31 July 2014

"I have overcome the world."

As reported on other sites, I repost here. Pray for persecuted Catholics!

Open Letter of His Excellency Youhanna Boutros (John Peter) Moshe,
Syriac Catholic Archeparch of Mosul and Qaraqosh

Sunday, July 27, 2014

To All Priests, to all Monks and Nuns, to all Deacons, and to all those who have faith in Jesus Christ:

May the peace and love of God come upon you, your homes, and your families, and upon all those who have come to protect you, and to all those who have come to you for protection!

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
The Gospel according to Saint John, 16:33

With these words, Jesus strengthened the determination of his Apostles, who asked for the perseverance that would confirm their victory for good, and the defeat of evil.

The line of lies is a short one. And evil -- regardless of its gaining strength, regardless of the fact that it lasts for long time -- does not prevail. Our appeal to you, dearly beloved, is so that your determination will not be weakened, and that you will not be frightened by the false propaganda and the rumors that have no other goals than to take away your dignity and make you abandon your homes and churches.

Therefore, be patient and persevere, because one who is patient wins in the end. And know that the responsibility of those who spread the rumour about the crime is not smaller than the responsibility of those who commit the crime themselves.

No one can stop those who wish to emigrate, because emigration has its own causes, and one who considers emigration evaluates one's own situation and takes one's own decisions. But why leave a country that is ours, and whose land we have inherited from our own fathers? We have not taken it by force or by invasion, and an inheritance is [something] precious and respected, even it is small.

Have some faith, first in God, then in our Mother the Virgin Mary, who with her kindness protects our villages that have not fallen in the hands of the enemy, and will not fall, by the grace of God. So much so that there are people who are convinced that their fate is linked to our own, who have allowed the coming together of our fates, and who have come exclusively to protect us, who have sacrificed their blood and their rest to protect us. We should be taking up arms and standing at their side to repel the enemy and keep evil away from us, rather than thinking about fleeing and losing. In this event, we could not be proud and have trust in ourselves.

And we are the children of forefathers who were not afraid of death, and who were not terrorized by persecution, because they wanted to preserve their religions and their values, both social and moral, and to protect their sacred places, and their monasteries, and their churches.

Well then, be not afraid, and preserve your heritage and your land. Stand strong in your faith as you are in love and in hope, and bring to each one the faith of [being able to] face the challenges, filled with courage against the obstacles on the path of your life.

May God, the keeper of peace and security, be with you. "For whoever is not against us is for us," (Mk 9:40); Jesus Christ said, "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rm 8:31), as the Apostle Paul confirms.

(No) Apologies Necessary?

Other Catholic sites have very ably covered the systematic persecution and extermination of Christians in Mosul and other parts of the Middle East, principally Rorate Caeli.  The Islamic group ISIS is reported to be the principal force behind this persecution in Iraq.  Christians, as a percentage of population, have been dwindling throughout the Holy Land, as Israeli and Arab fighting and social policies have put the squeeze on them.

In the Gaza strip, Israeli and Hamas are fighting again as part of the on-again, off-again struggle between Israel and Palestine.  What cannot be denied is that the percentage of civilian-to-combatant deaths at the hands of Israeli forces is exceedingly high. Of course, the land area of Gaza is tiny-- almost like shooting fish in a barrel.  But as this CNN report shows (warning: graphic images), the airstrikes launched by Israel are very likely to result in large numbers of civilian casualties.

So far, no apologies from ISIS, and no apologies from Israel.

The only apologies come from the Catholic Church, for supposed wrongs supposedly committed long ago by persons not acting on behalf of the Catholic Church.  How many mea culpas to other world religions-- all of them false-- do we need to have made on our behalf by our leadership?  Do these apologies produce any tangible good for the Church or for Catholics around the world? Do they ever produce a like apology from other religious or political leaders?

It seems to me that these apologies ought to end.  Maybe they will, when there are no Catholics left in the Holy Land that could give the Muslims or Israelis any more offense.

30 July 2014

Catholic Young Adults to Gather in St. Louis Next Week

I am happy to pass along this announcement from Juventutem Michigan, which is spearheading a dinner and fellowship event next Monday evening to mark the ICRSS priestly ordinations that will draw many young Catholics from around the country. I know that the local ICRSS Sursum Corda young adult group will have a strong presence there.

There will be a gathering immediately after the Solemn High Mass on Monday at 6:00 pm (ordination eve), where members of the Institute will receive their choir habits. The restaurant is nearby to the Oratory.


Details from Juventutem:

On Monday evening, August 4th, young adults (18-35) and clerics who appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass are invited to gather at 8:00 p.m. at Hodak's Restaurant & Bar, 2100 Gravois Ave, St. Louis 63104.

Hodak's is located a half-mile from the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, and this social gathering is scheduled so as to follow the 6:00 p.m. Solemn High Mass that Msgr. Wach will celebrate at the Oratory on Monday night.

The social is being organized by members of the Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem - an international apostolate of young adults who work for the sanctification of youth by means of the Traditional Latin Mass and other Roman traditions of the faith - who are visiting St. Louis to attend the ordinations on August 5th.

We hope that this gathering will bring together young adult Oratory parishioners (who may be members of Sursum Corda St. Louis), other St. Louis young adults, and visiting traditionalists from around the country. Leaders of other American Juventutem chapters will be present and would be glad to encourage and answer any questions of any St. Louis young adult who might seek to establish a Juventutem chapter in that archdiocese.


Further info from Sursum Corda:

If significant interest manifests itself by noon this Friday - e.g., 40 "yeses" - we will seek to reserve the restaurant's upper room to share a $16/head chicken buffet dinner. Otherwise, we'll be more or less be seated together on the main floor.

Please rsvp to me (elfmaiden@att.net) OR Juventutem Michigan (contact@JuventutemMichigan.com) OR through the facebook invite (https://www.facebook.com/events/1532835553606949/)

"There's no one here, the gardener is gone."

As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vine
I was passing by yon cool crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Through this weary world of woe
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
No one on earth would ever know
They say, prayer has the power to heal
So pray from the mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I am tryin' to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain't going well
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
I'll burn that bridge before you can cross
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
There'll be no mercy for you once you've lost
Now I'm all worn down by weepin'
My eyes are filled with tears, my lips are dry
If I catch my opponents ever sleepin'
I'll just slaughter 'em where they lie
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Through the world mysterious and vague
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Walkin' through the cities of the plague
Well, the whole world is filled with speculation
The whole wide world which people say is round
They will tear your mind away from contemplation
They will jump on your misfortune when you're down
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
 Eatin' hog eyed grease in a hog eyed town
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Some day you'll be glad to have me around
They will crush you with wealth and power
Every wakin' moment you could crack
I'll make the most of one last extra hour
I'll revenge my father's death and I'll step back
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Hand me down my walkin' cane
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Got to get you out of my miserable brain
All my loyal and my much-loved companions
They approve of me and share my code
I practice a faith that's been long abandoned
Ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
My mule is sick, my horse is blind
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Thinkin' 'bout that gal I left behind
Well, it's bright in the heavens and the wheels are flyin'
Fame and honor never seem to fade
The fire gone out but the light is never dyin'
Who says I can't get heavenly aid?
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Carryin' a dead man's shield
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Walkin' with a toothache in my heel
The sufferin' is unending
Every nook and cranny has its tears
I'm not playin', I'm not pretendin'
I'm not nursin' any superfluous fears
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Walkin' ever since the other night
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Walkin' 'til I'm clean out of sight
As I walked out in the mystic garden
On a hot summer day, a hot summer lawn
Excuse me, ma'am, I beg your pardon
There's no one here, the gardener is gone
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Up the road, around the bend
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
In the last outback at the world's end

--Bob Dylan, Ain't Talkin'

Something Stinks Here

The general situation in the Church smells pretty gamey, but in some places the localized miasma is exceptionally pungent.

No matter which direction the stink is stank, whether stunken to one side or the other, the stink stinks stinkingly here.

From Psalm CXVII

[6] The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me. [7] The Lord is my helper: and I will look over my enemies. [8] It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. [9] It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes. [10] All nations compassed me about; and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.

29 July 2014


"He makes William Shakespeare look like Mötley Crüe. Sorry, Shakespeare."

-- Tom Petty, speaking about the great Bob Dylan

* ok, maybe just a little bit hyperbolic, but still...

One Passion and Four Walls

They had a long talk. Thea felt that Dr. Archie had never let himself out to her so much before. It was the most grown-up conversation she had ever had with him. She left his office happy, flattered and stimulated. She ran for a long while about the white, moonlit streets, looking up at the stars and the bluish night, at the quiet houses sunk in black shade, the glittering sand hills. She loved the familiar trees, and the people in those little houses, and she loved the unknown world beyond Denver. She felt as if she were being pulled in two, between the desire to go away forever and the desire to stay forever. She had only twenty years—no time to lose.

Many a night that summer she left Dr. Archie's office with a desire to run and run about those quiet streets until she wore out her shoes, or wore out the streets themselves; when her chest ached and it seemed as if her heart were spreading all over the desert. When she went home, it was not to go to sleep. She used to drag her mattress beside her low window and lie awake for a long while, vibrating with excitement, as a machine vibrates from speed. Life rushed in upon her through that window—or so it seemed. In reality, of course, life rushes from within, not from without. There is no work of art so big or so beautiful that it was not once all contained in some youthful body, like this one which lay on the floor in the moonlight, pulsing with ardor and anticipation. It was on such nights that Thea Kronborg learned the thing that old Dumas meant when he told the Romanticists that to make a drama he needed but one passion and four walls.

--Willa Sibert Cather, The Song of the Lark.

There's No Mean Like Church Mean

That saying is not original to me, but it sure rings true at times.

28 July 2014

Inveterávi inter omnes inimícos meos

A little while ago I received this helpful email from a member of our all-tolerant civil society:

I can't believe that such primitive fairy tales based beliefs still linger in the 21st century! You brainwashed Catholic imbeciles need to quit spreading your lies to manipulate your fellow brainwashed dimwits. You sheep need to focus on protecting innocent children from being raped by the numerous sick pedophile Catholic priests that you hinder from criminal prosecution! I as an atheist long for the day when adults that believe in your primitive fairy tales based dogma disappear from the earth as mankinds' collective intellect increases and turns away from your silly religion!!

Is that you, Charles Jaco? Or, judging from the citation to "mankinds' [sic] collective intellect increas[ing]," perhaps I have drawn the ire of a former Vatican II peritus.

Either way, thanks for the heads up! You might want to contact our boss:

First They Came for the Liturgy; Now They're Coming for Doctrine

Paraphrasing from remarks about the upcoming Synod on the Family by Chris Ferrara and Michael Matt at The Remnant.  A very well articulated and concise summary of the problems surrounding this synod, and the threats to the family and to faith posed by the working preparatory documents for it. 

It is the same solution to the same problem:  if the aftermath of Vatican II was a disaster in such-and-such area, well then, let's try more of the same.

At roughly 25:14 of the interview, Ferrara says this:

"We're in a situation where the laity have to stand up for the truth and they have to speak out publicly against what's happening.  ...You can see the stages through which the postconciliar crisis has progressed.  They wrecked the liturgy.  Then they started tampering with evangelization in favor of ecumenism.  Then came interreligious dialogue.  Then the seminaries emptied; the convents emptied; the pews emptied; the schools began to close. 

What's left? Basic moral teachings.

'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' 

'Sodomy is a sin that cries out to Heaven for retribution.' 

Now they want to come and alter the teaching on those fundamental principles of the Natural Law.  That's the last vestige of traditional Catholicism left, and the people participating in this synod are vowing to find a "solution"--as if there were one-- to a predicament that people have placed themselves into because they violate the Divine and Natural Law.  That's the final stage:  the attack on morality itself-- in the name of the People of God."

Brace yourselves, folks.  See you in October.

100 Years of Death and Destruction

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia, that marked the formal beginning of the war that would at last destroy the remnants of Christendom. Rorate has two worthy pieces on the event here and here.

St. Pius X was the reigning pontiff, but he would die before a month passed. Neither did Franz Josef survive the war; he died in 1916. Neither man lived to see the conclusion to this suicide of the West. There is some irony here, as it was Franz Josef who exercised the jus exclusivae to block Leo XIII's Secretary of State from election to the papacy, thus ending in the selection of the great St. Pius X. The Pope, perhaps with some prescience, barred the future exercise of jus exclusivae by any secular power.

St. Pius was the fierce opponent of modernism, which sought to undermine the Church and the Western order from within. The election of Pius was immediately seen as a blow to anti-clerical societies. For a time, he held the enemies of civilization at bay. But they would at last become ascendant. The War was a necessary vehicle to their success.

World War I would see the destruction of the old order and the Church's vigilance against the heresy of modernism. We know what followed.

We are the orphans of great ancestors.

Only Divine intervention, it seems, can stop the carnage that continues to our ruin, even to this day. Our Lady of Fatima was sent by her Son during that war, with a message of warning, which if heeded, is a message of hope. So far, we have not heeded her. Our victory will begin when we do.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

25 July 2014

Well-Considered, and Well-Said

Mr. Archbold covers some of the rhetorical excesses of a well-known NFP booster. Delicate subject; read before reacting.

Feast of Santiago Matamoros

St. James the Greater, that is-- son of Zebedee, brother of John the Evangelist, one of the favored three Apostles who accompanied Our Lord on Tabor, first Apostolic Martyr, Patron Saint of Spain, Destroyer of the Moors.

And, because God is good, it is also the feast day of St. Christopher, who is NOT "defrocked" as you may have mislearned in the press a decade or so ago.

From the Epistle and Gospel of today:

1 Corinthians 4: 9-15

[9] For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. [10] We are fools for Christ' s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour. [11] Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; [12] And we labour, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. [13] We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. [14] I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children. [15] For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

Matthew 20: 20-23

[20] Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. [21] Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom. [22] And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. [23] He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father.

Two more items for the day, which I repost from previous years.

The first is an excerpt from The Liturgical Year:

Nearly eight centuries, which to the heavenly citizens are but as a day, had passed over that tomb in the north of Spain, where two disciples had secretly laid the apostle's body. During that time the land of his inheritance, which he had so rapidly traversed, had been overrun first by Roman idolaters, then by Arian barbarians, and when the day of hope seemed about to dawn, a deeper night was ushered in by the Crescent. One day lights were seen glimmering over the briars that covered the monument; attention was drawn to the spot, which henceforth went by the name of the field of stars. But what are those sudden shouts coming down from the mountains, and echoing through the valleys? Who is this unknown chief rallying against an immense army the little worn-out troop whose heroic valour could not yesterday save it from defeat? Swift as lightning, and bearing in one hand a white standard with a red cross, he rushes with drawn sword upon the panic-stricken foe, and dyes the feet of his charger in the blood of 70,000 slain. Hail to the chief of the holy war, of which this Liturgical Year has so often made mention! St. James! St. James! Forward, Spain! It is the reappearance of the Galilean fisherman, whom the Man-God once called from the bark where he was mending his nets; of the elder son of thunder, now free to hurl the thunderbolt upon these new Samaritans, who pretend to honour the unity of God by making Christ no more than a prophet. Henceforth James shall be to Christian Spain the firebrand which the prophet saw, devouring all the people round about, to the right hand and to the left, until Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place in Jerusalem.

And when, after six centuries and a half of struggle, his standard bearers, the Catholic kings, had succeeded in driving the infidel hordes beyond the seas, the valiant leader of the Spanish armies laid aside his bright armour, and the slayer of Moors became once more a messenger of the faith. As fisher of men, he entered his bark, and gathering around it the gallant fleets of Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Albuquerque, he led them over unknown seas to lands that had never yet heard the name of the Lord. For his contribution to the labours of the twelve, James drew ashore his well-filled nets, from west and east and south, from new worlds, renewing Peter's astonishment at the sight of such captures. He, whose apostolate seemed at the time of Herod III to have been crushed in the bud before bearing any fruit, may say with St. Paul: I have no way come short of them that are above measure apostles, for by the grace of God, I have laboured more abundantly than all they.

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

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

Happy feast day!

23 July 2014

Jane Austen or Willa Cather?


Now Boarding the Bishop Athanasius Schneider Bandwagon

Just to make it official, mind you. I'm certainly not the first, and the Bear posted about this article already, but man, is it good.

Thus, I thought that in addition to linking the story, I would post a few excerpts, with some great quotes from His Excellency:

In his interview, Bishop Schneider said the “banal” and casual treatment of the Blessed Sacrament is part of a major crisis in the Church in which some laity and clergy, including some in positions of authority, are siding with secular society. At the heart of the problems, he believes, is the creeping introduction of a man-centred agenda, while in some churches God, in the tabernacle, really is materially put in a corner, while the priest takes centre stage. Bishop Schneider argued that this situation is now coming to a head. “I would say, we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years.”

How long will it last? “Perhaps God will be merciful to us in 20 or 30 years."


“I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism…

“This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God, for instance, concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”


The bishop said he hopes “the majority of the bishops still have enough Catholic spirit and faith that they will reject the proposal and not accept this”.

Nevertheless, he can foresee a split coming, leading to an eventual renewal of the Church on traditional lines. But, he believes, this will not be before the crisis has plunged the Church further into disarray. Eventually, he thinks, the “anthropocentric” [man-centred] clerical system will collapse. “This liberal clerical edifice will crash down because they have no roots and no fruits,” he said.


Bishop Schneider also rejected the idea that concern for the liturgy is less important than, or even separate from, concern for the poor. “This is erroneous. The first commandment which Christ gave us was to adore God alone. Liturgy is not a meeting of friends. It is our first task to adore and glorify God in the liturgy and also in our manner of life. From a true adoration and love of God grows love for the poor and our neighbour. It is a consequence.”

Such critics may assert that Bishop Schneider’s concern over Holy Communion is like worrying over the numbers of angels on a pinhead. But the bishop insists that treatment of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the crisis. “The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church,” he said. “When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak.”

But despite his concerns, Bishop Schneider is not pessimistic and believes that there is already a groundswell of support for traditional values that will, in time, renew the Church: “Little ones in the Church have been let down and neglected,” he said. “[But] they have kept the purity of their faith and they represent the true power of the Church in the eyes of God and not those who are in administration.

“I spoke with young students in Oxford and I was so much impressed by these students. I was so glad to see their purity of faith and their convictions, and the clear Catholic mind. This will renew the Church. So I am confident and hopeful also in respect of this crisis in the Church. The Holy Ghost will win this crisis with this little army.”

He added: “I am not worried about the future. The Church is Christ’s Church and He is the real head of the Church, the Pope is only the vicar of Christ. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit and He is powerful.”

21 July 2014

It's Coming

Two weeks from tomorrow:  His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will ordain four new American priests for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis

Tuesday, August 5, 2014, at 10 am, Sacred Priestly Ordinations.  Refreshments afterward.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014, First Masses and Te Deum.

8am Rev. Canon Francis Altiere
9am Rev. Canon Benjamin Coggeshall
10am Rev. Canon Joel Estrada
11am Rev. Canon Andrew Todd
Solemn Te Deum and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament

18 July 2014

Family Life Woven into the Calendar of the Church

Today is the Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, a saint of very dear connection to my family, as his feast day also marks the birthday of our oldest child. My daughter turns 20 today. Twenty! Yesterday's feast of the Holy Carmelite martyrs of Compiegne is the feast day of the patron saint of our youngest daughter, who is named after Blessed Juliette Verolot-- who was killed, like her sisters in faith, by a Revolution claiming Reason as its guide and still wreaking destruction today. Our little Juliette turns 6 months tomorrow. Six months!

The Liturgical Calendar handed down over centuries of faith and faithful is so rich in its celebration of our forefathers and brothers in the true Church that God Himself established in the Person of His Son through Blessed Peter. The communion of saints, the connection among the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant is one of the many reasons that the Faith rings true. We are a family created by God and destined for eternal happiness and communion with Him and through Him. These celebrations of our saints, and of course of Our Lady and Our Lord in the events of their lives, mark the integrally Catholic way of life. Feasts and Fasts. Life and Death. Sanctification and the Narrow Way.

Every year, as a family, we celebrate the joys and struggles-- with each other, and with "our" Saints. We salute and ask intercession from these heroes of God.

St. Gregory the Great. SS. Nereus, Achillius and Domitilla. St. Paulinus. SS. Peter and Paul. Our Lady of the Snows. St. Nicholas. All of our named patrons. All of the patron saints of our states of life, our hometown, our Church. Even "St. Feria" for little Anna's birthday. I don't think I would even know anything about some of these saints if it weren't for this intentional effort to live out the faith in the cycle of the year.

Finally, the great feasts mark the year for us all. As a man who can't believe and can hardly mark the passage of 20 years of my daughter's life, and who is soon enough sentenced to see her leave the family home for her own life, it is of unspeakable comfort to return, to reacquaint, to embrace our Catholic year feast by feast, fast by fast, saint by saint.

But this is, or ought to be, the common experience of every Catholic family. Do we ever thank God enough for His boundless kindness to us? No offense, but you can keep your Year B, Cycle II, 237th Wednesday in Ordinary Time. Thanks, but no thanks. I need that recurrent and cyclical Liturgical Year to bring me along. It rings true. It is true. It is part of the beauty of the faith.

So, please join our family today in honoring St. Camillus of Lellis, and in praying to him for my daughter, all the children of the faith whose patron he is, for nurses, and for our Church Militant, under fierce attack.

A faith that does not acknowledge God's friends is a poor faith indeed.

From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

St. Camillus de Lellis

Born at Bucchianico, Abruzzo, 1550; died at Rome, 14 July, 1614.

He was the son of an officer who had served both in the Neapolitan and French armies. His mother died when he was a child, and he grew up absolutely neglected. When still a youth he became a soldier in the service of Venice and afterwards of Naples, until 1574, when his regiment was disbanded. While in the service he became a confirmed gambler, and in consequence of his losses at play was at times reduced to a condition of destitution. The kindness of a Franciscan friar induced him to apply for admission to that order, but he was refused. He then betook himself to Rome, where he obtained employment in the Hospital for Incurables. He was prompted to go there chiefly by the hope of a cure of abscesses in both his feet from which he had been long suffering. He was dismissed from the hospital on account of his quarrelsome disposition and his passion for gambling.

He again became a Venetian soldier, and took part in the campaign against the Turks in 1569. After the war he was employed by the Capuchins at Manfredonia on a new building which they were erecting. His old gambling habit still pursued him, until a discourse of the guardian of the convent so startled him that he determined to reform. He was admitted to the order as a lay brother, but was soon dismissed on account of his infirmity. He betook himself again to Rome, where he entered the hospital in which he had previously been, and after a temporary cure of his ailment became a nurse, and winning the admiration of the institution by his piety and prudence, he was appointed director of the hospital.

While in this office, he attempted to found an order of lay infirmarians, but the scheme was opposed, and on the advice of his friends, among whom was his spiritual guide, St. Philip Neri, he determined to become a priest. He was then thirty-two years of age and began the study of Latin at the Jesuit College in Rome. He afterwards established his order, the Fathers of a Good Death (1584), and bound the members by vow to devote themselves to the plague-stricken; their work was not restricted to the hospitals, but included the care of the sick in their homes. Pope Sixtus V confirmed the congregation in 1586...He resigned the generalship of the order, in 1607, in order to have more leisure for the sick and poor. Meantime he had established many houses in various cities of Italy. He is said to have had the gift of miracles and prophecy.

He died at the age of sixty-four while pronouncing a moving appeal to his religious brethren. He was buried near the high altar of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, at Rome, and, when the miracles which were attributed to him were officially approved, his body was placed under the altar itself. He was beatified in 1742, and in 1746 was canonized by Benedict XIV.

[Note: In 1930, Pope Pius XI named St. Camillus de Lellis, together with St. John of God, principal Co-Patron of nurses and of nurses' associations.]

St. Camillus de Lellis, pray for us! Procure for us the grace of a happy death!

17 July 2014

This is Profound Enough to Steal

By that, I mean, to steal in full from the Rorate Caeli blog, where it was posted today.  What follows are the words of Martin Mosebach, the great German author of The Heresy of Formlessness, in a talk he gave on Ash Wednesday 2013. 

One side note about The Heresy of Formlessness: despite its rather unexciting title, it is a fascinating and compelling read.  Every Catholic-- especially every Catholic seminarian-- ought to read it.  I loaned it to a friend who was fairly new in St. Louis and somewhat new to the timeless Mass.  I was in the immediate aftermath of having read it the first time, and was going on and on about how great it was as I loaned it to him.  I'm sure he regretted the dinner invitation during this spiel (if not before).  Anyway, the first thing I noticed when I said the title of the book was his eyes glazing over.  I assured him the book was better than title would suggest, but that the title was perfect for the book.  He said something polite. 

Much later he confirmed my suspicions when he confessed he had no interest in the book and merely took it to be polite.  He didn't read it for a long time, but when he did, he couldn't believe how great it was.

It is.

So, read the book, OK? 

Anyway, Mosebach's words as posted at Rorate:

One difficulty that arose from the Church's abandonment of her traditional liturgy was surely quite unexpected. Many who observe the Church from a distance, and this includes many nominal Catholics, now see the Church as embodied principally in the moral teachings that she requires her faithful to follow. These teachings include many prescriptions and proscriptions that contradict the customs of the secular world. In the days when the Church was above all oriented toward the immediate encounter with God in the Liturgy however, these commandments were not seen merely in relation to the living of daily life, but were concrete means of preparation for complete participation in the liturgy.
The liturgy  gave morality its goal. The question was: What must I do in order to attain to perfect Communion with the Eucharistic Christ? What actions will result in my only being able to look on Him from afar? Moral evil then appeared not merely as the that which is bad in the abstract, but as that which is to be avoided in order to attain to a concrete goal. And when someone broke a commandment, and thus excluded himself from Holy Communion, Confession was ready as the means to repair the damage and prepare him to receive Communion again. A surprising result of the reform is that while the Church of the past, which was really oriented toward the liturgy, appeared to many outside observers as being scandalously lax in moral matters, the current Church appears to contemporaries (and not only to those outside) as unbearably moralistic, unmerciful, and meanly puritanical. (From: "Das Paradies auf Erden: Liturgie als Fester zum Jenseits," Una Voce Korrespondenz 43 (2013), pp. 213-214; translation by Sacerdos Romanus).

16 July 2014

The Bible is Catholic, the Church is Catholic

St. Corbinian's Bear has another fine post today. This time, he writes some trenchant observations on the the interpretation of the Bible and the problems inherent in the Protestant position.

In short, did Christ come to write a book or to establish a Church? Excerpts:


How Protestants Think

Protestantism makes sense -- not perfect sense, but good enough for most people -- if you start out with one assumption:

God gave us a Bible, not a Church.

Once you get your mind around that, you can understand Protestants. And you can understand why trying to talk to one is so frustrating.

... The Bible is the oracle of all divine teaching, not a church. Don't like what your pastor says? Move on down the road to the next "church."

Don't like what your denomination teaches? Quit it entirely and join one that is more agreeable in its teachings....

The Bible is infinitely mutable.

You're saved by baptism.
No, you're saved by believing in your heart and confessing with your lips that Jesus is Lord. (That's when you say "The Sinner's Prayer" and become "saved.")
Once you're saved, you can't lose your salvation no matter what.
No, that's wrong; you can lose your salvation.
God's sovereign will has already predestined every person who is going to Heaven, and every person who is going to Hell, and there's not a damned thing -- literally -- you can do about it.
No, we can choose to cooperate with grace or not.
Homosexuality is an abomination.
No, homosexuality is merely approved or disapproved by one's culture without having anything to do with sin. It is a preference. (Like enjoying oysters, young Antoninus.)
St. Paul wrote that he does not permit a woman to teach in the congregation.
St. Paul just meant it would seem weird in those days -- now we have priestesses, and lesbian ones at that!

So much for perspicacity of scripture. Without guidance, every man is his own Pope, infallibly interpreting Holy Writ.

But set all that aside for a moment. The Bible-believing Protestant is like a man who spends his life in a room papered with pages of the Bible. He believes he knows all he needs to know, and turns away people who try to get him out of the room and show him the big wide world outside. "I don't need any guide!" he hisses, then gestures wildly about his room.

The Catholic may safely study the Bible, because he has a guide in the Church. As Scott Hahn -- an ex-Presbyterian minister turned Catholic -- points out in Consuming the Word (one of the too-many books the Bear is reading at the moment):

Jesus never wrote a word we know of, unless it was in the dirt on one occasion
Over half his apostles never left a scrap of writing behind, as far as we know
the Church was up and running before the canon of Scripture was established (by the Church, so that was handy)
Jesus came to establish a Church, not write a book

It makes the Bear's heart glow with love for scripture to think that he can study it all he wants, and will never be led astray by his own ideas or interpretations. The Church has gone before, with her saints and doctors and councils and popes. The traditional fourfold sense of scripture is seldom invoked by Protestants, but is the joy of Catholics.


We are fortunate to have both sources of revelation: the Church and our Bible.

800 ans du Baptême de Saint Louis

Prière de l'année jubilaire
Dieu notre Père,
Nous Vous rendons grâce pour les merveilles
que Vous avez accomplies en Saint Louis, à qui nous demandons
d'intercéder pour nous et pour la France.
Saint Louis,
Vous qui considériez votre baptême comme le plus grand don reçu,
ravivez en nous le désir de vivre en enfants de Dieu.
Vous qui méditez chaque jour la Parole de Dieu,
aidez-nous à retenir les enseignements de la Passion de Jésus,
et à offrir notre vie par amour.
Vous qui comprîtes en votre jeunesse l'horreur du péché,
aidez les jeunes à grandir dans la droiture et la fidélité.
Vous qui fûtes un époux et un poète très aimant,
aidez nos familles à être ferment d'unité pour notre monde.
Vous qui serviez les pauvres, qui cherchiez la justice et la paix,
ouvrez nos coeurs aux petits et venez en aide à nos dirigeants.
Seigneur, à l'exemple et à l'intercession de Saint Louis,
accordez-nous de prendre chacune de nos décisions de la terre,
en ayant en vue la vie du Ciel.
Ainsi soit-il !

15 July 2014

Pope to Visit Pentecostal Site in Italy

His visit, according to the story, will be "private", and likely "extremely quick".

Oh good, I was momentarily worried. As long as it's extremely quick.

At Last, Strong Words from the Vatican in Support of Church's Teaching on Marriage

"Some people say 'Well the culture is predominantly divorcist and therefore the Church in her practice has to adapt herself to the situation of the culture.' That is not the nature of the Church. When the Church confronts a culture that is in some way weak or defective, or failing, as our culture is, Her mission is to call the culture to conversion and to teach ever more strongly the truth about marriage and to help, of course, individuals to live according to that truth."

Did the Pope really say this?

No, it's a quote from Raymond Cardinal Burke. God bless him.

"Church" of "England" "Votes" to "Allow" "Women" "Bishops"

The unsurprising story here.

Yes, all the quotation marks are intentional.

14 July 2014

Our Charge in Times of Confusion

[1] I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: [2] Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. [3] For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: [4] And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. [5] But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. [6] For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand. [7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. [8] As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.

-- 2 Timothy 4: 1-8

The above is the Epistle for today's Feast of St. Bonaventure. I decided to post this today at the first opportunity, as a way of dealing with the latest incident of press fun surrounding His Holiness. After all, what can we do but remain steadfast, in truth and charity?

Or as one priest I know would phrase it, "to man our trench"?

Then I read this, and wanted to link that here, too. Says it pretty well, I think, about my own experience on the blog front lately.

Oremus pro invicem!

11 July 2014

09 July 2014

Five-and-a-Half Years Later, Still True and Unrefuted

"In conclusion, for all of the above reasons, the distinct obligation encapsulated in pre-existing universal liturgical law and immemorial custom iuxta legem that women cover their heads when praying in church remains in effect universally, whenever they attend any sacred function celebrated according to the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in church."

--the Canon Law conclusion of UCLX, 2008, the reasoning of which you may read here

And read this, too, if you like.

07 July 2014

Liturgical Renewal Will Stand or Fall on Whether or Not It is Rooted in the Traditional Mass as an Immense Good in Itself

On this Seventh Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, a very nice post at New Liturgical Movement by Peter Kwasniewski.  More reform-of-the-reform than I am inclined to be, but a worthy article just the same.  An excerpt:

For Catholics loyal to the Church’s Tradition, this motu proprio meant the end of a sort of Thirty Years’ War of outrageously mismatched armies. It was a surprising triumph for the faithful who had insisted that the ancient liturgy, the Mass of the Saints, has and will always have an important place in the Church’s life, and who begged to be able to worship God as so many generations had done before. Pope Benedict XVI established equal canonical rights for the OF and the EF. He did not say they were altogether equal in every way; he noted that the OF is more prevalent, while the EF “must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage.” Nevertheless, for the immediate peace of the Church, what matters most is that, canonically speaking, they are equal. After Pope Benedict, the EF can never be seen as the ugly duckling, the unwanted stepchild, the nutty aunt of the family, or a radioactive material to be encased in lead. It is part of the living heritage of every Roman Catholic priest, every Roman Catholic believer.

In the United States alone, the growth of the TLM is impressive indeed: from about 20 Sunday Masses in 1988, to 220 in 2006, to over 500 today. The religious communities that either serve the faithful in active ministry or utilize the old liturgical books in their contemplative life have prospered and grown, with a vastly disproportionate number of vocations for their size. There is no vocations crisis within this traditional realm—only in the larger Church whose leaders are still all too often wandering in the desert of modernism, wondering what happened to the once-filled churches and seminaries, and thinking that “more of the same” has got to be the solution. In reality, it’s time for “something completely different”—something altogether different from the postconciliar modus operandi. Something so different ... it is, thankfully, the same as the Roman Church has always had for all her centuries, with the natural growth and flux of an organic reality.

The New Evangelization will stand or fall on the strength of authentic liturgical renewal, and this renewal will stand or fall depending on whether or not it is rooted in the traditional Latin Mass as an immense good in itself and as a constant point of reference for the Ordinary Form.

Seven Years In, Gratitude for Summorum Pontificum

On this seventh anniversary of the great act of justice by Pope Benedict XVI in recognizing the continued vitality of the traditional Mass, I rework a post from a few years ago, still timely today:

In the wake of the Council of Trent, when Pope St. Pius V standardized the Roman Missal-- the Roman Rite, with minor discrepancies in various places, which had pre-dated Trent by more than a thousand years-- he made his wishes very clear in the great Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum:

...whereas, by this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure.

...in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force...

I can only imagine that the great saint was very displeased with the way things turned out in the late 1960s. The Novus Ordo Missae certainly was a change. And yet some will cling to the amusing notion that there were significant changes to the Roman Missal from 1570 to 1955, when Bugnini began the demolition process through the "restored" Holy Week ceremonies.

Those events of the sad past did not work to undo the fact that the Paul VI did not effectively suppress or abrogate the Roman Missal, which had most recently been published in 1962. This position was legally correct, even being confirmed by a commission of Cardinals convened by Pope John Paul II: the Roman Missal was still in force, and any priest could say it.

We know, however, that the many modernists in the Church, both clergy and laity, practically suppressed the traditional Mass, and acted as though it were lawfully suppressed. Surely many did this in good faith as they saw it, and in ignorance. But some did not possess that good faith. And so, without any mandate from Pope or Council, without any direction to do so in the new Missal or from any authoritative Church document, the altars were smashed, altar rails ripped out, sanctuaries whitewashed, the truths of the faith that so naturally informed the Church's liturgy, and which liturgy supported them in return, were discarded. And people went away. And souls were lost.

Even John Paul II, who in some respects made the traditional Mass more available, phrased access to it in the terms of "indult" (as though it were a permitted deviation from the law), first in 1984, and then again in 1988 as he sought to calm the waters after the stand-off with the SSPX over the episcopal consecrations of that year.

From 1984 to 2007, there was progress in the spread of the availability of the traditional Mass, but this progress was halting, and could reasonably be described as glacial in pace. And yet...

It did spread.

The liturgy of the Church compels. It is the most perfect combination of beauty and truth that we shall see in this vale of tears. The irregular situation of the SSPX put the issue in a political bind, but the truth was always the same: The Mass had never been abrogated or suppressed. The SSPX kept the Mass going. Other priestly societies with clear canonical faculties arose: the FSSP in 1988 as it split with the SSPX over the consecration dispute; the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in 1990; Campos, Brazil was granted an Apostolic Administration for the traditional Mass and sacraments. There were others, too, some societies of priests, some religious orders, and the few courageous parish priests who braved the displeasure of their ordinaries, the scorn and derision of their confreres, and even the anger of their flocks, to keep the Mass alive.

The struggle of the outcasts, the faithful Catholics who kept the traditional Mass alive in hotel rooms, funeral parlors, private homes, and in Churches, too, is one to which I was very late in coming. By the time I was drawn to the timeless Mass-- and knew that I had to let others know about it-- the iceberg was already beginning to break apart. All those who stood strong, struggled and suffered, deserve our thanks, and for those who have passed on, our fervent prayers. For all of the problems arising after 1988, it is undeniable that Archbishop Lefebvre was a stalwart in the struggle for the Mass. And many others: Davies, Siri, Ottaviani, Castro Meyer, and too many more to list.

I cannot end this post on the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum without expressing my gratitude to the Most Holy Trinity: God the Father, Who so cares for us; God the Son, Who did not abandon His Church; and God the Holy Ghost, Who despite our efforts preserves the Church from error and from the gates of hell.

In the temporal realm, I must also thank Pope Benedict XVI for his great act of justice, for his mercy to his flock, and for his efforts to restore the great guardian of truth in the Church-- her liturgy.

Furthermore, I would like to express my gratitude for our beloved Cardinal Burke, who, when he was Archbishop and to this day, understood and understands the necessary connection between the Church's celebration of her liturgy and her adherence to the truth. He anticipated Summorum Pontificum by bringing the Institute to La Crosse, then to Saint Louis, and by personally ordaining priests in the traditional ordination rite in his own See. No one who was there can forget the event that was the 2007 ordinations of Canon William Avis and Canon Matthew Talarico at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis-- three weeks before the motu proprio was released. The Cathedral was packed with more than 1,300 faithful from all over the country who witnessed what many thought might never be again; the traditional Mass in all its glory in an Archdiocesan Cathedral and the ordination of priests in the beautiful and ancient form that so greatly emphasized the love and sacrifice inherent in that priesthood. It was a watershed moment.

Even to this day, St. Louis is still fortunate to have an ordinary in Archbishop Carlson who allows the Oratories established by Cardinal Burke to continue their mission. In today's climate, that is a cause for thanks, too. Even this year, he has granted his blessing to the event to be held on August 5 at the Oratory-- the Ordination of four more American priests in the traditional rite by Cardinal Burke. Praise God for His Blessings.

Finally, I give thanks to God for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, because it has been an instrument of God in the deeper conversion of my family and me. And at the core of all of it has been the Mass. The loving care for souls that the Institute shows flows directly and immediately from its loving care for the liturgy.

So, today is a day to celebrate. If you have never read Summorum Pontificum, read it here. And then read the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Universae Ecclesiae here.

God bless you all.
St. Pius V, pray for us!
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!

05 July 2014

Institute Choir Camp Approaching

From a parent of a past chorister:

Children’s choir camp is one of those things you have to see to believe. Developed 5 years ago for the Institute’s children’s choirs in St. Louis, the camp is a week of intense musical training immersed in an authentically Catholic atmosphere. They study vocal technique, Gregorian chant, and Latin. The choristers have Mass in the EF every day at noon and chant the Litany of the Sacred Heart every evening in the Chapel, as well as Rosary walks and the availability of an Institute priest all week to hear confession.

We have choristers who come from all over the country, many of whom write to one another and remain in touch after the summer is over. One of the most beautiful fruits of choir camp is the little Catholic community that is formed, like a little Catholic army for our Lady!

In many instances, choristers come from large families. It’s not uncommon to have 3 and 4 siblings all singing in the choir. Thus the cost of choir camp becomes prohibitive for many such families. We need donors to help our large families pay for the tuition of camp. The tuition for choir camp is $450 - very reasonable considering the instruction the choristers receive as well as room and board for 5 days; but the cost adds up very quickly. We are looking for $7,000 to help make this year's camp possible for many families. Please donate at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sacred-music-summer-camp

03 July 2014

Feast of St. Irenaeus

“Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.”  

St. Irenaeus, pray for us.

George Weigel Briefly Awakes, Groggily Moans, and Falls Back Asleep

I escaped the dreadful regime of novus ordo hymn-ditties nearly a decade ago, but am still interested in sending in messages of hope to those trapped inside (Think: Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen's trip to talk to their father in the drive-in-turned-prison-camp in Red Dawn, prompting Harry Dean Stanton's character to defiantly scream, "BOYS, AVENGE ME, AVENGE ME!!!").

Thus, you may imagine my initial delight in seeing an article by George Weigel, of all people, with the title Heretical Hymns, with an undertitle that suggests they should be eliminated. Knowing better than to hope too much, and as a service to you, the reader, I read the article. Yes, it was too much to hope for.

Instead of actually examining the real crisis of "Catholic" vernacular hymns-- that they are an inorganic fabrication dating to 1969 and should be banished from the Mass according to even the conciliar documents themselves-- he just sort of disses some songs he doesn't like.

And, so you couldn't possibly get the wrong idea, he spends much time reassuring the reader that he loves loves loves hymns, the n.o., Luther and his ilk, and all that sad trap, so don't tell the Pope he's a trad. Or something like that.

For classic Lutheran theology, hymns are a theological "source:" not up there with Scripture, of course, but ranking not-so-far below Luther's "Small Catechism." Hymns, in this tradition, are not liturgical filler. Hymns are distinct forms of confessing the Church's faith. Old school Lutherans take their hymns very seriously.

Most Catholics don't. Instead, we settle for hymns musically indistinguishable from "Les Mis" and hymns of saccharine textual sentimentality. Moreover, some hymn texts in today's Catholic "worship resources" are, to put it bluntly, heretical. Yet Catholics once knew how to write great hymns; and there are great hymns to be borrowed, with gratitude, from Anglican, Lutheran, and other Christian sources. There being a finite amount of material that can fit into a hymnal, however, the first thing to do is clean the stables of today's hymnals.

There are great hymns to be borrowed, with gratitude, from the heretical sects? Great. Can you "borrow" some Gregorian chant instead? Or perhaps some of the great polyphonic Catholic sacred music from some of the greatest composers not named Cat Stevens?

Sorry, but the first thing is not to "clean the stables of today's hymnals". It is to make a mountainous pile of them and, Savonarola-like, burn them with wild celebration.

Weigel continues: The first hymns to go should be hymns that teach heresy. Thanks, George. A bold call. But why have they been included in Catholic hymnals for fifty soul-killing years? Any connection with the banishment of the ancient Mass or Vatican II? No, don't worry, you and your friends at the Register assure us it is pure coincidence. We just need more time to experience the fruits of the Council!

Next to go should be those "We are Jesus" hymns in which the congregation (for the first time in two millennia of Christian hymnology) pretends that it's Christ.. Yes, they are dreadful, George. But be careful or you'll be sacrificed on the altar of the common priesthood of the faithful.

Then there are hymns that have been flogged to death, to the point where they've lost any evocative power.. May I suggest, Mr. Weigel, that it isn't the repetition of dung-production that gives it its unpleasant odor?

Well, the article in toto is basically this: "These deck chairs don't belong here-- place them near the Titanic's rail." Commentary such as this might have done some good in 1970. It seems a bit late, and a bit weak, now.

02 July 2014

Lifesite Needs Your Help

Remember how the paid guardians of neo-Catholicism attacked Hilary White and called for her head, merely because she reported a factually true story without commentary?

Remember how Lifesite's editor ultimately stood by her?

Remember what a triumph this was for fairness, the Faith, and the effort to thwart the smugness of the accommodationists for hire?

Please prayerfully consider supporting them. Information here.

01 July 2014

Feast of the Most Precious Blood; Ninth Anniversary of the Canonical Erection of St. Francis de Sales Oratory

July 1 is the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. This feast, which is in some respects the complement to Corpus Christi (in that the Body and Blood of the Lord are present in both sacred Species), is also a particular opportunity for devotion to Our Lord's Precious Blood that was shed for us on Calvary and made present at every Holy Mass. By following so closely upon the feasts of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart, we are given such tender proof of Christ's love for us, and material for contemplation and adoration. This feast always affects me, knowing how much I caused that Blood to be shed. 

July 1, 2014 also marks the Ninth Anniversary of the founding of St. Francis de Sales as an Oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Though the priests of the Institute began their work in St. Louis at St. Agatha Church (the very beautiful former home of what used to be known as the "indult" Latin Mass community), they officially assumed charge of the former St. Francis de Sales Parish on July 1, 2005.
I remember clearly the very first Mass celebrated there, a low Mass said on Friday, July 1, the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, by Canon Karl W. Lenhardt, the first Rector of the Oratory. I had only begun to consistently attend the traditional Mass in May of that year, and was blessed enough to be able to go to daily Mass on a regular basis. As the TLM really was a means of deeper conversion for me while the Institute was still at St. Agatha's, I had developed a strong attachment to that Church, even though I had only attended for a short time. The painting of St. Agatha above the high altar is very beautiful, and the association I have of it with my "trad-conversion" is so strong that I still can picture it above just about any altar where the traditional Mass is said.
So, not knowing what to expect at de Sales, I arrived before 8 am Mass that day and was immediately struck with the vastness and grandeur of the Oratory. It is an undeniably majestic and beautiful setting for the Holy Mass. And when I entered, I looked to my left and there near the entrance was a stained glass window depicting-- of all things-- St. Agatha. I took it as a sign that all was for the best.
Of course, the work of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is about much, much more than the building where its priests celebrate Mass. But anyone who has read this blog for two days will likely have the idea that I am a wholehearted supporter of its mission and work. I give the Institute much credit for giving me the Catholic faith, whole and entire, in a way that I had not known it before. Though there are many external reasons for this, perhaps, I don't want to insinuate that anyone but myself was to blame for my lack of fidelity and charity in the past. But the Salesian spirituality of the Institute was for me the perfect vehicle to begin the journey towards holiness.
The Oratory has endured (if such a term is appropriate for a mere nine-year period) very well indeed through many changes in the Church, local and universal.  I am thankful, too, for the very able leadership (practical and spiritual) of its rectors, including the great Canon Michael Wiener, who himself has endured much to return to us after grave illness.
I pray that God bless abundantly the Institute and all those who come in contact with it. May the Blood of Christ wash us all. Happy Anniversary to the Oratory.