28 February 2014

Saint Louis Catholic's Favorite Local Journalist Leaves the Air




The great Gulf War, um, reporter is leaving Fox 2.

Ah, Charles, local representative of the Enlightenment, we wish you a fond farewell!




Mass Hysteria in the Media as Church Does Something Not Exceptionally Newsworthy



STLToday locally, and the national press too, are doing their level best to gin up a titillating groundswell to overturn the Latin discipline of priestly celibacy because one Eastern Rite Catholic married man was ordained a priest here in St. Louis.  Fr. Wissam Akiki is a priest of the Maronite Rite.  Maronite married men are ordained priests all the time.  Not news.

The only newsworthy thing about it is that from the early twentieth century, for prudential reasons, it was not thought wise to ordained married Eastern Rite Catholic men in the United States.  Maybe because the Church thought it might engender some confusion.  Huh. Ya think?  

From ABC News:  "This is certainly not an automatic indication that the mandate of celibacy within Roman rite will be overturned," said Randy Rosenberg, a theological studies professor at Saint Louis University.

Ah, Saint Louis University, that Jesuit bastion of orthodoxy and obedience to the Church-- and of humble obedience to our own Pope, the man taken from the ranks of the Jesuits.  Not an automatic indication? Oh good.  What a relief!

Here is the hysterical STLToday piece.

Here is the St. Louis Review's attempt to set the record straight.

And, of all places, the RFT Blog does a better job than the mainstream press.

"Our souls are waiting for God": Sermon for Sexagesima Sunday




Given by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory last Sunday:

Sexagesima Sunday

In today’s Epistle St. Paul tells of his shipwrecks and dangers in the sea, all the torments he endured for the Name of Christ. What then is the lesson to be taken from the life of a man whose life was filled with such suffering for the name of Christ?

Without doubt when considering the life of St. Paul, one would immediately see a man who believed in the power of prayer. The fact is St. Paul was very diligent in prayer. His exhortation to the church at Ephesus was, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereupon with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ep 6;18)”.

One can see the example of perseverance in prayer, as St. Paul prayed over and again regarding the thorn in the flesh. We can hear in his prayer the echoes of Jesus’ words. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

The end result of persecution and imprisonment produced a man concerned with growing stronger spiritually. This is certainly one of the great desires that every one of us would have. The need to mature and grow stronger in faith with each passing day. St. Paul’s reproach of the church at Corinth was about the matter of their failure to grow spiritually.

So especially this time of awaiting for Lent we need to be aware of the importance of prayer.

St. Francis de Sales tell us the benefit of prayer. Prayer brings our mind into the brightness of divine light, and exposes our will to the warmth of divine love. Nothing else can so purge our mind from its ignorance and our will from its depraved affections. It is a blessed fountain which, as it flows, revives our good desires and causes them to bring forth fruit, washes away the stains of infirmity from our soul and calms the passions of our heart.

To pray, the Catechism tells us, is to adore God, to thank him for his goodness, to ask his graces and the pardon of our sins to raise our hearts to him and enter into communion with him. This definition is correct. If prayer is necessary for salvation, then what is true prayer?

The majority of people for better or worse, do not fight against God, but they do not actively desire God’s love in any way. Many virtuous and cultured people want to live uprightly, socially correct, without God or religion. Many among them can justly be called wise according to the world. These persons do not deny God or despise those who pray. Nevertheless it is obvious that they experience nothing but intense emptiness when they kneel before an altar. To say for example that God is present in a special way on an altar sounds childish to them.

Today’s Gospel mentions different types of people who receive the seed of the divine word. They can be compared to the hard ground, to the stony soil, to the earth choked with thorns. They certainly understand how to live, but they fail to face the most fundamental questions, such as “Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?”

St. Paul says “Though this outer human nature of ours may be falling into decay, at the same time our inner human nature is renewed day by day. And a secret awakening awaits us. What kind of shock will awaken these souls? Unexpected happiness or misfortune? Or the word of God fervently uttered by the lips of a saint? Or even perhaps exercises suitable for well-known ascetics but beyond the reach of ordinary people?

The answer is clear. It is none of these things. Our souls are waiting for God. Only God can reveal himself. But is he just the one who lives in the heavens and who govern humanity as absolute master? If it were so, Christ’s incarnation would be in vain. The eternal and infinite God assumed all of human existence with all its weakness and frailty out of love for each human person. Assuredly, this surpassed all understanding and yet it is this God who at this very moment, continues to pursue and to challenge each one of us interiorly by knocking on the door of our minds. To listen to this call is itself pre-prayer. We need to prepare the good ground with a good and upright heart, hearing the word of Jesus, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience.

And so leaving this dull existence, the soul awakes and allows its prayer to rejoice in song as it winds its way to heaven.

In the book of Revelation (3:20) we read “Listen, I am waiting at the door knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me."

We need to respond to his invitation to stay with Him.

The prayer of Jesus continues still today. In the Eucharistic Liturgy, Christ the High Priest offers to the Father his redeeming sacrifice. He offers it in communion with his body which is the Church. Every prayer of ours is raised to the Father through Christ our Lord. It is this prayer of Christ which sustains all our prayers, those spoken and those in the heart.

Dear Faithful, let us continue to prepare the good ground, ready to receive His Divine word. Amen



27 February 2014

Blogpost from the Edge

As I write this, I don't know if I will publish it. As I write this, my father lies on an operating table with a surgeon attempting to remove a malignant tumor from his lung.

My father has beaten three types of cancer already. Because of previous chemotherapy and radiation, those treatments are not ideal for this fourth round of cancer. The best way to treat this is to simply find it and cut it out.

The real problem here is not so much his age or history of cancer per se, but that his lung capacity is very low. They are operating at 31%. And though that complicates anesthesia, it also is an issue for recovery, as the lungs are needed to help clear the resultant fluid accretion in the lungs after surgery. He is at high risk of pneumonia. He has emphysema and COPD. He is 76, and until his first round of lung cancer was a lifelong heavy smoker.

He's been through a lot. I can see on his eyes and hear in his voice that he really, really doesn't want to go through another round of protracted treatment.

I can't speak for him-- he's a guy who keeps his feelings close to the vest-- but for a guy who wears them on his sleeve, I think I see, at last, fear of his own death.

This isn't a blog post (even should it be a post at all) about the perils of smoking. You can read that elsewhere. It isn't intended to be a Facebook revelation-- though any revelation of a private family matter online is ultimately just that, and is the only reason I might not publish it.

Maybe it's the examination of conscience and confession of a mediocre son.

I love my father, most people do. When I was younger, I didn't appreciate his good qualities like I do now. Again, typical.

I've read stories about how such a person's father was his hero, or that another's was a total failure and ruined his life. Neither holds here. My Dad was a normal Dad, with all that that entails. He provided for us, stayed married to my Mom for 53 years (and counting), loved us, worried about us, endured us, bore with all of our problems. He had faults, flaws and sins. He had lots of great traits.

Is such a person a hero? No. I pray he will be a saint. Which of us really deserves to become that, relying only on our own actions? We are totally dependent on Christ.

Have I loved my father as I ought? Have I forgiven him when he needed it? Have I thanked him? Have I remembered him?

The report card is decidedly mixed, uneven, mediocre.

So when I saw my own mortality reflected in his eyes as he was being taken to the operating room, knowing he loves me and I love him, and knowing that he knows that I know that we are both sorry, and glad, and grateful, I pray for him and me and all those we love, lift up, and sometimes let down:

God have mercy. Lord help us. Mary, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

They just called us, surgery is ending, and I can see him soon.






26 February 2014

No One Ever Wants to Resign. They Just Want to Spend More Time with Their Family.


Well, that clears that up:
 

Former Pope Benedict, in one of the few times he has broken his silence since stepping down nearly a year ago, has branded as "absurd" fresh media speculation that he was forced to quit.
Church law says a pope's resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others.

"There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry," Benedict, 86, who now has the title "pope emeritus," said in a letter to the Italian website Vatican Insider published on Wednesday.

"The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculation regarding its validity is simple absurd," he wrote in answer to a request by the website for comment on recent Italian media reports.


The Vatican felt the need to push this story why?

Antonio Socci sure does rattle their cageMore than once.

Two "absurd"  conspiracy theories dismissed out-of-hand by the Vatican, yet two major media efforts aimed to doing so-- the first when Cardinal Bertone took to the interview circuit to prop up the everything released/consecration done/nothing to see here line on Fatima, and the second with the major news services today reporting Benedict's reaffirmation of the free decision of his abdication.

Why?

I merely ask the question.  
 

2017 approaches.  Enjoy the ride.




25 February 2014

Prayer Request

If you could, in your charity, remember my father in your prayers, I would greatly appreciate it. He will undergo surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on Thursday. God bless you for your kindness.

24 February 2014

Reception and Implementation of Vatican II: Comparisons to Nicea

"The School of Bologna remained faithful to the Council-Pentecost archetype and sees in John XXIII the unheeded prophet of a new era in the history of the Church.  Benedict XVI today, in contrast, is the most renowned representative of those who, in view of the self-destructive reality of the post-conciliar period, changed their judgment on the council over the years, proposing that it be interpreted in the wake of tradition.

After living through the council event and the long years of the post-conciliarpost-conciliar period as a protagonist, Joseph Ratzinger, having ascended to the papal throne with the name Benedict XVI, applied the image of the Council of Nicaea once again to Vatican II, but in a very different key.  In the above-cited address on December 22, 2005, the newly-elected pope confirmed that the reception of the council had undeniably been a difficult process, and then mentioned in this connection the image that St. Basil gives for the Church after the council in 325: he compares it to a naval battle being waged in the dark of night during a raging storm, describing "the cry of the combatants encountering one another in dispute;... the inarticulate screams, the unintelligible noises, rising from the ceaseless agitations."

The metaphor that Benedict XVI applies to the post-conciliarpost-conciliar Church, forty years after the conclusion of the council, is therefore that of a naval battle, in the darkness, on a stormy sea.  But already twenty years after the close of the conciliar proceedings, in his book-length interview, The Ratzinger Report, then-Cardinal Ratzinger considered it "incontestable" that the last twenty years had been "decidedly unfavorable for the Catholic Church."

[...]

It should be noted that between the crisis situation following the Council of Nicaea and the one in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council there is a fundamental difference.  The crisis after Nicaea was not started as a result of a hermeneutical conflict over the canons of the council in 325, but in an open reaction against those decrees.  Faced with this reactionary movement, the Emperor Constantine modified his policy toward Arianism, which led to an expansion of the crisis.  The conflict was between the supporters of the Council of Nicaea and its radical and moderate opponents, whereas the meaning of the Nicene Creed was never called into question."

-- Roberto de Mattei, The Second Vatican Council (an unwritten story), from the Introduction

One Step Closer to Blessed Paul VI

From The Vatican Insider:

Theologians approve Paul VI “miracle”

At the beginning of this week, the consultation of expert theologians from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints unanimously approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Giovanni Battista Montini, Pope Paul VI. Now, the healing which had been termed “inexplicable” by the medical consultation headed by Professor Patrizio Polisca, will have to be examined by the dicastery’s cardinals and bishops before receiving final approval from Pope Francis. If, as authoritative sources from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints tell Vatican Insider, these latest steps are concluded quickly, Montini could be beatified within the next few months.

22 February 2014

Is This Happening?

I am mobile at the moment so, while I intend to rework this post later, I thought it imperative to post something immediately. First link from NCR of all places. 

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/under-benedict-s-eye-francis-tells-cardinals-be-peacemakers

Excerpts:

_____________


Pope Francis on Saturday called on the world’s Catholic cardinals to be compassionate peacemakers among people experiencing violence and exclusion while adding 19 new members to their ranks in a ceremony unexpectedly attended by retired Pope Benedict XVI.



...

The formal event also includes a public profession of faith from each of the new cardinals and an oath of fidelity to be “constantly obedient” to the Gospel, to the Catholic church, and “to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff,” specified during the ceremony as Pope Francis.
In an error some may see as particularly awkward given the retired pope’s presence at the ceremony, a working document given to journalists to explain the event rendered the oath of the fidelity of the cardinals to Benedict, and not Francis.
When making the oath, the cardinals also pledge “not to make known to anyone matters entrusted to me in confidence, the disclosure of which could bring damage or dishonor to Holy Church.”
ht to skw for tip

21 February 2014

Happy Friday, Everybody!

1612And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon that great river Euphrates and dried up the water thereof, that a way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun.et sextus effudit fialam suam in flumen illud magnum Eufraten et siccavit aquam eius ut praepararetur via regibus ab ortu solis
1613And I saw from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.et vidi de ore draconis et de ore bestiae et de ore pseudoprophetae spiritus tres inmundos in modum ranarum
1614For they are the spirits of devils, working signs: and they go forth unto the kings of the whole earth, to gather them to battle against the great day of the Almighty God.sunt enim spiritus daemoniorum facientes signa et procedunt ad reges totius terrae congregare illos in proelium ad diem magnum Dei omnipotentis
1615Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.ecce venio sicut fur beatus qui vigilat et custodit vestimenta sua ne nudus ambulet et videant turpitudinem eius
1616And he shall gather them together into a place which in Hebrew is called Armagedon.

18 February 2014

Meatless Friday Tuesday: the United States of Decline

For those of you who still retain faith in the integrity of the voting process, representative democracy, or whatever you might call it, this article from National Review is for you.

NR is as mainstream matrix-y as you can get. When it throws in the towel, what other, more comforting shelter will you find? It seems you are like a resident of the grey town in C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, fearing the oncoming night.


The Narrative Writes the News, Honesty is Not Required

If you have been a sentient being who acknowledges the existence of the Natural Law, the title of this post amounts to Dog Bites Man.

But I enjoyed the comprehensiveness of the take on this subject that my brother tipped me to, written by Matt Walsh, which I'll excerpt below. It is a devastating account and catalogue of the faked incidents and allegations of "homophobic" behavior to advance the political agenda.

The last part of the excerpt relates to our state's contribution to the agenda-building effort, Michael Sam:

_______________

Lying, coercing, manipulating, defrauding, and scheming — for marriage equality!

Posted on February 16, 2014 by The Matt Walsh Blog


We all know the score.

This is how the game is played.

They lie, and cooperate with lies, and become willing participants in things that are very likely to be lies, and they do it all for the greater good.

Did you hear about the infamous gay bashing birthday party RSVP from earlier this week? The story set social media on fire. Two gay dads threw a tie dye party for their 7-year-old daughter, Sophia, and invited all of the neighborhood children over to celebrate. But some anti-gay mother (probably a Christian, as countless people on Facebook and Twitter observed) declined the invitation, and she did so in the rudest way possible. Rather than simply offering a polite ‘sorry, we can’t make it,’ she jotted down a vicious anti-gay rant, and sent it to Sophia’s dads.

The note said: “Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your “lifestyle.” I’m sorry Sophia has to grow up this way.”

When I first saw this story, my initial thought was: who in God’s name throws tie dye parties anymore?

Then my second thought was: how long before we find out that this entire story is a hoax? I told my wife it would be two weeks. I was wrong. It took one week. A couple of days ago, the inevitable inevitably happened. We discovered that the Tale of the Anti Gay RSVP was, in fact, a complete fabrication, cooked up by a morning radio show.

Don’t worry, they say they only wanted to “start a conversation.”

Mission accomplished. Conversation started.

Well, it wasn’t so much a ‘conversation’ as it was an excuse for a bunch of nincompoops to spew tired old anti-Christian and anti-conservative clichés – but I guess that’s what passes for dialogue these days.

You know, I’m beginning to suspect that the folks who spread these fraudulent parables of “anti-gay bias” might be doing it on purpose.

I’m starting to suspect that these people aren’t as gullible as they pretend to be.

I might be onto something.

[...]

But the false narrative is the primary weapon in the arsenal of the progressive. Maybe it’s their only weapon. In no area is this more pronounced or prevalent than in the realm of “gay rights.” The gay rights movement is built on mischaracterizations, fabrications, and outright lies. They don’t always come up with the lie — this one originated as nothing more than a radio station’s cheap publicity stunt — but they will use it for their benefit.

[...]

That’s because the truth is irrelevant here.

It’s all about the narrative. That’s it.

In fact, instances of fake gay bashing and fabricated homophobic ”hate crimes” are so common that I’d need to drag this on for 20 pages just to come close to listing all of the more recent cases. Here’s a good one. A lesbian couple spray painted the phrase “kill the gay” on their own garage. Because “kill the gay” is something that traditional marriage advocates frequently say.

[At this point Walsh links to eight other examples of fabricated events along these lines, reported as fact by the press. Read them at his post.]

I’m sure, as we speak, there’s yet another wannabe victim on some liberal arts campus somewhere busily planning a biased assault on themselves. And I’m just as sure that gay rights advocates will seize on their unlikely fable and use it to turn their opposition into straw men who refuse to tip lesbians.

[...]

But there’s more than one way to construct a narrative. Bald faced lying is simply one strategy.

Mythologizing can be even more effective.

Right in front of our eyes, out in the open, they make men into myths.

They made a marginal, obscure, unremarkable, aging NBA benchwarmer into a “historic” sports legend. Jason Collins was morphed into Jackie Robinson — which is about as absurd as attempting to turn Billy Ripken into Babe Ruth.

[...]

And now the NFL has become another staging ground for the gay victimhood mythology. It was inevitable. As soon as Michael Sam announced his sexual habits publicly, we knew what would come next. He’ll be a victim, even if he’s not. NFL teams are in a lose-lose predicament. They can draft him higher than he deserves to be drafted, and find themselves under the close scrutiny of the media and gay rights organizations who are waiting eagerly for any example of gay discrimination in the locker room or on the field. Or NFL clubs can refuse to distract their entire team for the sake of winning points with progressives by drafting an undersized, middle round defensive prospect, and be accused of “homophobia” and “bigotry” because of it.

It doesn’t matter what happens next. Michael Sam will be a victim. Michael Sam will be what the narrative needs him to be. He is now another character in a fictitious drama, written and produced by agenda-driven liars and schemers.


17 February 2014

The Church "Must Not Fear the Truth"-- Pope Leo XIII

The above quote ends the introductory and bibliographical section of The Second Vatican Council (an unwritten story), by Roberto de Mattei.  Yes, this is the same Roberto de Mattei that was sacked from Radio Maria for writing things contrary to today's zeitgeist.

This book is a must read for any serious Catholic who wants to make sense out of the council, its documents, the event of it, and its effect on us all.  Pick your hermeneutic, you will find much to inform, and much upon which to think.

I will be posting small (for me, anyway) excerpts from this book as I make my way through it*.  Today I begin.  I hope you enjoy the tour.  At times I might add my own emphases, but won't put any other commentary.  

Let's begin with Professor de Mattei's identification and description of that with which most readers are by now at least vaguely familiar:  the two rival "hermeneutics" (methods or theories of interpretation) of the council.  From the Introduction:

________________

The debate about the Second Vatican Council, even in its complexity and in the articulation of the various positions, can be boiled down essentially to two lines of interpretation: the hermeneutic of "continuity" between the council and the preceding tradition, and the hermeneutic of "discontinuity" or "rupture" with the Church's past.  The first line of interpretation has been taken up by the ecclesiastical hierarchy since the pontificate of John Paul II and has been formulated with clarity and conviction by Benedict XVI, especially in his address to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005.  This is a theological approach to the Second Vatican Council, which is judged by the sixteen documents of unequal doctrinal value that it produced.  As a whole, these documents, according to the supreme authority of the Church, express a non-infallible yet authentic magisterium, which must be read in continuity with the documents that preceded it and that have followed it, in other words "in light of tradition."

Benedict XVI has returned many times to this topic... [...]The one way to make Vatican II credible-- Cardinal Ratzinger always maintained and Benedict XVI maintains today-- is to present it as part of the entire, unique tradition of the Church and of her faith.

The second line of interpretation takes a hermeneutical approach that is historical rather than theological.  It has its most significant expression in the so-called "School of Bologna" which, under the direction of Professor Giuseppe Alberigo, produced an impressive History of Vatican II, published in various languages, which, although controversial and debatable, constitutes an indispensable reference work.  For this school, Vatican II, apart from the documents that it produced, was in the first place an historical "event" which as such, meant an undeniable discontinuity with the past: it raised hopes, started polemics and debates, and in the final analysis inaugurated a new era.

An event is a situation that represents a radical break with the past, "a fact which, once it has happened, changes something in the present and in the future."[...] The council's identity is defined, from this perspective, not only by the institutional doctrinal documents and the canonical norms followed at the council, but above all by the actual unfolding of the assembly and by the reception of the event by the community of the faithful.

The thesis of "discontinuity" is advanced also in the so-called "traditionalist" world, which includes a wide range of dissimilar views.  The most important work to have appeared so far is the one by Professor Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, which is not situated on the historical level, however, but on the theological and above all on the philosophical level.  Although ignored by the progressive media, it too is an indispensable reference work.


_________
* In this and in all other posts, I will be omitting footnotes.  There isn't space here, and this isn't a scholarly publication.  I wish merely to point out that the book is extensively researched and provides extensive documentation, all of which is patiently and thoroughly cited.  I encourage everyone to just buy the book and track down all the citations to your heart's content.

Happy President's Day!





Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to one section as to another.


-- The Great Emancipator, First Inaugural Address, 1861


16 February 2014

KC Mob Attempts Hatchet Job on Good Bishop

Just because you won't likely read that headline anywhere else. Despicable times.

Laborers in the Vineyard: Sermon for Septuagesima Sunday




This excellent and timely sermon was delivered today by Canon Michael Wiener, ICRSS, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory:

Septuagesima 2014

We enter the vestibule of Lent: The architecture of the liturgical year allows us to prepare ourselves for the entrance into the most important penitential season in the Church’s life.

“The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.”

The householder is Christ who calls us from the early hours in the morning until the evening. We wouldn’t have known what to do without being hired by him when we were “standing in the market place idle.” He gives us the reward he had promised, eternal life, the penny for a life’s work.

In this parable God’s mercy is glorified, and we are allowed to look on the beautiful edifice of our salvation.

The all merciful God, made man, is the good and responsible householder who looks for His creatures from the morning until the evening. He goes out to the market place, which is the world, to call men into His vineyard which is His Church.

He does this from the early hours in history, beginning with Adam to Moses and to the vocation of the Gentiles. And He does it also from the early hours in our own lives: From the morning of our childhood to the third hour of our youth and the ninth hour of the old age in our life.

God goes out and looks for us. Only He can hire us, without Him we are lost in the marketplace of this world, victims of our sinfulness and the attacks of the devil.

God isn’t obliged to hire us - but He did. God continues to go out into the world to bring us to His vineyard, so much so that the apostle says in his letter to the Philippians:

“But [He] emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.” (Philippians 2:7).

Without grace nobody can be saved and grace cannot be merited by natural works. The first part we are quick to believe, but do we really believe the second part?

We are “justified freely by His grace” says the apostle. The council of Trent teaches that our justification can be achieved neither by works of the Old Testament Law nor by observance of the natural law, but that it is a free gift of the love of God. In our days, again filled with Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian empty activism, this dogmatic truth is not favored. But this truth must be known to learn humility. And only true humility makes us love God and our neighbor with sincerity.

“… Not evil-doers alone are called idle but also those who do not do good,” says St. Thomas commenting on the parable of the householder and workers. Knowledge of the teaching about the absolute necessity of grace for our salvation forbids us to live in idleness: “Through idleness we come to lose the good that lasts forever.”

The Church urges us to engage more often and more generously in prayer, in works of divine charity, in answering to the call of Our Lord now and today. The work in the vineyard to which we have been called should have quality, carefully executed, using all our skills given to us by God. The sincere effort counts, and the love with which we make it determines the quality of it.

There is a lot to do for all of us: do you spend every day a certain time in prayer, that is, in the presence of God?

“Inasmuch as prayer places our understanding in the clearness of the divine light, and exposes our will to the warmth of heavenly love, there is nothing which purges our understanding of its ignorance and our will of its depraved inclinations,” says St. Francis de Sales about prayer.

That is what we were hired for in the first place; this is point one in our job description.

This daily effort will make our actions supernaturally fruitful in all spheres of life. Unless we live our lives in the shadows of the divine vineyard, cultivating the divine virtues of faith, hope, and charity by fertilizing them with the sacramental graces of Christ, we stand around idle in the marketplace - even if we are hyper-active in all kinds of “socially relevant” activities.

Lent will be the time when we can renew the contract which earns us eternal life. Don’t expect more than a penny! The penny is what you get: it’s all you need to enter heaven. Don’t expect a pay raise! And don’t expect to be paid more than others: eternal life is for all equally eternal.

That doesn’t mean that there is not a difference in the degree of perfection in the beatific vision: “Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor.” (I Cor. 3, 8).That is, the man who worked from the early hours of the day enters heaven probably with greater merits, and will have a higher place in heaven. But that is not what the parable is about.

Be assured: there will be no envy on account of the unequal glory in heaven, since perfect love will reign in all and produce perfect unity among us.

God calls us from our earliest years, let this time ahead of us be then the time when we accept the offer God makes us, an offer too good to be refused.

Amen.


15 February 2014

It's Alright, Ma (I'm only Bleeding)




Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed
Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough, what else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only








14 February 2014

"It is the spirit, intransigent and without compromise, of the Saints which today is dramatically absent. "





These words are from an article by Roberto de Mattei, reproduced at Rorate Caeli today. It is an important article, and one for which he has been banished from his (volunteer!) position at Radio Maria in Italy. The circumstances of that decision are at Rorate, with links to source material.

I wish to focus solely on the article itself, a reflection of the year that has passed since the "lightning in a serene sky", the announcement of the abdication of His Holiness Benedict XVI.

I reproduce it in full below. But one call to Catholic action strikes me immediately:

An acies ordinata is necessary, an army ready for battle which taking up the weapons of the Gospel, will announce words of life to the modern world that dies, instead of embracing its dead body.

That pretty much sums up real pastoral action. And without giving myself any airs, this is what I hope to do with this blog, when it is at its best.

____________________________


Motus in fine velocior

by Roberto de Mattei [Feb. 12. 2014]

February 11, 2013, is a date which has entered history. It was on that day that Benedict XVI communicated to an assembly of astonished cardinals his decision to renounce the pontificate. The announcement was received “like lightning in a serene sky,” according to the words addressed to the Pope by the cardinal deacon Angelo Sodano, and the image of lightning which, that very day, had struck the Basilica of St. Peter, spread throughout the world.

The abdication occurred on February 28, but before this Benedict XVI announced that he wanted to remain in the Vatican as Pope emeritus, something that had never happened before and which was more surprising than the renouncement of the pontificate. In the intervening month, between the announcement of the abdication and the opening of the conclave on March 12, the election of the new Pontiff was prepared for, even if it appeared to the world to be something unexpected. More surprising than the identity of the one elected, Jorge Mario Bergolio from Argentina, was the new name chosen by him, Francis, almost as if to represent an unicum, and what struck the people most of all was his first speech in which, after a colloquial “good evening,” he introduced himself as “bishop of Rome,” a title which is due to the Pope, but only after that of Vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, which constitute its presupposition.

The photographs of the two Popes who prayed together on March 23 at Castelgandolfo, offering the image of a new papal “diarchy,” increased the confusion of those days. But that was only the beginning. There was the interview on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013, with the words “who am I to judge!” destined to be used to justify every transgression. There followed the interviews of Pope Francis by the director of “Civiltà Cattolica” in September and the one by the founder of daily “La Repubblica” in October, which had a greater mass media impact than his first encyclical Lumen fidei. It is said that they were not magisterial acts, but all that has happened in the Church from that time derives, above all, from those interviews which had a magisterial character, in actuality if not in principle.

The encounter between Cardinal [-elect Gerhard] Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Faith, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the counsellors for the reforms of Pope Francis, has brought the confusion to its head. The traditional doctrine, according to Maradiaga, is not sufficient to offer “replies for the world of today.” It will be maintained, but there are “pastoral challenges” adapted to certain times which one cannot respond to “by authoritarianism and moralism” because this “is not the new evangelization.”

The declarations of Cardinal Maradiaga were followed by the results of the survey on the pastoral challenges of the family promoted by the Pope for the Synod of Bishops of 5 – 19th October. The SIR (Service of religious information [the news agency of the Italian Episcopal Conference]) has released a summary of the first replies which have arrived from Central Europe. For the Belgian, Swiss, Luxembourger and German bishops, the Catholic faith is too rigid and does not correspond to the needs of the faithful. The Church should accept pre-marital cohabitation, recognise homosexual marriage, accept birth control and contraception, bless the second marriages of divorcees and permit them to receive the sacraments. If this is the road which one wishes to take, it is the moment to say that we are speaking of a road that leads to schism and heresy, because it would deny the divine and natural faith, which in its commandments not only affirms the indissolubility of matrimony, but also prohibits sexual acts outside of it, and even more so if they are against nature. The Church welcomes all those who repent of their sins and who propose to break with the moral disorder in which they find themselves, but can in no way justify the status of the sinner. It would be useless to affirm that the change would regard only the pastoral praxis and not the doctrine. If correspondence is lacking between the doctrine and the praxis, this means to say that it is the praxis which makes the doctrine as has already been happening, unfortunately, since the II Vatican Council until now.

Must the Church give replies which are new and “in step with the times”? Very differently did the great reformers in the history of the Church behave, such as St. Peter Damian and St. Gregory the Great who, in the XI century, would have had to justify the simony and nicolaism of the priests, in order not to render the Church alien to the reality of their time, and instead they denounced these wounds with words of fire, starting the reform of customs and the restoration of sound doctrine.

It is the spirit, intransigent and without compromise, of the Saints which today is dramatically absent. An acies ordinata is necessary, an army ready for battle which taking up the weapons of the Gospel, will announce words of life to the modern world that dies, instead of embracing its dead body. Between the Council of Trent and the French Revolution, the Jesuits offered this nucleus of combatants for the Church. Today all the religious orders suffer decadence, and if, amongst these, one appears rich in promise, it is inexplicably suppressed. The case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, which exploded in July, has brought to light an evident contradiction between the continuous reminders of Pope Francis for mercy, and the stick assigned to the commissioner, Fidenzio Volpi, to annihilate one of the few religious institutes still blossoming today.

The paradox does not end there. Never before as in the first year of the pontificate of Pope Francis, has the Church so renounced one of its divine attributes, that of justice, to present itself to the world as being merciful and benedictory, but never before as in this year has the Church been the object of such violent attacks from the world towards which it extends its hand.

Homosexual marriage, being claimed by all the great international organisations and by almost all of the western governments, contradicts head-on, not only the faith of the Church, but the very natural and divine law which is written in the heart of every man. What are the great mass mobilizations which occurred above all in France with the Manif pur tous, but the reaction of the conscience of a people to a legislation which is both unjust and against nature? But the immoralist lobbies are not satisfied with this. What matters to them is not the affirmation of the presumed homosexual rights, as much as the negation of the rights of humans and of Christians. Christianos esse non licet: the blasphemous cry which was made by Nero and Voltaire, re-echoes in the world today, whilst Jorge Mario Bergoglio is chosen by the worldly magazines as man of the year.

The events succeed one another more quickly. The latin motus in fine velocior is commonly used to indicate the faster passing of the time at the end of an historical period. The multiplication of events, in fact, shortens the course of time, which in itself does not exist outside of the things that flow. Time, says Aristotle, is the measure of movement (Physics, IV, 219 b). More precisely we define it as the duration of changeable things. God is eternal precisely because He is immutable: every moment has its cause in Him, but nothing in Him changes. The more one distances himself from God the more chaos, produced by the change, increases.

February 11 marked the start of an acceleration of time, which is the consequence of a movement which is becoming vertiginous. We are living through an historical hour which is not necessarily the end of times, but certainly the end of a civilization and the termination of an epoch in the life of the Church. If at the end of this epoch, the clergy and lay Catholics do not take their responsibility very seriously, there will inevitably be realised that fate which the visionary of Fatima saw unveiled before her own eyes:

“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 were 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.”

The dramatic vision of May 13 should be more than sufficient to urge us to meditate, pray and act. The city is already in ruins and the enemy soldiers are at the gates. He who loves the Church let him defend Her, to hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.




A Warning from St. Gilbert, Fulfilled

Not canonized, of course, and Stratford Caldecott says that canonization must await our study and understanding of Chesterton's greatest legacy-- the unmasking and refutation of Modernity.  From the full article:

“The coming peril is the intellectual, educational, psychological and artistic overproduction, which, equally with economic overproduction, threatens the wellbeing of contemporary civilisation. People are inundated, blinded, deafened, and mentally paralysed by a flood of vulgar and tasteless externals, leaving them no time for leisure, thought, or creation from within themselves.” 

--G.K. Chesterton, 1930

Commemoratio S. Valentini Martyris




From Today's Lauds, courtesy of the FFI:

Ant. Qui odit * ánimam suam in hoc mundo, in vitam ætérnam custódit eam.

V. Iustus ut palma florébit.
R. Sicut cedrus Líbani multiplicábitur.

Orémus. Praesta, quaesumus omnipotens Deus: ut qui beati Valentini martyris tui natalitia colimus, a cunctis malis imminentibus, eius intercessione liberemur.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum.

R. Amen.

13 February 2014

Meatless Friday Thursday: BFIB Edition




This one goes out to Brewer fan Badger Catholic, from one of the few in St. Louis who gets just a little weary of hearing us talk about how great we are. From Grantland, discussing the questions facing each team this Spring:


St. Louis Cardinals: Isn’t this organization the best? Doesn’t it have the best fans? Isn’t life swell?
There are four or five teams on this list for which even one more mediocre starting pitcher could mean the difference between making or missing the playoffs. The Cardinals have more good pitchers than they can use. They also have a lineup that goes eight deep with legitimate big-league hitters. St. Louis crossed into the land of annoyingly good awhile ago, and it has only trivial question marks of which to speak entering spring training.



A Few Notes from the Brink of Western Civilization




"I was reprimanding her with the Apocalypse."

"How's that?" Asked the prince, thinking he had not heard right.

"I was reading the Apocalypse. A lady with a restless imagination, heh, heh! And, besides, I've come to the conclusion that she's much inclined towards serious topics, even unrelated ones. She likes them, likes them, and even takes it as a sign of special respect for her. Yes, sir. And I'm strong on interpreting the Apocalypse and have been doing it for fifteen years. She agreed with me that we live in the time of the third horse, the black one, and the rider with a balance in his hand, because in our time everything is in balances and contracts, and people are all only seeking their rights: 'A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny...' And with all that they want to preserve a free spirit, and a pure heart, and a healthy body, and all of God's gifts. But they can't do it with rights alone, and there will follow a pale horse and him whose name is Death, and after him Hell... We get together and interpret it and-- she's strongly affected."

"You believe that yourself?" Asked the prince, giving Lebedev a strange look.


-- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot, 1869

Just a little survey of doings in these days of changing horses. These entries are in exact order of randomness:

1. Headline: Sixteen Sodomites Suing State

Or, if you like, as the direktors of the Kulturkampf apparently do, Eight Gay Couples Suing Missouri over Its Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

Now, I am not ascribing moral equivalency between drunk driving and one of the sins that the scriptures say "cry out to Heaven for vengeance." But since drunk driving is an unforgivable sin to a modernist while sodomy is a reason to to throw a party, ask yourself this: what if sixteen committed drunk drivers sued the state of Missouri-- not to indeed overturn its drunk driving laws-- but to give full faith and credit to the laws of their home state of Margaritaville, and to let them drive drunk in Missouri? Would that ever happen? Moreover, what if your bartenders were were forced to serve the alcohol to them immediately before the trip? Celebrate diversity, you bigots!

And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them. -- Isaias 3:4

2. Speaking of...

As widely reported, and reported again, and reported again and again, Missouri All-American Michael Sam announced publicly that he has a proclivity to commit sodomy. This "news" was welcomed as the herald of a new dawn of universal brotherhood siblinghood, and just what America needed now that the press is tired of castigating Russia over anti-homosexual propaganda laws. And what entity is as imperious and troglodytical as Russia? Why, the NFL.

The story of the first (soon-to-be) NFL player to be openly "gay" is a predictable yawner. That's life in the culture of death. But I will admit some level of admiration for the media's ability to stretch this story into five times the normal "news" cycle. The latest is the hypocritical father who says he has a problem with his son's activities. You see, he is alleged to have abandoned his family of eight children, and been such a paragon of virtue as to have taken one of his sons to Mexico with the purpose of losing his virtue.

Who knows, it may even be true. The point is that this is the perfect model of what the culture sees as the typical father, right out of central casting. As of yet, I have not read anything that addresses what effect an absentee and poor father might have had on driving a son to homosexuality. Holding my breath...

My personal vision of the near future: a halftime pretend wedding of two (or more) same-sex cadets during the halftime of the Army-Navy game, complete with military flyover by the Blue Angels, whose contrails will be rainbow colored. Bonus if they can release some lions to eat Christians who object.

3. Next, some good news, as clarity is welcome on Medjugorje. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while not yet condemning the alleged apparitions there, has issued a prohibition to Catholics from attending events that assume that the apparitions are true. Looks like the writing is on the wall.

4. I like to speculate as much as anyone. So here is some speculation by Louie Verrechio to mark the first anniversary of the abdication of Pope Benedict. It is his own speculation, not mine. What I find relevant is that a year later, speculation is still all we have.

I think Taylor Marshall's prediction of the election of Cardinal Burke turned out to be erroneous.

5. In one of Lebedev's unrelated items, it appears that Catholics don't believe in the Church's teaching on contraception and related issues. Quick, the smelling salts! All my readers fainted!

6. In prison public school news, parents still submit their children to anything the state decides is good for the state the children, as this story shows.

7. And finally, it appears Hollywood will take on the production of a major studio movie based on the classic Shusaku Endo novel, Silence. Liam Neeson is rumored to be lead actor. Silence covers the persecution of Catholics in Japan, and the investigation of a Jesuit who may have renounced his faith under torture. I don't know what Hollywood will make of it. Maybe in the film version the hero "comes out" as "gay" and they let him go.

Sorry for the length of this super special maxi post. I'm out.





11 February 2014

Apology

It's not exactly breaking news, but the blog has been a bit boring the last two days (yes, at least). Busy at work. Look for super maxi special post tomorrow, on lots of recent events. 

08 February 2014

Common Core: All Your Child Are Belong to Us




My brother tipped me off to this outstanding piece at The Imaginative Conservative by Anthony Esolen. That the Common Core contains ideologically-driven material is beside the point. That it has serious flaws in the pedagogy involved is beside the point.

The point? We are not free human beings; we do not have authority over the education of our children.

We are owned by the state.

Full article here, excerpts below:

_______________

A young man and woman arrive at the office of the town clerk to procure a marriage license. They’re all smiles, until the secretary hands them a document to sign, wherein they read this remarkable sentence: “The State, conceding to the parents the making of their children’s bodies, asserts its primacy in the making of their minds.”

So bald a proclamation of totalitarian power might cost the party that made it a percentage point or two at the polls. Thus, it will never actually grace a marriage license. Yet there is no need to make that proclamation when the arrogation of that power is an accomplished fact. An underling who does not realize his subservient position is more tractable than one who does.

I’ve lately been involved in the fight against the latest move to nationalize public education, this one called the Common Core. It is a bag of rotten old ideas doused with disinfectant; its assumptions are hostile to classical and Christian approaches to education; it is starkly utilitarian; its self-promotion is sludged up with edu-lingo, thick with verbiage and thin in thought; its drafters have forgotten, if they ever knew, what it is to be a child.

But my point here is not that the Common Core is dreadful. It is this: that there should even be a Common Core proves how far we have fallen into peonage to the State.

I have said many hard things about the poor preparation of many of our public school teachers, about English teachers who do not know grammar and who cannot write; about history teachers who settle down into current events, requiring no broad reading or knowledge; about math teachers who have no facility with numbers; and about foreign language teachers who hold their students in bonds for four years and yet do not manage to teach them how to read a newspaper, much less Don Quixote or Les Miserables.

[...]

Yet long before the advent of departments of education, the Christian progressive William Chauncy Langdon, defending the family against the encroachment of the state, wrote in The Century (November 1889) that education “is not, certainly in its earlier stages, any part of the immediate responsibility of the political community,” for the totalitarian “Sparta presents to us no illustration of an educational philosophy for a Christian people.” That is because “real education is the development of distinct personalities,” and therefore cannot “be effected by contract or in the aggregate.”

Whoever actually imparts the education, said Langdon, even if it is, partially, the State, “can be regarded only as the representative deputy or the substitute for the family.” The family delegates some of its educational task to the schoolteacher, who is, as it were, a general governess or tutor hired by the parents through the intermediary of the town or county. The school is a deputy of the family, or, in the case of the death or debility of the parents, a substitute. It has no authority of its own apart from what the employers—the parents—delegate to it.

Let’s pause to think about that. A rich man hires a tutor to instruct his son in arts and letters. The father has the classics in mind; he wants his son to read Virgil, to converse with Matthew Arnold, and to sit at the feet of Pascal and Kierkegaard. But the tutor has other things in mind. He has the boy read Toni Morrison, “graphic novels,” and op-ed pieces from contemporary newspapers. That shine you see on the seat of the tutor’s trousers has been imparted, successively, by the father’s boot and the three concrete stairs down which the worthy teacher bounced on his way out of the manor.

Now why should parents who are not so wealthy not exercise, in common, the same authority? Especially now, when the teachers are, as a group, no great beacons of either intellectual or moral virtue?

Yet the promoters of the Common Core do not consider that the parents are their employers. The parents have had and are to have nothing to say about it. They are “good” if they submit, and “problematic” if they don’t. No one has asked them their opinions about a decent education. No one ever does. Imagine if the leaders of our public schools were to say, “We will no longer be instructing your children in sex.” A few parents would complain, mainly on account of other and (supposedly) irresponsible people, but in the main we would hear great sighs of relief. ...

[...]

It would be unfair, though, to suppose that all teachers welcome the Common Core. There are brush fires kindling all over the country in opposition to the edicts from above....

[...]

These teachers too have been bypassed. ... Welcome to the land of the peons, O teachers. Know that your erstwhile employers, the parents, were here before you.

I can sum it up this way. Any land in which parents, singly or in groups, do not have first and last authority over what and how their children learn is not free. The fact that we might countenance national authority over the mind of a child shows our abjection. It is as if we were to accept educational instructions from managers in Brussels, or from a federation of experts hailing from Alpha Centauri, and then were to comfort ourselves with the assurance that we were still free, because we could exercise one vote in a hundred million, or three billion, or seventeen trillion, or whatever number you like that reduces our actual influence to that of a speck of dust on an anvil, a proton against a planet, or one parent’s cry against the massive deafness of money, power, and arrogance.




05 February 2014

Sermon for Candlemas




Delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS:

Candlemas, February 2, 2014

Today’s feast of Candlemas, which derives its origin from the local custom of Jerusalem, marks the end of the Christmas season. Forty days after his birth, in the obedience to the law, Our Blessed Mother went to Jerusalem to make the accustomed offerings and presented Jesus in the Temple. In the Temple there was an old man, called Simeon, who came by the Spirit into the Temple. He had received revelation from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ, the Savior.


In order to celebrate this event more fittingly, the Church today blesses candles and gives them to us. The lighted candle is a symbol of the Catholic life, of the faith and grace of which should shine on our soul. It is also the image of Christ, the light of the world, a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, according to Simeon’s canticle.

Indeed Light is used often as symbol of joy and of life-giving power, as darkness is of death and destruction.

In our daily conversation there are many expressions that use the word “light. “For example, to begin to understand something, we say “My algebra class has been hard for me, but I’m beginning to see the light. I was totally confused, but I began to see the light after your explanation."

Or, to reveal or clarify something: We say, “This discussion shed some light on the problem. Let’s see if Ann can throw any light on this question."

For our spiritual life, light is indispensable.

In the beginning of human history, God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. In Christianity, from the very beginning, light was considered a symbol of the divine nature and the divine presence. Christ is the true light, and at His transfiguration His face did shine as the sun and His garments became white as snow. At the conversion of St. Paul there shined round him a great light from heaven.

The lighted candle of Today’s Liturgy must remind us that we must bear Christ in us, the source of our life, the author of faith and grace. Faith is the supernatural virtue which is necessary for our salvation. It is a free gift of God and is accessible to all who humbly seek it by surrendering to His will and accepting God’s truth.

The light of faith: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. In St. John’s Gospel, Christ says of Himself: “I have come as light into this world, that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness." Saint Paul uses the same image: “God, who said, let light shine out of darkness, that has shone in our hearts."

The ancient world which hungered for light had seen the growth of the worship of the sun god and invoked each day at sunrise. Yet though the sun rises anew each morning, it is clearly incapable of casting its light on all aspects of our life. The sun does not illuminate all reality. Its rays cannot make us understand especially the last things, the reality of death, judgment, heaven and hell which are awaiting us in life after death.

We are conscious of the huge horizon which faith can open before us, so we can invoke Jesus as the true sun whose rays bestow life. To Martha, weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus said: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

Those who believe can see, they can see with a light that illumines their entire journey of faith, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets. Some people might say that that light might have been considered sufficient long ago, but is of no use today, for a modern world of rationality and technology.

Faith thus seems to some as an illusory light, preventing us from boldly setting out in search of knowledge and love of God. But we have to be assured that faith is not something as a meaningless step in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light, moved by blind emotion, or as mere personal and individual light, capable perhaps of warming the heart and bringing personal consolation, but not something which could be presented to others as a shared light which can point the way.

Yet in the absence of light everything becomes confused, it is impossible to tell good from evil or indicate the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere.

We need to see once again with the genuine simplicity of Simeon that faith is light. For once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begins to dim. The light of faith is unique, for it is capable of illuminating every aspect of our life. Faith is born of an encounter with the living God as Old Simeon held the Child Jesus and recognized this Child Jesus as God. God is calling us and reveals His love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives.

Simeon said to Our Blessed Mother “Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted."

Jesus’s presentation in the Temple was the offertory of His Life.
To follow Jesus involves necessary the contractions and suffering which we need to endure for the love of God.

Saint Paul said “For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness. But unto them that are called, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Dear faithful, let us confide our lives to Jesus and learn to offer ourselves with Him to God the Father. Amen.







Cardinal Dolan, Take Note: St. Patrick's Parade Finds Way to Exclude Annoying Politicians




As this article from the Daily Caller shows

04 February 2014

And Whose Fault is That?

Most Catholics in Germany have never heard of the term “natural law” and reject Catholic teaching on human sexuality, according to a report from the German Bishops’ Conference.

Perhaps a better title for this article: "German Bishops Surrender to the World, the Flesh and the Devil".

Oh, you're not German? Don't be smug; how long before your country's Bishops' conference follows suit?

The failure of the episcopacy since the Council and the subsequent destruction of the Mass* is total.



* don't get me wrong, we are assured that these events are merely coincidental to the collapse of morality and religious practice. Go about your business, nothing to see here.

Here Comes Nobody?




A longtime reader sent me a link to an article by John Zmirak on the "shame of the Catholic subculture". By way of commentary, I reprint the exchange, below, and the link to the article. The article is thoughtful, and deserves close reading. Whether the commentary qualifies as the same I leave up to you.
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Dear TheTimMan:

http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2014/the-shame-of-the-catholic-subculture.html

Hope all is well there in St. Louis. I understand Canon Talarico was recently at St. Francis de Sales. We were fortunate to have him here in Pittsburgh for a weekend the week before he was in St. Louis.

I'd be interested in your take on the article linked to above. I know you're a Zmirak fan.

Keep up the good work.


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Dear _______,

Thanks for sending it. It is a good piece. I can't subscribe to all of it, but Zmirak does us the honor of making an in-depth case intelligently, and it deserves a close read and reflection.

Certainly, there is a smaller group of doctrinally faithful Catholics.
Certainly, contraception (and I would argue irregular marriages) is/are the fulcrum issue(s).

His desire for a conclusive ending to the essay implies that handing out Charles Murray books will turn the tide. We are way beyond that point, if such an approach would ever have worked.

And his asides to rap on the head those he thinks are self righteous are a distraction-- not because we're not self-righteous but because we're not trying to be self righteous. In other words, reminding "the remnant" as he calls us not to be smug and insular is a good admonition, but his manner assumes we don't know that already, and leaves Zmirak as the arbiter of who is and isn't sane, or holy, or smug, etc. --a little too playing-to-the-publisher.

In short, he's largely right, and what I'm about to say doesn't change the fact that we still have the obligation to evangelize. But I can't see a turnaround from here to the state of things he paints --call it his private A.D. 1957-- unless there is extraordinary Divine intervention. By that I mean Fatima, or something more eschatological.

Wait, there could be one more Divine action that could do it. Allowing mass persecution of the remnant that spurs the consciences of the rest.

God knows better than I do, but those three seem to be the only ways out. The Church cannot and will not fail. How big (or small) it will be at the end is not part of the guarantee. That is the smaller, purer Church Pope Benedict described, whether he meant it in that sense or not. Don't ask me to interpret "neo-Pelagian immanentism" in that context. It's beyond me.

Thanks again for the article, a good reminder to keep evangelizing and not to lose hope. It's one of the reasons I love the Institute. I never get that "we're better than the Church" vibe from them. And frankly, I don't often see it anywhere in traditional circles. But with the Institute, I see the joy of the faith, and charity, and hope, and that desire to evangelize with the truth and charity inseparably linked. Not saying that it isn't the case elsewhere, but with the Institute of Christ the King it is palpable.

My own conscience seems to be schizophrenic-- half lax and half scrupulous. Veritatem Facientes in Caritate is the remedy for both halves.

Now that I've reached the end of what I thought would be a quick thank you note, I think I might post it (withholding your name of course) with a link to the article, as a commentary on it.

Having just celebrated the feast of St. Francis de Sales, it is good to remind myself to be faithful in the small, daily duties, calling on the Divine Assistance, and the thus prepare myself for larger duties if God should send them.

God bless you and your family this New Year.

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The Shame of the Catholic Subculture, by John Zmirak