brutal strangulation, emasculation, disembowelling, beheading, and quartering they endured as traitors was hideous, as was the total absence of any form of due process or justice.


The evidence shows that it actually took the Tudors around 45 years to eradicate all memory of this country’s Catholic past.


In the process of all the destruction, it was not just traditional day-to-day spiritual life, the free medical and social care provided by the monasteries, and a country full of creative thought and art that were obliterated. The reformers hacked out and discarded an entire slice of England’s history, alienating the English from an especially vibrant part of their own amazing past.

22 May 2014

You Really Have to Want to Do This

Because if you are doing it by accident, I don't like your chances.  N.B.  Don't watch this if you are squeamish.

Saul Alinsky Chosen as Visitor to the Franciscan Sisters

In the past I have "enjoyed", in the gallows humor sense, the employment by persecutors of Catholic tradition of the tried and true tactic of the Saul Alinsky:  accuse your enemies of the fault that you yourself possess in order to defuse the charge from being used effectively against you later.

Case in point-- Pelagianism: the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid. The teachings of Pelagius are generally associated with the rejection of original sin and the practise of infant baptism.

This charge was recently laid at the feet of the traditionally-minded Catholic.  You know, the one who still believes in the necessity of infant baptism and who acknowledges the efficacy of confession and the desirability of frequent recourse to it.  Well, to be sure, it was actually the label "neo-Pelagian".  Well, actually, "self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian", if you want to get all technical.

Or, take this one: crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist drift.  So, what is this?  Moreover, is this a bad thing?  It's a bad thing, right?  Huh?  This is what the apostolic visitor to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate cited as the problem with the order--which order is in the middle of being destroyed.  Ironically, this is not an auto-demolition of the order, as has happened to the Church in the last fifty years.  No, this is destruction from without, by those who foisted the larger destruction-from-within of the worldwide Church.

It is as though adhering to the traditional praxis of the Church is "crypto-lefebvrian" all by its lonesome.  Either it is, or it isn't.  If it is, then you are essentially accusing "Lefebvrians" of nothing more than adherence to the traditional praxis of the Church (and I don't think the accusers want to do that).  If it isn't, then adherence to the traditional praxis of the Church is in fact being condemned in and of itself-- pitting the accusers against Catholic faith and practice handed down through immemorial custom as well as stated in positive law.

But all this is beside the point, we are told by our neo-Catholic betters.  You see, the FFIs had it coming, because there was dissension in their own ranks.  They were divided, and thus an Apostolic visitor was needed. 

How, then, does that explain the need of a visitor for the unified body of the Franciscan sisters? No dissension cited there.  What gives?  Pat Archbold thinks he knows:  push so hard at traditionally-minded Catholics that you push them right into the SSPX, thus justifying all the crypto-lefebvrian and schismatic charges as a result.  Voila! Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Archbold points out that the FFIs haven't reacted this way yet, and he suspects the sisters won't either.  Time will tell.

As an aside, though the circumstances are not exactly identical, is not the Fisher-More punishment essentially the same thing (they had it coming)?  Whatever the faults of the college, or the order, isn't the extra-legal punishment the same (take the Mass away!) for the same charge (crypto-lefevbrianism!)?

My question as a result of all this inaccurate name-calling is a bit different.  Just who is schismatic?  The schism from the faith can occur on either side of this little fracas, so fraught with peril for the universal Church.  The Congregation for Religious is clearly sawing the branch off.  The question is whether they, Yosemite Sam-like, are not sitting on the branch they are sawing?

If they are not careful, as I mused above, they will be left equating the "crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist drift" of their enemies with nothing more than the crime of being Catholic. 

If someone wishes to punish a Catholic for wanting to celebrate the Missal of Pius V, which is a lawfully-promulgated liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church and which has never been abrogated, just who is being schismatic here?

21 May 2014

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

Have nothing to fear, it seems.

Where Did You Go to High School?

The children in the primary grades were sometimes required to make relief maps of Moonstone in sand. Had they used colored sands, as the Navajo medicine men do in their sand mosaics, they could easily have indicated the social classifications of Moonstone, since these conformed to certain topographical boundaries, and every child understood them perfectly.”

--From: Willa Sibert Cather, The Song of the Lark

19 May 2014

Seeking the Interior Life

Lord Jesus,
In your forgiveness I entered life,
Seeking You I encountered freedom,
Learning to trust You, my heart regained peace,
At Your side only,
I found the meaning of happiness,
Suffering with You,
the hidden joys of self-giving.
Oh Lord, how breathtaking it is to live in You!
To love and serve You is today
my heart's only plea.

18 May 2014

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter

Delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS, this Sunday:

Fourth Sunday after Easter-2014

Since last Sunday, the church has been preparing us for the Ascension of Our Lord which will fall on Thursday May 29th. In Today’s Gospel taken from the Jesus’ discourse after the last supper, Our Lord is speaking to the Apostles and preparing their souls for His departure.

Jesus says “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.” Only Jesus’ death could merit this great gift for us, and it was not until after His Ascension into heaven that the Holy Spirit could descend upon the church. The Apostles were about to lose the sensible, physical presence of their Lord, Jesus. And after His Ascension, the Holy Spirit would continue to do His in a secret, hidden and interior way but no less effective and real.

The interior life is less evident but nonetheless it is more real and enduring. Jesus said “Without me you can do nothing.” It is a truth that constantly reminds us of the primacy of Christ and in union with Him, the primacy of the interior life and of holiness.

Interior life is a life which seeks God in everything, a life of prayer and the practice of living in the presence of God. It connotes intimate, friendly conversation with Him, and a determined focus on internal prayer versus external actions, while these latter are transformed into means of prayer.

We should remember the necessity and the true nature of the interior life, because the true meaning of it, as given to us in the Gospel has been partially obscured by many false ideas. In particular it is clear that the notion of the interior life is radically corrupted in the theory of conversion by faith alone.

According to this idea, the mortal sins of the convert are not positively blotted out by the infusion of the new life of grace and charity; they are simply covered over, veiled by faith in the Redeemer. Thus there is not interior renewal of the soul. Man is saved just by the outer wrapping of the justice of Christ, according to this view, in order to be just in the eyes of God it is not necessary to possess that infused charity by which we love God supernaturally and our fellowmen for God’s sake. According to this view, however firmly the just man may believe in Christ Redeemer, he remains in his sin, in his corruption or spiritual death.

This grave misconception concerning our supernatural life, reducing it essentially to faith in Christ and excluding sanctifying grace, charity and merits, was destined to lead gradually to Naturalism; it was to result finally in considering as just, the man who, whatever his beliefs, valued and practiced those natural virtues which were known even to the pagan who lived before Christ.

In such an outlook, the most important question does not even arise. “Is he able without grace to love God the sovereign Good, the author of our nature, and to love Him, not with a merely superficial affection, but with a true love, more than he loves himself and more than he loves anything else?

The question still repeats under a more general way. “Is man able without some help from on high, to get beyond himself, and truly, deeply love Truth and Goodness more than he loves himself?”

Clearly these questions are deeply connected with understanding of the nature of our interior life. For our interior life is nothing but a knowledge of the True, and a love of Good; or better a knowledge and love of God.

Let us read the lofty idea which the Scriptures and especially the Gospels give us of the interior life.

According to the Scriptures the justification or conversion of the sinner does not merely cover his sins as with a mantle; it blots them out by the infusion of a new life by Baptism and by confessions.

The Psalmist implores, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy and according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. Wash me yet more from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed. Thou shall wash me and I shall be made whiter than snow. The similar expression repeats throughout the Bible. God is not content merely to cover our sins. He blots them out, He takes them away. So when St. John the Baptist sees Jesus coming toward him, he says; “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sin of the world."

The blotting out and remission of sins thus described by the Scriptures can happen only by the infusion of sanctifying grace and charity which is the supernatural love of God and of men for God’s sake. The prophet, Ezekiel, speaking in the name of God, tells us. “I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness and I will cleanse you from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit among you and I will cause you to walk in my commandments.

Sanctifying grace, the principle of our interior life, makes us truly the children of God because it makes us partakers of His nature. We cannot be sons of God by nature, as the Word is; but we are truly sons of God by grace and by adoption. And whereas a man, who adopts him his heir, God, when He loves us as adoptive sons, transforms us inwardly, giving us a share in His own intimate divine life.

We are still in the month of May which is dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. She, the Immaculate, full of grace from the first moment of her conception, takes our souls stained by sin and with a maternal gesture, cleanses them in the blood of Christ and clothes them with grace.

Mary’s soul is compared to a garden of virtues, an oasis of silence and peace where justice and equity reign. Every interior soul, even if living amid the tumult of the world, must strive to reach this peace, this interior silence, which alone makes continual contact with God possible.

Let us ask of Our Lady the grace of interior life so that we can live ever closer with God. Amen.

17 May 2014

"Wherein Lost Hopes are Found"

'A child with talent had to be kept “at the piano; so twice a week in summer and once a week in winter Thea went over the gulch to the Kohlers', though the Ladies' Aid Society thought it was not proper for their preacher's daughter to go "where there was so much drinking." Not that the Kohler sons ever so much as looked at a glass of beer. They were ashamed of their old folks and got out into the world as fast as possible; had their clothes made by a Denver tailor and their necks shaved up under their hair and forgot the past. Old Fritz and Wunsch, however, indulged in a friendly bottle pretty often. The two men were like comrades; perhaps the bond between them was the glass wherein lost hopes are found; perhaps it was common memories of another country; perhaps it was the grapevine in the garden—knotty, fibrous shrub, full of homesickness and sentiment, which the Germans have carried around the world with them.'

--Willa Sibert Cather, The Song of the Lark

15 May 2014

Sound Familiar?

...Depravity exults; science is impudent; liberty, dissolute. The holiness of the sacred is despised; the majesty of divine worship is not only disapproved by evil men, but defiled and held up to ridicule. Hence sound doctrine is perverted and errors of all kinds spread boldly. The laws of the sacred, the rights, institutions, and discipline -- none are safe from the audacity of those speaking evil. Our Roman See is harassed violently and the bonds of unity are daily loosened and severed. The divine authority of the Church is opposed and her rights shorn off. She is subjected to human reason and with the greatest injustice exposed to the hatred of the people and reduced to vile servitude. The obedience due bishops is denied and their rights are trampled underfoot. Furthermore, academies and schools resound with new, monstrous opinions, which openly attack the Catholic faith; this horrible and nefarious war is openly and even publicly waged. Thus, by institutions and by the example of teachers, the minds of the youth are corrupted and a tremendous blow is dealt to religion and the perversion of morals is spread. So the restraints of religion are thrown off, by which alone kingdoms stand. We see the destruction of public order, the fall of principalities, and the overturning of all legitimate power approaching. Indeed this great mass of calamities had its inception in the heretical societies and sects in which all that is sacrilegious, infamous, and blasphemous has gathered as bilge water in a ship's hold, a congealed mass of all filth.

These and many other serious things, which at present would take too long to list, but which you know well, cause Our intense grief. It is not enough for Us to deplore these innumerable evils unless We strive to uproot them. ...We must raise Our voice and attempt all things lest a wild boar from the woods should destroy the vineyard or wolves kill the flock. It is Our duty to lead the flock only to the food which is healthful. In these evil and dangerous times, the shepherds must never neglect their duty; they must never be so overcome by fear that they abandon the sheep. Let them never neglect the flock and become sluggish from idleness and apathy. Therefore, united in spirit, let us promote our common cause, or more truly the cause of God; let our vigilance be one and our effort united against the common enemies.

Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: "the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty" and the admonition of Pope Agatho: "nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning." Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. ...

In this you must labor and diligently take care that the faith may be preserved amidst this great conspiracy of impious men who attempt to tear it down and destroy it. May all remember the judgment concerning sound doctrine with which the people are to be instructed. ...

Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.

To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church "was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain "restoration and regeneration" for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a "foundation may be laid of a new human institution," and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing "may become a human church."...

-- from Mirari Vos, Pope Gregory XVI, 1832 (emphases mine)

14 May 2014


Check it out.

"Even for the internet, it's pretty shocking."

Making 'Gay' Okay? Rousseau It Would Seem

Austin Ruse over at Crisis Magazine pens a very insightful article called The Gaying of America, in which he reviews Robert Reilly's book, Making Gay Okay. Excerpts from the article:

Customs change. Nature never does. Aristotle “taught that the essence, or Nature, of a thing is what makes it what it is and not something else.”

This is, well, naturally constraining to many who would strain against their nature or who see such nature as imposed by society, the family, or the Church.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau “turned Aristotle’s notion of Nature on its head. Aristotle said that Nature defined not only what man is but what he should be. Rousseau countered that Nature is not an end—a telos—but a beginning: man’s end is his beginning, or, as Allan Bloom expressed it, “there are not ends, only possibilities.”


But old nature is a powerful thing, and nature tied to conscience is practically unassailable, certainly unassailable without powerful justifications, rationalizations, and as it turns out, the embrace and celebration of society. Aristotle wrote, “Men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives.” One thing you notice in the MSM debates is how immediately it becomes personal and this is precisely because it is so personal.

Reilly says the insistent voice of conscience must be muffled in favor of persistent sinning. The sinner does this through internal justification and rationalization and the further insistence that the sin be accepted and even celebrated by society at large.

Reilly tells us “Rationalizations for moral misbehavior work like this. Anyone who chooses an evil act must present it to himself as good; otherwise, as Aristotle taught, he would be incapable of choosing it. When we rationalize, we convince ourselves that heretofore forbidden desires are permissible. In short, we assert that bad is good.” Conscience may struggle to the fore and repentance follows. “The temporary rationalization crumbles, and moral reality is restored.” What of habitual moral failure? Conscience must be “obliterated.”


Write this large and you see “As a moral act, sodomy should be normative. If it is normative, it should be taught in our schools as a standard. If it is a standard, it should be enforced. In fact, homosexuality should be hieratic: active homosexuals should be ordained as priests and bishops. Sodomy should be sacramentalized.”


How fast did all this happen? Fifty years ago, Frank Kameny was arrested in Lafayette Park, then a notorious homosexual trysting place across from the White House. Kameny lost his government job, sued and lost all the way to the Supreme Court but in the process became a gay icon.

In 2008 this hero of the gay movement wrote a public letter in which he said, “Let us have more and better enjoyment of more and better sexual perversions, by whatever definition, by more and more consenting adults…. If bestiality with consenting animals provides happiness to some people, let hem pursue their happiness. This is Americanism in action.”

In 2009 Barack Obama gave Frank Kameny an award in the White House.

Just an Observation

Many have already noted that the rush to raise John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II to the altars is a practical effort to "canonize the Council". May I add that it also seems to be an attempt to canonize the policy of rejecting the instructions of the Madonna regarding the Third Secret of Fatima?

The Springtime promised by the architects of the Council (convoked in 1959, the Preparatory Commission of which is instituted in 1960) has yielded a bleak Winter. Instead of revealing the Secret in 1960 as instructed by Heaven, John XXIII called the Council. The aftermath is well documented.

None of the post-1960 popes have revealed the words of Our Lady to the children that accompanied the Vision finally made public in 2000. And all of these men are or seemingly will be canonized.

And thus we wait, and suffer the consequences of doubt and disobedience. We see the results of a greater trust in worldly policy than in the promises and commands of the Mediatrix of All Graces.

Just one excerpt from Antonio Socci's The Fourth Secret of Fatima today, a quote from 20th Century theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, who says that without Mary:

"Christianity threatens to dehumanize itself inadvertently. The Church becomes functionalist, soulless, a feverish work incapable of stopping, dissipated in noisy projects. And since in this world dominated by men there is a continuous succession of ideologies which supplant each other, everything becomes polemical, critical, bitter, flat and finally boring, while the people remove themselves en masse from a Church of this sort." In Nuovi punti fermi [New Firm Points] (Jaca Book: Milan, 1980).

13 May 2014

It's been such a long long time
Since we loved each other and our hearts were true
One time, for one brief day,
I was the man for you

Last night I heard you talkin' in your sleep
Saying things you shouldn't say,
Oh, baby
You just may have to go to jail someday

Is there a place we can go,
Is there anybody we can see?
It's the same for you as it is for me

I ain't seen my family in twenty years
That ain't easy to understand, they may be dead by now
I lost track of 'em after they lost their land

Shake it up baby, twist and shout
You know what it's all about
What are you doing out there in the sun anyway?
Don't you know, the sun can burn your brains right out

My enemy crashed into the dust
Stopped dead in his tracks and he lost his lust
He was run down hard and he broke apart
He died in shame, he had an iron heart

I wear dark glasses to cover my eyes
There are secrets in em that I can't disguise
Come back baby
If I hurt your feelings, I apologize

Two trains running side by side, forty miles wide
down the eastern line
you don't have to go,
I just came to you because you're a friend of mine

I think that when my back was turned,
The whole world behind me burned
It's been a while,
Since we walked down that long, long aisle

We cried on a cold and frosty morn,
We cried because our souls were torn
So much for tears
So much for these long and wasted years

Bob Dylan, Long and Wasted Years

The Thirteenth of May, in the Year of Our Lord, the Two Thousand Fourteenth

On the idea of an Antichrist, no theologian (and perhaps no Churchman) has been more insistent than Cardinal Ratzinger in his many writings... Taking as his starting point The Account of the Antichrist by Vladimir Soloviev, wrote: "A phrase of Soloviev's is illuminating.  The Antichrist believes in God, but in the depths of his heart prefers himself." *  Does the Third Secret put the Church on guard against the arrival of a personage of this kind, who believes in God (and perhaps has studied theology), but "prefers himself"?**

...the only defensive weapon is the truth-- to speak the whole truth about the Third Secret.  "The truth will make you free."

-- Antonio Socci, The Fourth Secret of Fatima, pp. 166-67 (with notes from the original)

* "The second temptation of Jesus, whose exemplary significance is not easily comprehended, is intended as a sort of vision in which is condensed a particular risk that threatens man and the mission of Jesus.  What appears singular immediately is that it is the devil who cites Scripture, with the aim of pulling Jesus into his trap.  He cites Psalm 91:11 [SLC note: 90:11], where the protection that God assures His faithful is spoken of: 'For he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.'  These words assume a major significance because they are pronounced in the Holy City, in a sacred place... The devil is thus a good connoisseur of Scripture.  The colloquy is configured, therefore, as a debate between two experts on the Bible.  This same theme is taken up by Vladimir S. Soloviev in his Account of the Antichrist: the University of Tubingen confers an honorary doctorate of theology on the Antichrist.  If theology becomes purely a knowledge of Scripture and of the history of the Faith in order to adhere to other choices in life, then it is no longer at the service of faith, but rather destroys it.  The debate between Christ and Satan focuses on the correct interpretation of the Bible, whose norms are not of a purely historical character.  The question is how one reads the Bible, with what understanding one approaches Christ.  And a phrase of Soloviev's is illuminating: The Antichrist believes in God, but in the depths of his heart he prefers himself."  (Joseph Ratzinger, On the Road toward Jesus Christ, San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo (Mi), 2004).

** A hypothesis of this kind is also found in the writings of Maria Valtorta, according to whom the 20th century would be the period of precursors of the Antichrist, who will manifest himself in the present day and will be an ecclesiastic.  His arrival, which will be accompanied by a great falling away from the Church, is described thus: "Then will come the pastor-idol, who will be, and will stay, wherever his masters wish."

12 May 2014

Crimestop on Sam

It's only football, right? But when the NFL Draft is covered over three days, the first of which comes with a media frenzy that has the equivalent excitement of a cure for cancer, we sense that it is more. The NFL is our 'culture's' circus.

We have already been prepared for the Michael Sam experience, and now our town gets to host it.

And, no sense wasting time or starting slowly. No, instead, at the moment of his selection by the St. Louis Rams, we were forced to see an obviously emotional Sam (drafted, congrats, totally appropriate) lengthily kiss another man. And God help you if that display disgusted you.

Well, one NFL player took to twitter to publicly express his gross-out. This may not speak well for his prudence, but it is some testimony that the Natural Law still operates at some level on the human conscience.

Of course, he was suspended for his thoughtcrime.

The thing that bothers me is that whether he makes the team or not, whether he plays well or not, it is all about his public declaration of sodomy. You. Will. Love. His. Sodomy. Or Else.

Morning in America!

11 May 2014

Remember to Flip That Coin Today!

I loved it when I read it, and just had to share it. From St. Corbinian's Bear:

Half of All Catholic Marriages to End Sunday

Cardinal Walter Kasper, acting on, he claims, secret orders from Pope Francis, instructed every Catholic couple to flip a coin before Mass Sunday before a priest to see if their marriage is valid. If tails, the marriage was invalid and the couple must go to confession before communion. More significantly, their marriage is automatically annulled.

"Is not such a big ding," the prelate said. "Dere is nutzing to keep dem from gettingzun married again if dey feel like it. But fur all dose couple fur whom der schpark is kaput, it is a vunderbar opportunity to trade up."

In other news, the Cardinal wed LCWR Executive Director Sr. Janet Mock at a small, but lavish ceremony at Las Vegas' well-known "The Little Church of the West." Cardinal Kasper said the name appealed to the couple for reasons they could not explain. When asked if the marriage violated current Church teachings on unmarried clergy and religious, the Cardinal laughed, and said, "Jah, I suppose it is so. But mein Freund Francis told me vas okay. In private. Und he probably does not remember."

10 May 2014

Number 5

A personal post, sorry, but I just love this photo. She turns 8 tomorrow. Happy Birthday!

Bourbon is for Closers

The Long Wait is Over: Date Set for Paul VI Beatification

I was trying to come up with a subhead to this story, but I couldn't choose just one. Now, only a pathetic blogger would stoop to trotting out a passé "Top Ten" list. But, wait-- that's me!

So, with my apologies, here they are, the Top Ten Subheads for this headline:

Date Set for Paul VI Beatification

10. Vatican Officials Hope to Eliminate Pesky Canonization Logjam Soon

9. Demographers Confirm: Beatified Deceased Catholics to Outnumber Those Not Beatified by 2031

8. "Well, it's a miracle to keep the faith at all these days, isn't it?" says Postulator.

7. Former Pontiff Called Pioneer in Coping with the Effects of Vatican II

6. In Joint Effort with UN Commission, Attendees Will Receive Combination Smoke/Smoke of Satan Alarm for Home Use

5. In Honor of
Humanae Vitae, Cardinal Kasper to Lead Collegial Episcopal Effort to Ignore Beatification

4. First 100 Confirmed Attendees Will Also Be Beatified

3. Pontiff Will be Disinterred and then Reinterred with that Torpedo-like Tiara He Last Wore

2. Rome Braces for Scores of Faithful Pilgrims Expected to Attend

1. Overheard: Pope Francis to Aide, "Who's Next?"

08 May 2014


I have been excerpting from Antonio Socci's important book on Fatima over the past few weeks. I find it terrifyingly comforting as a lens in which to try to view current ecclesiastical events, which otherwise would appear to be caused by pure insanity.

You really need to read this book. In it, Socci, a respected journalist (John Allen, formerly of the NCR, acknowledges as much), does the heavy lifting of proving-- from a careful reconstruction of the Fatima apparition and its subsequent history--that there are indeed two texts that deal with the Third Secret. One is the vision, made public in 2000 by the Vatican, and another letter containing the actual words of Our Lady concerning, well, we don't know for sure.

Today I read a portion wherein Socci makes reference to the subsequent apparition to Sr. Lucia in 1931 by Our Lord while she was in in Rianjo, Spain. The account below comes from the Fatima Crusader site [N.B. Please don't freak out here; I know some will be prone to completely discount the source. But I cite it only because I can cut and paste the excerpted text, whereas I cannot likewise do so with the Socci book. The event is well documented, and the below description is accurate. You are not forced to adopt anyone's take here. Read on.].

The Apparition at Rianjo (1931)

In August 1931, due to illness, Sister Lucy was staying with a friend at Rianjo, Spain, a small maritime city near Pontevedra, to rest and recover. It was in the chapel here that the Messenger of Fatima was once again given a communication from Heaven. Our Lord complained to Sister Lucy of the tardiness of His ministers who delay the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as requested by Our Lady of Fatima on June 13, 1929 at Tuy, two years and two months earlier. Sister Lucy reported to her bishop the important revelation:

My confessor ordered me to inform Your Excellency about what happened a little while ago, between our Good God and myself: As I was asking God for the conversion of Russia, Spain and Portugal, it seemed that His Divine Majesty said to me:

‘[...] Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.’

In another text she wrote,

Later, through an intimate communication, Our Lord complained to me: ‘They did not wish to heed My request! ... Like the King of France they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors in the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.’

Our Lord was here making an explicit reference to the requests of the Sacred Heart given through Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque on June 17, 1689 to the King of France. As a result of the refusal of King Louis XIV – as well as the refusal of both his son and grandson, King Louis XV and King Louis XVI – to publicly consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as was requested by Heaven by means of a recognized French Saint of that time, ...the French Revolution [thus followed, and triumphed. In case you missed it, it was bad.].

On June 17, 1789, (the Feast of the Sacred Heart) exactly one hundred years to the day from when Saint Margaret Mary had written down the great designs of Heaven for the King, the Third Estate rose up and proclaimed itself a National Assembly, stripping King Louis XVI of his legislative power. On January 21, 1793, France, ungrateful and rebellious to its God, dared to decapitate its most Christian King as if he were a criminal. At Rianjo, Jesus warns us that this dark chapter of history will repeat itself, and this time the ministers of His Church – the bishops, and perhaps even the Pope himself – will be among its hapless victims.



OK, here is what struck me. Not recounted above, but to which Socci does refer, is that at long last Louis XVI, after being deposed and held captive by the revolution, did in fact attempt to make the requested consecration to the Sacred Heart. As Our Lord indicated, it was done, yet it was late. It failed to stop France's fall.

Our Lord said it would be the same with Fatima. The Popes would not heed Our Lady, but eventually it would be done--and late.

The symmetry is there in the linkage drawn by Christ to Sr. Lucia. In France, the deposed King, surrounded by enemies, victim of the revolution, in his cell, makes the consecration. Too late.

Can we not obey Heaven before this plays out again?


After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

From the vision revealed in 2000

07 May 2014

May I Pose a Question or Two?

Can I ask, sincerely, and with some trepidation, whether His Eminence ought not to be canonically disciplined?  

For his own good, and ours?

And what about a Cardinal who can say this:  "The Church is not timeless, she lives amidst the vicissitudes of history ....", in order to advocate that the Church should deviate from the teaching of Christ Himself, issuing from His own mouth, on the indissolubility of marriage?

I ask in light of Canon 212, sections 2 & 3, CIC (1983). 

Did I mention that there already lives in Rome one of the foremost experts in Canon Law, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, should technical assistance be needed?

Monsignor Gilles Wach, Founder and Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, to Celebrate Solemn High Mass at the Oratory this Thursday

Please note the time:  6 pm, not the typical 6:30pm.

Monsignor Gilles Wach will mark the end of the 2014 Priestly Retreat of the Canons of the Institute's American province by celebrating Solemn High Mass on Thursday, May 8, at 6pm, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Also, local Oblate legend, Abbe Alex Barga, will receive the Cross of St. Francis de Sales from Monsignor Wach.

A reception follows in the Church hall.  All are invited to attend.

06 May 2014

Interesting Reflection from the Pope

From CNS:

Pope to social climbers: Head for hills, not the church, for ambitions

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church is no place for "climbers," who want to reach the heights of prestige, power and profit, Pope Francis said.


Unfortunately, there are Christians who like to "strut around like real peacocks," full of vanity and the need to show off, the pope said.

"Vanity is dangerous because it makes us slip immediately into pride and arrogance, and then it's all over," he said.

"How do I follow Jesus? Do I hide doing the good things I do or do I like showing off?" he asked.

It's an important question for priests and bishops, too, he said, because "a vain pastor is not good for the people of God."[...]

05 May 2014

"What exactly is a traditionalist? He is what every Catholic once was, and will be again when the crisis is over."

And, boom goes the dynamite.

Christopher Ferrara's newest article in The Remnant not only nails the answer, but presents the necessary background to understand that the question itself is a novelty. Excerpts:


...But what exactly is a traditionalist? A look back at the way things once were might convey the meaning of the term more effectively than the usual attempts at a formal definition:

- Once there was no rite of Mass rendered into the vulgar tongues of the world. There was only the universal liturgical language of a timeless Church as seen in the immemorial Roman Rite, whose organic development had proceeded almost imperceptibly since the 5th century, or in the venerable Eastern rites, almost as ancient, which have largely escaped the furious liturgical vandalism that has ravaged the Church’s principal liturgy.

- Once there were no Lutheran-style altar tables in our churches, but only high altars oriented to God, whose very appearance aroused one’s sense of awe and reverence.

- Once there were no lay lectors, lay “ministers of the Eucharist” or girls in the sanctuary, but only priests, deacons on the way to the priesthood, and the male altar servers who were a primary source of generation after generation of priestly vocations, filling the seminaries.

- Once there was no profane music during Mass, but only Gregorian chant or polyphony, arousing the soul to contemplation of the divine rather than foot-tapping, hand-clapping or mere boredom.

- Once there were no widespread liturgical abuses. At worst, there were priests who celebrated the traditional Mass diffidently but within a rubrical, textual and musical framework that nonetheless protected its central mystery from any possibility of profanation and maintained the supreme dignity of divine worship against human weakness.

- Once there was no “gay Mafia” in the seminaries, the chanceries and the Vatican itself, or clerical predators molesting boys all over the globe, because Church authorities enforced the rule that “religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty…”

- Once there were no empty seminaries, empty convents, abandoned parishes and shuttered Catholic schools. There were only seminaries, convents, parishes and schools filled with faithful Catholics from large families.

- Once there was no “ecumenism.” There was only the conviction that the Catholic Church is the one true Church outside of which no one is saved. Catholics followed the Church’s teaching that “[i]t is not lawful for the faithful in any way to assist actively at or to take part in the worship of non-Catholics,” and they understood, if only implicitly, what Pope Pius XI insisted upon: “Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.”

- Once there was no “dialogue.” There was only evangelization by clergy and lay apologists with the aim of making converts to the true religion. And converts there were, entering the Church in numbers so great that it seemed even the United States was becoming a Catholic nation, as 30 million Americans tuned in to Bishop Sheen every Sunday.

- Once there were no mass defections from the priesthood, the religious orders, and the lay faithful, leading to “silent apostasy” in Europe and throughout the West. There was, rather, what a Father of Second Vatican Council described at the Council’s commencement: “the Church, notwithstanding the calamities that plague the world, is experiencing a glorious era, if you consider the Christian life of the clergy and of the faithful, the propagation of the faith, and the salutary universal influence possessed by the Church in the world today.”

- Once there were no “Catholic Charismatics,” “neo-Catecheumenals,” or other “ecclesial movements” promoting strange new modes of worship invented by their founders. There were only Catholics, worshipping in the same way as their forebears with unbroken continuity down the centuries.

- Once there were no traditionalists, because there was no need to describe any Catholic by that term. All Catholics accepted instinctively what a series of Popes had prescribed as part of the very profession of our faith: “I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.”

That was the way it once was. And when was this bygone era of which I write? Not centuries ago, or even one century ago, or even a single lifetime ago, but a mere fifty years ago, within the living memory of many millions of Catholics today.

What, then, is a traditionalist? He is nothing more or less than a Catholic who has continued to practice the faith precisely as he learned it in his childhood, or who has received the same unreconstructed faith from his parents and will in turn pass it on to his own children. A traditionalist, in other words, is a Catholic who lives the faith as if the ecclesial calamities of the post-Vatican II epoch had never happened—indeed, as if Vatican II itself had never happened. And the astonishing truth about the traditionalist is that no doctrine or disciplinary rule of the Church whatsoever forbids him to believe and to worship God in just that way, even though the great preponderance of Catholics no longer does.

That Catholics who have simply gone on believing and worshiping as Catholics always did before the Council have come to be called traditionalists—quite suddenly in historical terms—that the very word tradition now distinguishes these relative few Catholics from the vast majority of the Church’s members, is the undeniable sign of a crisis like no other the Church has ever witnessed. Those who deny this would have to explain why it is only within that transformed vast majority, rightly described as neo-Catholic, that the faith has been steadily losing its grip on the people, with many falling away completely into the “silent apostasy” John Paul II lately lamented after hailing for so many years a “conciliar renewal” that was actually a massive collapse of faith and discipline.


They would also have to explain why it is only among the tiny minority of Catholics now denominated traditionalists that not one of these signs of ecclesial decay is evident.

In recent days the ecclesial crisis that has been with us now for more than half a century appears to be reaching a depth from which there can be no rescue without a miraculous divine intervention. The world is singing hosannas to the new Pope, urging him on to a final completion, per impossibile, of the process of ecclesial auto-demolition Paul VI spent his last years decrying although he himself had unleashed it. Yet the neo-Catholic establishment continues its confident march past the point of no return, explaining away all evidence of disaster while patronizing traditionalists as diehard connoisseurs of nostalgia whose “sensibilities” might be accommodated even if they no longer matter for the future of the Church. But in truth traditionalists are the future of the Church, as the history of our time will record when it is written.


Feast of St. Pius V

Before today's Mass

Today is the feast of that truly great Pontiff, protector of the faith and the liturgy, its guardian. From today's collect, a very timely prayer:

O God, Who for the overthrow of the enemies of Thy Church and for the restoration of divine worship didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Pius as Supreme Pontiff: grant that we may be defended by his patronage and so cleave to Thy service, that overcoming all the wiles of our enemies, we may rejoice in perpetual peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

02 May 2014

"When victory is won, it will be a victory through Mary."

"Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Mt 24: 42) - these words remind me of the last call that will come at whatever time the Lord desires. I want to follow Him and I want all that is part of my earthly life to prepare me for this moment. I do not know when it will come but I place this moment, like all other things, in the hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus. In these same motherly hands I leave everything and Everyone with whom my life and my vocation have brought me into contact. In these Hands I above all leave the Church, and also my Nation and all humankind. I thank everyone. I ask forgiveness of everyone. I also ask for prayers, so that God's Mercy may prove greater than my own weakness and unworthiness.

-- this excerpt, and the title of this post, from the Testament of John Paul II, written March 6, 1979.

01 May 2014

The Summer of Catholic Discontent

Well, it's May 1st, technically. But after the Winter we've had, I am declaring May 1st the beginning of Summer.

And this year, it looks to be the Summer of Catholic discontent.

You probably don't need a recap of recent Church history, but I think the impetus behind the discontent comes from the splintering of the bulk of Catholics who still believe in the Church as the true Body of Christ. These Catholics saw the pontificate of Benedict XVI (and some also the pontificate of JPII, in a much more mild sense) as a welcome stabilization and corrective to the instability, craziness, and destruction of the immediate post-conciliar period.

Catholics in this group contained persons of good will across the liturgical divide, and self identified as conservative, traditional, or reform of the reform (ROTR), or what have you. The prevailing (but not uniform) opinion was that there was at last progress in doctrinal and liturgical restoration and renewal.

And though there were signs of progress in this-- what Hilary White, to give credit, called "The Great Effort to Fix Things"-- we, alas, were much too optimistic. Our belief in the "Great Effort" was mistaken, as Miss White also correctly observed.

It took one year-- actually, much less than a year-- to all come crashing down.

It is easier to destroy than to build. The coalition among conservatives, ROTR-ers, and traditionals? Gone. The line on doctrinal matters, which before appeared as a slooooow push in the right direction, is now full-scale retreat. The effort to take back the moral high ground of the Church is now a frantic effort to put up a barricade in front of the smashed doors of the Keep while someone else opens a side door to let the Saracens in.

The great media proclamation of the pontificate of the big tent is a joke. The public at large is temporarily placated by its perception that the Church will abandon her mission to defend Faith and morals. That's it. Inside the Church, we are breaking apart. This pontificate is causing division, confusion and discouragement among Catholics.

It is as though Pope Francis truly is the personification of Vatican II. He is the traumatic event, personified.

What does this mean? Well, try nailing down a Catholic from different "wings" of the Church to define the Council and its effects, and you'll have the answer. Different theories, more or less justifiable.

Back to the Summer of Catholic Discontent.

This Fall, the Synod on the Family will reportedly take on issues that touch on revealed truths the Church cannot change, if she is the Church at all. You know what is happening. Trial balloons floated, modernists excited, Catholics worried. And this is either coming from the top, or else the top is not effectively calming expectations.

So, this Fall, we will get to see the conclusion: Will the Church retreat from the truth proclaimed by Christ? (Impossible.) What is the Pope really doing? Can the Church be wrong about faith and morals?

Is it the perception, or is it the substance? What is Vatican II?

These questions are posed somewhat dramatically, because the outcome of this synod has dramatic repercussions.

If the teachings on marriage and Holy Communion are upheld with all the glory of the Church's traditional manner of defending these truths, then the Pope's friends in the media, in politics, and sadly within a large portion of the episcopate, will turn on him with viciousness. We Catholics who will defend him will be persecuted.

If the Church adopts Cardinal Kasper's serene theology (as our Holy Father has called it), i.e., abandons her duty to protect divinely revealed truth, then either the Church isn't the Church (impossible) or the Pope isn't the Pope, or some horrible flaw or mistake that makes the apparent impossibility not actually reality will also make it impossible for the faithful to defend what happened. This will lead to schism, maybe large, maybe small. Catholics who will defend the truth will be persecuted.

If the Church adopts a "middle way", where the teaching is restated but a practice is instituted to systematically ignore the teaching, then it is the same as possibility two, above, but with far greater confusion. As with Vatican II, there will be the fig leaf approach, where professional neo-Catholics can Pollyanna it up 'til the cows come home, keep selling books and making speeches, all the while deploring the 'abuses' of the Synod's wonderful, though vexingly ignored, 'restatement' of the Church's timeless teaching. Faithful Catholics will be demoralized and left uncertain just how to defend the faith where the entire hierarchy (almost-- there are a few great souls) will cede the field. We can go back to being insulted in homilies from Santa Marta until we face persecution for maintaining our belief in reality. And the defense of the faith will come from fewer Catholics than it ought to, in a deeply splintered flock.

So, that is how I feel today. I pray it doesn't happen this way. I have no confidence in my own ability to choose well or wisely. If God and His Holy Mother do not support me, I don't know what I will do.

This Fall will show us. We should spend this Summer of Catholic Discontent in prayer.