29 August 2014

Oremus Pro Pontifice Nostro

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

Back to Blogging Soon

Been a busy few days; sent my daughter to France to study, had a crazy schedule otherwise.

The news, sacred and secular, is bad.  But then, it has been for a while.  I am going to regroup and be back next week.  Have a great weekend.

25 August 2014

SFdS Homeschool Coop Set to Begin







The above photos enlarge when clicked, and contain information about this year's St. Francis de Sales Homeschool Co-op. There is still time to sign up, and some pretty intriguing courses this year.


Feast of St. Louis IX




Saint Louis' Last Instructions to His Eldest Son, Philip III

1. To his dear first-born son, Philip, greeting, and his father's love.

2. Dear son, since I desire with all my heart that you be well "instructed in all things, it is in my thought to give you some advice this writing. For I have heard you say, several times, that you remember my words better than those of any one else.

3. Therefore, dear son, the first thing I advise is that you fix your whole heart upon God, and love Him with all your strength, for without this no one can be saved or be of any worth.

4. You should, with all your strength, shun everything which you believe to be displeasing to Him. And you ought especially to be resolved not to commit mortal sin, no matter what may happen and should permit all your limbs to be hewn off, and suffer every manner of torment, rather than fall knowingly into mortal sin.

5. If our Lord send you any adversity, whether illness or other in good patience, and thank Him for it, thing, you should receive it in good patience and be thankful for it, for you ought to believe that He will cause everthing to turn out for your good; and likewise you should think that you have well merited it, and more also, should He will it, because you have loved Him but little, and served Him but little, and have done many things contrary to His will.

6. If our Lord send you any prosperity, either health of body or other thing you ought to thank Him humbly for it, and you ought to be careful that you are not the worse for it, either through pride or anything else, for it is a very great sin to fight against our Lord with His gifts.

7. Dear son, I advise you that you accustom yourself to frequent confession, and that you choose always, as your confessors, men who are upright and sufficiently learned, and who can teach you what you should do and what you should avoid. You should so carry yourself that your confessors and other friends may dare confidently to reprove you and show you your faults.

8. Dear son, I advise you that you listen willingly and devoutly the services of Holy Church, and, when you are in church, avoid to frivolity and trifling, and do not look here and there; but pray to God with lips and heart alike, while entertaining sweet thoughts about Him, and especially at the mass, when the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are consecrated, and for a little time before.

9. Dear son, have a tender pitiful heart for the poor, and for all those whom you believe to be in misery of heart or body, and, according to your ability, comfort and aid them with some alms.

10. Maintain the good customs of your realm, and put down the bad ones. Do not oppress your people and do not burden them with tolls or tailles, except under very great necessity.

11. If you have any unrest of heart, of such a nature that it may be told, tell it to your confessor, or to some upright man who can keep your secret; you will be able to carry more easily the thought of your heart.

12. See to it that those of your household are upright and loyal, and remember the Scripture, which says: "Elige viros timentes Deum in quibus sit justicia et qui oderint avariciam"; that is to say, "Love those who serve God and who render strict justice and hate covetousness"; and you will profit, and will govern your kingdom well.

13. Dear son, see to it that all your associates are upright, whether clerics or laymen, and have frequent good converse with them; and flee the society of the bad. And listen willingly to the word of God, both in open and in secret; and purchase freely prayers and pardons.

14. Love all good, and hate all evil, in whomsoever it may be.

15. Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back.

!6. Suffer it not that any ill be spoken of God or His saints in your presence, without taking prompt vengeance. But if the offender be a clerk or so great a person that you ought not to try him, report the matter to him who is entitled to judge it.

17. Dear son, give thanks to God often for all the good things He has done for you, so that you may be worthy to receive more, in such a manner that if it please the Lord that you come to the burden and honor of governing the kingdom, you may be worthy to receive the sacred unction wherewith the kings of France are consecrated.

18. Dear son, if you come to the throne, strive to have that which befits a king, that is to say, that in justice and rectitude you hold yourself steadfast and loyal toward your subjects and your vassals, without turning either to the right or to the left, but always straight, whatever may happen. And if a poor man have a quarrel with a rich man, sustain the poor rather than the rich, until the truth is made clear, and when you know the truth, do justice to them.

19. If any one have entered into a suit against you (for any injury or wrong which he may believe that you have done to him), be always for him and against yourself in the presence of your council, without showing that you think much of your case (until the truth be made known concerning it); for those of your council might be backward in speaking against you, and this you should not wish; and command your judges that you be not in any way upheld more than any others, for thus will your councillors judge more boldly according to right and truth.

20. If you have anything belonging to another, either of yourself or through your predecessors, if the matter is certain, give it up without delay, however great it may be, either in land or money or otherwise. If the matter is doubtful, have it inquired into by wise men, promptly and diligently. And if the affair is so obscure that you cannot know the truth, make such a settlement, by the counsel of s of upright men, that your soul, and the soul your predecessors, may be wholly freed from the affair. And even if you hear some one say that your predecessors made restitution, make diligent inquiry to learn if anything remains to be restored; and if you find that such is the case, cause it to be delivered over at once, for the liberation of your soul and the souls of your predecessors.

21. You should seek earnestly how your vassals and your subjects may live in peace and rectitude beneath your sway; likewise, the good towns and the good cities of your kingdom. And preserve them in the estate and the liberty in which your predecessors kept them, redress it, and if there be anything to amend, amend and preserve their favor and their love. For it is by the strength and the riches of your good cities and your good towns that the native and the foreigner, especially your peers and your barons, are deterred from doing ill to you. I will remember that Paris and the good towns of my kingdom aided me against the barons, when I was newly crowned.

22. Honor and love all the people of Holy Church, and be careful that no violence be done to them, and that their gifts and alms, which your predecessors have bestowed upon them, be not taken away or diminished. And I wish here to tell you what is related concerning King Philip, my ancestor, as one of his council, who said he heard it, told it to me. The king, one day, was with his privy council, and he was there who told me these words. And one of the king's councillors said to him how much wrong and loss he suffered from those of Holy Church, in that they took away his rights and lessened the jurisdiction of his court; and they marveled greatly how he endured it. And the good king answered: "I am quite certain that they do me much wrong, but when I consider the goodnesses and kindnesses which God has done me, I had rather that my rights should go, than have a contention or awaken a quarrel with Holy Church." And this I tell to you that you may not lightly believe anything against the people of Holy Church; so love them and honor them and watch over them that they may in peace do the service of our Lord.

23. Moreover, I advise you to love dearly the clergy, and, so far as you are able, do good to them in their necessities, and likewise love those by whom God is most honored and served, and by whom the Faith is preached and exalted.

24. Dear son, I advise that you love and reverence your father and your mother, willingly remember and keep their commandments, and be inclined to believe their good counsels.

25. Love your brothers, and always wish their well-being and their good advancement, and also be to them in the place of a father, to instruct them in all good. But be watchful lest, for the love which you bear to one, you turn aside from right doing, and do to the others that which is not meet.

26. Dear son, I advise you to bestow the benefices of Holy Church which you have to give, upon good persons, of good and clean life, and that you bestow them with the high counsel of upright men. And I am of the opinion that it is preferable to give them to those who hold nothing of Holy Church, rather than to others. For, if you inquire diligently, you will find enough of those who have nothing who will use wisely that entrusted to them.

27. Dear son, I advise you that you try with all your strength to avoid warring against any Christian man, unless he have done you too much ill. And if wrong be done you, try several ways to see if you can find how you can secure your rights, before you make war; and act thus in order to avoid the sins which are committed in warfare.

28. And if it fall out that it is needful that you should make war (either because some one of your vassals has failed to plead his case in your court, or because he has done wrong to some church or to some poor person, or to any other person whatsoever, and is unwilling to make amends out of regard for you, or for any other reasonable cause), whatever the reason for which it is necessary for you to make war, give diligent command that the poor folk who have done no wrong or crime be protected from damage to their vines, either through fire or otherwise, for it were more fitting that you should constrain the wrongdoer by taking his own property (either towns or castles, by force of siege), than that you should devastate the property of poor people. And be careful not to start the war before you have good counsel that the cause is most reasonable, and before you have summoned the offender to make amends, and have waited as long as you should. And if he ask mercy, you ought to pardon him, and accept his amende, so that God may be pleased with you.

29. Dear son, I advise you to appease wars and contentions, whether they be yours or those of your subjects, just as quickly as may be, for it is a thing most pleasing to our Lord. And Monsignore Martin gave us a very great example of this. For, one time, when our Lord made it known to him that he was about to die, he set out to make peace between certain clerks of his archbishopric, and he was of the opinion that in so doing he was giving a good end to life.

30. Seek diligently, most sweet son, to have good baillis and good prevots in your land, and inquire frequently concerning their doings, and how they conduct themselves, and if they administer justice well, and do no wrong to any one, nor anything which they ought not do. Inquire more often concerning those of your household if they be too covetous or too arrogant; for it is natural that the members should seek to imitate their chief; that is, when the master is wise and well-behaved, all those of his household follow his example and prefer it. For however much you ought to hate evil in others, you shoud have more hatred for the evil which comes from those who derive their power from you, than you bear to the evil of others; and the more ought you to be on your guard and prevent this from happening.

3!. Dear son, I advise you always to be devoted to the Church of Rome, and to the sovereign pontiff, our father, and to bear him the the reverence and honor which you owe to your spiritual father.

32. Dear son, freely give power to persons of good character, who know how to use it well, and strive to have wickednesses expelled from your land, that is to say, nasty oaths, and everything said or done against God or our Lady or the saints. In a wise and proper manner put a stop, in your land, to bodily sins, dicing, taverns, and other sins. Put down heresy so far as you can, and hold in especial abhorrence Jews, and all sorts of people who are hostile to the Faith, so that your land may be well purged of them, in such manner as, by the sage counsel of good people, may appear to you advisable.

33. Further the right with all your strength. Moreover I admonish you you that you strive most earnestly to show your gratitude for the benefits which our Lord has bestowed upon you, and that you may know how to give Him thanks therefore

34. Dear son, take care that the expenses of your household are reasonable and moderate, and that its moneys are justly obtained. And there is one opinion that I deeply wish you to entertain, that is to say, that you keep yourself free from foolish expenses and evil exactions, and that your money should be well expended and well acquired. And this opinion, together with other opinions which are suitable and profitable, I pray that our Lord may teach you.

35. Finally, most sweet son, I conjure and require you that, if it please our Lord that I should die before you, you have my soul succored with masses and orisons, and that you send through the congregations of the kingdom of France, and demand their prayers for my soul, and that you grant me a special and full part in all the good deeds which you perform.

36. In conclusion, dear son, I give you all the blessings which a good and tender father can give to a son, and I pray our Lord Jesus Christ, by His mercy, by the prayers and merits of His blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, and of angels and archangels and of all the saints, to guard and protect you from doing anything contrary to His will, and to give you grace to do it always, so that He may be honored and served by you. And this may He do to me as to you, by His great bounty, so that after this mortal life we may be able to be together with Him in the eternal life, and see Him, love Him, and praise Him without end. Amen. And glory, honor, and praise be to Him who is one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit; without beginning and without end. Amen.

21 August 2014

Discuss




This post at Rorate Caeli caused me to reflect on the fate of the formerly Catholic parish of Holy Innocents, where my eldest daughter was baptized. That place, with the phrase "The House of God and the Gate of Heaven" emblazoned above the door, was closed many years ago.

Another victim of the terrible loss of faith caused by having nothing to do with the Second Vatican Council and the decline in Mass attendance resulting from destroying the Mass changing demographics.

And yet, the building and school are not abandoned. There is a Protestant group of some kind using it. The place now goes by the name, "The Journey". I always picture a group of rain-soaked survivors led by Pastor Viggo Mortenson struggling to get to the post-apocalyptic ocean while eluding cannibals.

Catholics aren't using the Church, you see.

I had heard from sources long ago that the SSPX tried to purchase it (before settling on its current church) but was turned down. To which I have to ask: Really? In favor of The Journey? I mean, even if you as a diocese wouldn't like to sell it to the SSPX because you think they are "schismatic", or "irregular", or whatever other term appeals to you, why in the world would you sell it to an openly heretical group? It makes no sense. Regardless of the canonical situation of the Society, if it controlled that building, the Catholic Mass would be offered there. Our Lord would reside in that tabernacle.

How about having the courage of one's convictions? If the SSPX is unfit to buy it, then act like you really believe that: instead of selling to a non-Catholic group which by definition is further from true and pleasing worship of God than a Catholic, or even a schismatic, one (if you believe your catechism, that is), tear the buildings down and eat the cost.

Of course, finances being what they are, that is not possible. No diocese can afford to turn its nose up at buyers of properties it can no longer keep open. At least not every buyer. Just some, I guess.

A few years back there was a campaign in the Archdiocese to make a pilgrimage to the church of one's baptism. A nice idea, but of course my daughter was unable to make that Journey.

You'll pardon me for saying this, but the fate of Holy Innocents, like situations describe at the post linked above, is a scandal.

Discuss.




19 August 2014

Fantastic Photo Galleries from the August 5 Ordinations at St. Francis de Sales Oratory


There are two links of great photo galleries at the Institute's website, with some nice background information, too:  here and here. All photos, including the two here, by Donald Lee Photography.
 
 

Archbishop Robert Carlson on the Ferguson Situation

Posted at the Archdiocesan website:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
We are all aware of the turmoil and tragedy our St. Louis community is experiencing. The residents of Ferguson, Missouri, are struggling to find peace in the chaos. As people of Christ, we are struggling to find direction in the unrest.
 
I have personally visited Ferguson and Michael Brown's memorial to offer my prayers for everyone affected by this tragedy. As I have been observing this situation and reflecting on it through much prayer, I find strength in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." In all circumstances, but especially in these difficult times, we are all called to be instruments of peace through our words and actions. Pope Francis recently stated that, "All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace."
 
To that end, I invite the Catholic faithful to attend a Mass for Peace and Justice which I will celebrate at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, on Wednesday, August 20th, at 5 p.m. During the Mass a special collection will be taken to assist food pantries and parishes in the Ferguson area that offer assistance to those who have been affected by the looting and destruction of property. Additionally, I encourage all parishes to offer Masses for peace in our community. The Office of Worship will contact pastors to provide the appropriate resources. Additional parish activities could include Holy Hours, a parish rosary, or a special collection this week to assist in the effort.
 
Because many Catholic schools are beginning classes both this and in the coming weeks, I have asked our Catholic schools to begin a daily rosary for peace and to offer special intentions during all school Masses. Catholic Family Services, an agency of Catholic Charities, has made counselors available to any Catholic school that requests assistance. Catholic Family Services has also publicized tips for parents and schools when dealing with crisis situations.
 
Pope Francis has encouraged us again and again to ask Our Lady, the Undoer of Knots, to intercede for us in difficult circumstances. So too, I ask all the faithful in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to join me in praying to Our Blessed Mother and to her son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, for peace and justice in our community.
 
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis

18 August 2014

Christopher Ferrara is on a Roll


Christopher Ferrara over at The Remnant has been on quite the roll.  He is incisive, sometimes acerbic, but always sensibly Catholic.  Good stuff.  The past week or two have seen the posting of the following excellent articles, which I link below with a telltale excerpt:


In departing for Seoul, Pope Francis flew in a personal helicopter to a chartered jet embossed with a Vatican logo for the trip. During the flight an Alitalia crew provided first-class treatment to the Pope, who occupied “the first seat in business class with no one next to him,” and his large entourage. The service included a four-course Italian dinner... On arrival, the Pope walked down a long, red-carpeted airstair, and then a red carpet that appeared to be at least 200-feet-long, at the end of which he was greeted by leading South Korean dignitaries.

But then, at the end of the red carpet, Francis squeezed into the back seat of a Kia Soul, the kind of car a high school student might drive, provided upon his specific request for the “the smallest South Korean car during his visit” (that model is actually the second-smallest). This was supposed to demonstrate the Pope’s humility and frugality—after a chartered flight with first-class dining that must have cost more than a million dollars for the Pope and his entourage.

Is anybody really still buying this humility offensive? And how is it humble to refuse transportation suitable for a head of state in order to make a big show of riding around in a tin can during a trip that will cost tens of millions for chartered jets, rather sumptuous in-flight meals, security, food and accommodations on the ground, and the staging of massive public events? The whole spectacle is infuriating to anyone who recognizes that the manipulation of images typical of politicians is being applied to this pontificate, probably under the supervision of the Pope’s “PR genius” and “marketing mastermind,” Greg Burke.


Over the next two months the microbes of the neo-Modernist rebound infection that is the “Francis effect” will be moving rapidly toward the site of what could be a devastating flare-up of the infection: the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. First they came for the Roman Rite, which they destroyed. Then they came for the Church Militant, which they disarmed and surrendered to the spirit of the age. Now, at the Synod, which threatens to become Vatican II rebooted, progressivist bishops and their apparatchiks will be coming for the moral law itself under the guise of a search for “pastoral solutions” to “challenges facing the family”—more of the seditious slogans by which the ideology of Vatican-II-ism has eclipsed the doctrines of the Faith.

Alarmism? Read this: “The goal of the Synod of Bishops on the Family is not just to repeat doctrines but to find solutions for remarried divorcees and for everyone.” So says Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, no less than President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

But what “solutions” for the divorced and “remarried” do progressives like Paglia have in mind, given that for 2,000 years the Church has offered the only solution permitted by obedience to the teaching of Christ Himself: confession, absolution, and an end to adulterous relations, even if the couple must remain under one roof for the sake of the children. We do not need a Synod on the Family to “find” the same solution the Church has always insisted upon in fidelity to the Gospel, and which John Paul II reaffirmed unambiguously a mere 33 years ago in Familiaris Consortio.


As we see our Pope high-fiving a Protestant televangelist and prescribing ten rules for right living that Oprah would applaud, not one of which has anything to do with the Catholic Faith or eternal life, we realize that the embarrassing comedy of this papacy is not going to end. Indeed, it appears that Francis is just getting warmed up and that we may be dealing with a bottomless bag of tricks.

Someone whose vocation or avocation is commenting on Church affairs has three ways to approach this unprecedented situation: First, simply ignore Francis entirely while bashing the bishops for following his lead. This appears to be the neo-Catholics’ prescription in keeping with their historical role as enablers of the post-conciliar revolution, which is clearly entering a new and probably terminal phase. Second, raise an objection every time Francis says or does something objectionable, which would be almost every day. (As one wag put it: “If he doesn’t talk he’s not a bad Pope.”) Third, limit one’s objections to papal stunts that have serious theological implications as opposed to being merely ridiculous.


Holder Orders Autopsy-- a Third Autopsy

Again, Ferguson.

It's always dicey when a criminal case goes political.  Not just because of the obvious danger of the facts getting bent to the political end, but also for the opposite danger of the political end making dubious what would otherwise be easily-established facts.

Now we have a third autopsy on Michael Brown.

The second one, as a matter of prudence, I understood.  This one is a bit strange.  Maybe a criminal lawyer can comment if this happens very often.  But I wonder if the findings of the autopsies already conducted make the political agents uncomfortable:

From the New York Times:

FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a police officer, sparking protests around the nation, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday found.
 
One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury, according to Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family’s request to conduct the separate autopsy. It was likely the last of bullets to hit him, he said.
 
Mr. Brown, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front.
 
The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunpowder was present on his body. However, that determination could change if it turns out that there is gunshot residue on Mr. Brown’s clothing, to which Dr. Baden did not have access.[...]
 
Again, it bears repeating that it is too early, and we have too few facts, to determine anything.  But the published autopsy reports, showing all shots hitting in the front, and Brown's head leaning forward, cast serious doubt on the claims of the eyewitness already made public.  There apparently is another tape found that recorded a conversation between witnesses at the scene (who didn't know they were being recorded) which fits with these autopsy findings.
 
My previous opinion that there was a 99% chance the officer gets convicted of some form of wrongful homicide has moved to 85%.  It might be lower, but politics are involved.
 
If there is no charge filed, or not conviction obtained, may I suggest you remain indoors awhile?
 
 

16 August 2014

Hmmm, I Wonder What Could Have Possibly Happened to Cause This?




Ferguson. It's on everybody's mind in St. Louis. Elsewhere, too, maybe, but it's different when these things happen in neighborhoods you know, to people you know.

The coverage locally has ranged from horrific propaganda to high quality old-school reporting. The Post-Dispatch's coverage at the scene has been terrific; its overall coverage in print and online is dimmed by its predictable, Stalin-era editorial template.

One really insightful item was printed today: a letter to the editor that really put its finger right on an issue I have been groping to figure out for days. I read it just after reading my brother's text to me wondering why St. Louis was chosen to be the scene of this shooting/riot/war zone/libertarian movement/Big Brother/budding race war media-driven agitprop.

I texted back, not really thinking about it: because it's Catholic.

But, as the above letter states so well, it's actually because it's not.

First, the letter, in its entirety:

"Catholic Church had role in keeping away '60s riots, but not today"

As a child growing up in St. Louis, I watched the news of LA, Chicago and New York City burning during the riots of the late 1960s. I remember being afraid that St. Louis would be next, but the riots did not come. Thank you for Tim O’Neil’s article reminding us of this time ("St. Louis area largely spared by civil rights-era rioting that hit other cities," online Aug. 11).

I wonder if the role and influence of St. Louis Roman Catholics had some impact on those who might have been inclined to riot. I am not suggesting that Catholics were devoid of racism (I know firsthand we weren't) but St. Louis had a rich history of Catholics standing up publicly and forcefully for racial equality.

One of the first acts of Archbishop Joseph Ritter when he was appointed to St. Louis was to desegregate the Catholic schools in 1947 and later Catholic hospitals. He urged priests, brothers, sisters and rank-and-file Catholics in the Archdiocese to support the civil rights movement in the early ’60s.

And, what kind of influence did our Catholic sisters in St. Louis have on keeping us from riots? Notre Dame, Josephite, Charity, Loretto sisters and others took very visible and strong positions in supporting civil rights, but most important they were in our schools and neighborhoods serving both black and white people and advocating social justice and equality.

We had a strong church in those days, which took unwavering and visible stands for equality and justice, unlike today with Catholic leaders who content themselves with protecting pedophiles and fighting basic civil rights protections for some of the most vulnerable in society. We had a church that was deeply involved in the inner city, unlike today a church that has largely abandoned it. We had a church that encouraged our sisters to speak up for social justice, unlike today when we have church leaders criticizing and castigating our sisters for doing just that.

Maybe that is a small reason why we did not have the riots other places did in the ’60s and we are a tinderbox today.


The writer gets it half-right. And makes the same mistake all those well-meaning 'reformers' made, and still make. He divorces the Catholic action from its essential Catholic Faith. It was no accident that those fed with the faith acted as Catholics, and that those who are not so fed do not so act.

He doesn't get it. What could have happened?

St. Louis: the Rome of the West. This description of our city is ancient and venerable. This city, named after a Catholic saint who knew how to govern, this city of so many beautiful Churches, is still with a superficial Catholic veneer. There is still a Catholic Culture of a sort. But it doesn't compare with that of the era the writer describes.

Let's see, in the 1960s, Catholics were located in these local neighborhoods. There were parishes. Schools. Priests and nuns. How ironic that the names of the religious orders the writer lists above are dead, either by aging out or embracing heresy, or both. And how few are the ranks of our priests.

In the 1960s, all Roman Rite Catholics assisted at the Traditional Mass. It calls for right conduct because it places an undeniable claim on the conscience of the believer. It fits the faith we profess, it explains that faith, it informs it and is informed by it. The personal holiness called for by it, and which holiness is increased by it, inevitably translated into Catholic action in a way that no worldly accommodation and compromise ever did. The "living waters" from inside the grace-filled believer well-up and spill over.

In the 1960s there were lots of Catholics, and lots of Practicing Catholics, and lots of Catholics with a long and proud history of standing firm against injustice and persecution.

I keep trying to figure out what could have happened since those days to make Catholics so few, so milquetoast, and so without leadership.

One thing for sure, we are told, is that it couldn't possibly be Vatican II.

The priests and nuns are gone. The Mass was nearly gone, and is just beginning to come back. Faith is no longer believed. Parishes in these troubled neighborhoods (and many other places) are closed. Lay Catholics act just like everybody else. And even of those who self-identify as Catholics, so few practice any part of their faith.

There is no meaningful force of Catholics to provide a moral backbone for our poorer communities. They aren't there to check violence. They aren't there to speak out against criminal injustice on either side of the police barricades. You're looking for the Loreto sisters, are you? Those still ambulatory are at the 'gay pride' parade, or deploring pollution. If 100 of them-- or a hundred of us-- were to kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament it would do more good than all the letters to the editor ever written.

It ain't happening. And don't blame Vatican II and the suppression of the Mass. Can't be that.

Keep thinking, though, because I'd really like to know.

What we have with a Church that has ceded the public moral sphere is this:

Power and self-indulgence.

With death all around.






15 August 2014

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary




A blessed Feast of Our Lady to you all.

The Oratory's Mass schedule for this Holy Day of Obligation is as follows: Low Masses at 8 a.m. and 12:15p.m.; Solemn High Mass at 6:30 p.m.

14 August 2014

Ferguson and the Question of What Policing Means

To Serve and Protect

When I was growing up, the above motto summed up what the mission of the police was-- if not in every circumstance, at least in its own intent and in the public's desire.

Dragnet, that wonderfully cardboard propaganda series, and its slightly more dashing spin-off, Adam-12, are the poster children for this paradigm.  Norman Rockwell's famous depiction of the little boy seated at a diner counter with the friendly local cop-on-the-beat comes to mind.

Policing is necessary to ensure order in any society made up of human beings born in original sin.  It is often thankless, often dangerous.  Many fine men and women still take as their mission To Serve and Protect.  They still exist, they are out there, and deserve our thanks.

But this mission has not seemed to prevail in some circumstances and places, those places and circumstances seem to be on the rise.  Instead of the policeman in the blue uniform with the soft-cloth, brimmed, octagonal hat, armed with the authority of his office and a sidearm, we now see the Kevlar-encased, military-helmeted, AR-15 toting pseudo-warrior.

Why?

We are told the threats to the police are more dangerous.  Criminals have more firepower, and thus the police need to have more firepower.  Allowing some truth in this, the question remains.  Why? 

Take Ferguson, for instance.  On the first night of trouble, the police were out in force, dressed for trouble.  They got trouble.  The crowd was angry and things got out of hand.  Many stores were looted.  The police did nothing to interfere with this.  Many citizens' stores and property were destroyed or taken, and their lives were in danger.  Whom were the police protecting that night?

In the following days, the police, even more well-armed and using armored vehicles and tear gas, kept crowds from forming at all.  Looting was prevented.  One person was shot.  A reporter was arrested. Other reporters were made to disperse. 

Why?

After night one, I was appalled at the looters.  Very quickly I became disturbed by the authorities.

Police are supposed to serve and protect the citizenry, to defend lives first, and to ensure law and order.  Your rights, to life, liberty and property, are objects of this protection.  Yet in Ferguson, it seems that the police are seeking to protect the government they serve from the citizens it used to serve and protect.

Because of the racial powder keg that to date has not been in play in other military-style repression ops like Boston or Nevada, more people of influence have noticed:  why do the police look like soldiers? Because if you think about it, get enough soldiers in one place, and there is a term for that:  it's called an army.

Four articles in the press in the past 12 hours are relevant here: 

Gov. Nixon promises 'operational shift' in handling of Ferguson protests

St. Louis police chief says he does not support militarized tactics in Ferguson

Rand Paul: "We must demilitarize the police"

Police Chief rips Obama remarks


I don't pretend to know exact answers.  There is a need for an adequately armed police force.  That type of police force, with a proper mission, requires the support of citizens.  But we need to have a debate and a decision soon:  what is the mission of our police, and what are the appropriate means to effect it?

12 August 2014

By the Church or by the Gate?: "They do not seem to be your friends out there."

"You have given us a great deal of labour," he said, "and to no purpose. We shall have to report it all to my Lord Cromwell. I understand that you were the two who refused to sign the surrender. It was the act of fools, like this last. I have no authority to take you, so you had best be gone."

Dom Anthony answered him with an equally steady voice.

"We are ready to go now," he said. "You understand we have yielded to nothing but force."

Ralph's lips writhed in a smile.

"Oh! if that pleases you," he said. "Well, then--"

He took a step aside, and made a movement towards the gate where there sounded out still an angry hum beneath the shouting voice that was addressing them.

Chris turned to his father behind, and the voice died in his throat, so dreadful was that face that was looking at Ralph. He was standing as before, rigid it seemed with grief or anger; and his grey eyes were bright with a tense emotion; his lips too were as firm as his son's. But he spoke no word. Sir Nicholas was at his side, with one foot advanced, and in an attitude as if to spring; and Morris's face looked like a mask over his shoulder.

"Well, then--" said Ralph once more.

"Ah! you damned hound!" roared the young squire's voice; and his hand went up with the whip in it.

Ralph did not move a muscle. He seemed cut in steel.

"Let us go," said Dom Anthony again, to Chris, almost tenderly; "it is enough that we are turned out by force."

"You can go by the church, if you will," said Ralph composedly. "In fact--" He stopped as the murmur howled up again from the gate-- "In fact you had better go that way. They do not seem to be your friends out there."

"We will go whichever way you wish," remarked the elder monk.


-- Robert Hugh Benson, The King's Achievement

It is impossible to contemplate the events in St. Louis during the last 72 hours without reflecting on how thin the veneer of society-- of law, of peace-- really is. Perhaps as every good Catholic should meditate on the Four Last Things, we should also meditate on the prospect of mob rule in our communities as a real possibility. And as the meditation on the Four Last Things ought not to paralyze us with fear, but instead spur us to holy preparedness, so too here.

Our Lord warned us of persecution for the faith, in the Last Days and also at other times not so dramatic. Sometimes persecution is robed with the appearance of law and process, as when our ancestors were killed by Roman emperors or English monarchs. Sometimes the mob will have its way with us, as the crowds that sought to stone Our Lord and St. Paul, or the Masonic revolutionary mobs of France with their guillotine.

Other times, as Grampa Simpson would say, it's a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B.

If you have seen old black and white photos of Americans during the Great Depression, you can picture the scene: almost quaint-- lines of patient job seekers calmly lined up around the block, as well-dressed as their circumstances allowed, seeking the dignity of work, respecting each other. These people had a common Christian outlook, a common set of societal principles. Despite economic collapse, society held.

If you think that scenario would be repeated today, you are delusional. If you haven't marked Ferguson as a preview coming attractions, you probably ought to wake up soon.

Society is on edge, the economy teeters. Catholics are about the only group safe to blame for our problems. If the Nero of antiquity did it, wouldn't today's Nero do the same? And Catholics themselves seemingly are without firm leadership on the ground. It can be easy to feel alone.

Pray. Hope. Love. We will go by the Church, to safety; or by the gate, where the mob awaits. One will be taken, one will be left. It is in God's hands; we must ready, awaiting Him as a servant expects his Master's return. Blessed is that servant whom His Lord finds ready at His return.

Back to work.





An Appeal from The Remnant

I would like to link to this appeal for funds from The Remnant Newspaper.

Often when I express my enjoyment of this publication, I get hit with a subtle or not so subtle retort that it may not be intellectual enough for the smart set. Well, not every article about the faith needs to appear in a theological treatise, I suppose. And I find the writing insightful and intelligent. I don't know that I've ever read a Chris Ferrara piece, for instance, without being impressed by his knowledge and analytical ability-- whether I agree with him or not. And Michael Matt has done so much to provide this absolutely reliable lifeline of news and opinion to the traditionally minded for decades.

I was impressed when they reacted so positively to the Benedictine pontificate, opting to try to be part of the solution instead of waiting for a "more perfect" vessel. And they are to be complimented for trying to make sense, Catholic sense, out of the current disastrous pontificate.

So there.


11 August 2014

Feast of SS. Tiburtius and Susanna










The Epistle and Gospel of Today:

Hebrews 11:33-39

Who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners. Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection. And others had trial of mockeries and stripes: moreover also of bands and prisons. They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted: Of whom the world was not worthy: wandering in deserts, in mountains and in dens and in caves of the earth. And all these, being approved by the testimony of faith, received not the promise:

Luke 12:1-8

And when great multitudes stood about him, so that they trod one upon another, he began to say to his disciples: Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed: nor hidden that shall not be known. For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers shall be preached on the housetops. And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: Fear ye him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you: Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. And I say to you: Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.

09 August 2014

So There

"In all ages men have been divinely instructed in matters expedient for the salvation of the elect...and in all ages there have been persons possessed of the spirit of prophesy, not for the purpose of announcing new doctrines, but to direct human actions." (-St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa: 2:2:174: Res. et ad 3)

Something Weird Is Going On

I don't normally read Ann Coulter, let alone repost her work. But this piece is a thought-provoker. While reading it, ignore the provocateur lingo and wrestle with the main point: the US is sick, and exports much of its sickness. It has also the potential for so much good. When are we as a nation going to set our house in order morally, so we can then exercise a positive moral influence?

Also, Ebola is bad.


08 August 2014

Just Another Outrage in a Long List

Others are ably covering the ongoing brutal slaughter of Christians by the Mohammedan horde in Iraq.

This item just caught my eye today because of the name of the Basilica.

The money line:

The man suspected in the desecration is [wait for it...] a “young Muslim,” a local priest said.




07 August 2014

The King of France is Coming to St. Louis? That's Pretty Cool.




The St. Louis Review notes a number of celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis occurring around the Feast of Saint Louis in late August. Mentioned among them is a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Carlson on Sunday, August 24, 2014 (vigil of the feast) at 5 pm at the Old Cathedral.

The article mentions that among those expected to attend is "Prince Louis de Bourbon", by whom it actually means His Royal Majesty, Louis XX of France (the rightful King of France); or if you will, His Royal Highness, Prince Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou; or, if you must, Alfonso Jaime Marcelino Manuel Víctor María de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú, Head of the Bourbon line, senior male heir of Hugh Capet, of Henry IV, and of Louis XIV.

P.S. He also has a colorable claim to the Spanish throne. And throw in several other hereditary titles.

That guy.

Pretty cool.

Too bad the Mass will be in the ordinary form for this most extraordinary event. The only Mass being celebrated by priests in St. Louis at its founding in 1764 will not be in attendance, alas.

"The Seed of Sorrow, and So Much Delight"




Yes, Ray Kennedy was right. All these things made one feel that one ought to do one's best, and help to fulfill some desire of the dust that slept there. A dream had been dreamed there long ago, in the night of ages, and the wind had whispered some promise to the sadness of the savage. In their own way, those people had felt the beginnings of what was to come. These potsherds were like fetters that bound one to a long chain of human endeavor.

Willa Sibert Cather, The Song of the Lark


This Little Guy Needs Your Prayers!




I fired up the iPad today, and this photo faced me. God could not have suggested my morning post more obviously. This little guy, son of a friend of mine, is facing this morning what is hopefully the last (not the first) open heart surgery he will need in his life. Please pray for him and his wonderful and loving family. More info can be found here throughout.

Notre Dame de Bon Secours, ora pro nobis!


06 August 2014

Review Coverage of the Ordinations




The St. Louis Review has posted a story covering the Institute Ordinations here. The photo above is theirs, and there is a great slide show here.


The Traditional Mass is Alive and Well, and the Secular Press Takes Notice




The St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes notice of the Ordinations of the Four American Priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest by Cardinal Burke in a nice write-up today.

The reporter begins the story with a juxtaposition between the papal apparel choices between the current pope and those who preceded him. But to her credit, she recognizes that underneath the matter of mere style is a fundamental difference in understanding of the faith and the liturgy. In short, the secular press will acknowledge what many Catholic media outlets are politically constrained from acknowledging: those attending the Traditional Mass are demographically younger, practice the faith in its liturgy and laws more regularly, and take the faith very seriously.

This story has some terrific quotes from Canon Altiere and some faithful from the Oratory. From the full story:

Ordinations signal growing popularity of Latin Catholic Mass

By Lily Fowler (photo from STLToday)

When Pope Francis was first elected, he appeared to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square without the short, red velvet cape known as a mozzetta. Some Roman Catholics immediately cried foul, worried that the pope’s decision to forgo the more formal wear signaled a threat to traditional Catholic worship.
Specifically, they fretted over the fate of the old Latin Mass, now in the hands of a papacy that seemed to shrug off pomp and circumstance.

But more than one year into Francis’ reign, the Tridentine Mass, as it is sometimes called, appears to be alive and well. Decades after the Roman Catholic Church moved away from celebrating Mass in Latin, a throwback movement is growing, in many cases with the young leading the charge.

On Tuesday, four men were ordained into the priesthood at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, the neo-Gothic church in south St. Louis known for practicing the Latin liturgy, for its soaring 300-foot steeple and for its listing on the National Registry of Historic Places.

[...]

Former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, one of the more devoted supporters of the old Latin rite among U.S. bishops, came in from Rome to lead the ordinations.

Mary Kraychy, with the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, a nonprofit based in Glenview, Ill., that promotes the Latin Mass, says she’s seen a slow but steady rise in the practice, with more than 400 churches offering the liturgy today. The organization sells missals that display the Latin text of the Mass alongside the English translation.

Kraychy describes it as a “youth movement,” with much of the enthusiasm for the rite espoused by those who are too young to remember the Second Vatican Council. In 1969, Pope Paul VI declared that the church should perform Mass in the native language of parishioners, which led to the Tridentine Mass’ being largely replaced.

On Tuesday, Francis Altiere, 32, and three other deacons knelt before Burke, holding candles in their right hands. They prostrated themselves before the altar while Burke knelt with his back to the congregation. The cantors sang the Litany of the Saints, praying to Catholic saints, martyrs and angels for divine protection and assistance.

Altiere is originally from Pennsylvania with a degree from Harvard University. He says his decision to become a priest is owed in part to his discovery of the traditional Latin Mass in a church in downtown Boston.

“At this Mass I really understood the priesthood for the first time,” Altiere said. “The primary reason for the beauty of our churches and liturgical ceremonies is to give glory to God, but it is also such a powerful means of evangelization.”

Those who attend St. Francis de Sales Oratory also say their faith is strengthened by the liturgy and by the feeling of solidarity experienced by those who attend the Mass.

“Everybody here believes what they’re doing is true, real,” said Tom Leith, 55, an engineer in St. Louis. “You’re among people who believe what the church teaches.”

St. Francis de Sales Oratory loyalists say a combination of pacing and visual cues allow even those with little knowledge of Latin to follow the Mass.

Jim Kahre drives 40 minutes with his nine children from High Ridge to visit the church every Sunday.

“I almost get goose bumps,” said Kahre, who works in IT at an accounting firm. “I’ve never seen anything like it until I came here.”

In the 1980s, after the switch to the vernacular, Pope John Paul II allowed priests to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass but only with the consent of local bishops. By 2007, however, Pope Benedict XVI had eased restrictions, giving parishes the authority to celebrate the Mass without obtaining bishops’ permissions.

[...]

Altiere, for his part, says he will use his new gifts as as priest to not only recite the Mass in Latin but to save souls.

“There is a saying that the priest does not go to heaven alone,” Altiere said. “My goal as a priest is simply to lead as many souls to heaven as possible.”

And More Great Photos

Phil Roussin of PBR Photography has an entire flickr album of terrific photos of yesterday's ordination here.


05 August 2014

Great Photos of Today's Ordination







OK, then, here are the first really great photos of the priestly ordinations today, from STLToday. They have a nice slide show, from which the above photos come.

Early Ordination Pics

Just a few, not very good. When others post their better photos, I'll link them here. 

A beautiful, beautiful day. God bless Cardinal Burke!  God bless the Institute!  And may God bless His priests!

It Begins!

Packed church. Very exciting. More later. 

04 August 2014

Reception of the Choir Habit

Deacons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, to be ordained to the priesthood tomorrow. 

A very poignant quote from Monsignor Gilles Wach, the Prior General, when urging the faithful to pray for these men:

"The world needs these priests, but the world will not love them."

How true.  Ordinations begin at 10 am Tuesday. 

02 August 2014

Ordination Events Set to Commence in St. Louis




From Sunday through Wednesday, the local and universal Church can celebrate the Ordinations in the traditional rite of four new American priests for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, at the hands of Cardinal Burke. This joyous occasion occurs seven years after the landmark ordinations of 2007 at the Cathedral, which was then the See of Cardinal Burke. Thanks to Archbishop Carlson, His Eminence will return to St. Louis-- this time at the Oratory-- and add four new men to the ranks of the steadily growing number of priests to offer the traditional Mass.

The main reasons I began this blog in 2007 were to support the timeless Mass and to support Archbishop Burke. Right after I began came the announcement that for the first time in nearly forty years, the traditional rite of ordination would be used in the Cathedral of a U.S. Metropolitan Archbishop by the Archbishop himself. The rumored Motu Proprio was around the corner. Heady days. I wrote my take on the situation as I saw it then, which you can read and see how well it holds up here.

Needless to say, the air of hopeful inevitability has cooled, and the Church finds herself in a swirl of self-inflicted confusion. But the answer now, as then, is precisely the same: restoration. Restoration of the faith, of catechesis, of Catholic witness, and yes, restoration of the Mass.

If you can, I urge you to make this beautiful event. It is long, but you won't feel it. The 2007 Ordinations lasted about four hours or so. I didn't notice it. It is sublimely beautiful. The choir is amazing. I suppose the schola will also be supplemented by Institute seminarians. The sacrament of Holy Orders is compelling.

Even if you are thinking "August" and "Oratory", you can rest easy. There is supplemental air conditioning installed.

I imagine the place will be packed. I hope so. In 2007, a packed Cathedral meant 1300 people. Perhaps the Oratory holds 800-1000.

Above all, whether you can make it or not, please pray for these priests. They are the future of the Church, and therefore the world.

Schedule of events:

Sunday, August 3: 8th Sunday after Pentecost, 8am Low Mass, 10 am High Mass

Monday, August 4: Feast of St. Dominic, 8 am Low Mass, 6 pm Solemn High Mass celebrated by. Monsignor Gilles Wach, Founder and Prior General of the Institute; future canons to receive their choir habits, enrollment ceremony of two affiliate priests.

Tuesday, August 5: Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, 10 am Solemn High Mass and Ordinations, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Celebrant. Ordained: Benjamin Coggeshall, Joel Estrada, Francis Altiere, Andrew Todd. Reception following.

Wednesday, August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, First Masses of the newly ordained.

8 am: Canon Francis Altiere
9 am: Canon Benjamin Coggeshall
10 am: Canon Joel Estrada
11 am: Canon Andrew Todd

12 Noon: Solemn Te Deum

God bless the Institute!






01 August 2014

The Portiuncula Indulgence




That's right, friends, one of the easiest plenary indulgences out there (assuming the usual conditions, of course) is set for Saturday-- The Portiuncula Indulgence.

This is an ancient indulgence, the conditions of which have changed often over the course of history. Rather than give that history (it is interesting, but I am short on time), let me just tell you how to obtain it.

Visit the Cathedral or Co-Cathedral Church of your Diocese, or a Franciscan Church, or your parish Church (quasi-parish churches qualify) between noon on August 1 and midnight August 3. While there, recite aloud an Our Father and the Creed.

That's it.

___________________________

There are two general requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence:

Performance of a designated good work or act of piety;
Freedom from all attachment to sin, even venial sin.

Besides these, there are three conditions which must be fulfilled for any and all plenary indulgences (except the one granted for the moment of death):

Sacramental confession within 8 days before or after. However a single confession suffices for several plenary indulgences.

The reception of Holy Communion, once for each indulgence.

Prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. One Our Father and Hail Mary are sufficient, but other prayers for the Pope's intentions may be said. This is required for every plenary indulgence, except the one for the moment of death.