30 September 2015

Initium Sancti Evangelii Secundum Joannem

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.

8 He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light.

9 That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.

13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

I Would Hate to Think That My Favorite Swedish Supergroup Is Anti-Semitic

But what other conclusion can I draw from this AP story?

The Answer is No

Mark Shea has not been appointed Director of the Holy See Press Office.  Get on with your lives.

29 September 2015

Cardinal Burke Back in the Curia

This does not mean, unfortunately, that His Eminence will be asked or allowed to attend the upcoming Synod against on the Family. Still, good news is good news.  Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Caffarra are named to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.  Maybe a spanner can be thrown into the Montini effort.

Open Letter to the Holy Father to Uphold Marriage

This letter is respectfully and persuasively written.  Making it public may or may not make it more acceptable, but I can't blame the strategy of going on record in their situation.

Quick faith check: block out the signature line, and ask yourself if he sounds Catholic.


Most Holy Father,

It is with great anxiety that we observe all around us a persistent degradation of marriage and the family, the origin and foundation of all human society. This decay is rapidly accelerating, particularly because of the legalization of the most immoral and depraved sorts of behavior. Today the law of God, even the simply natural law, is being publicly trampled underfoot; the gravest sins are multiplying in a troubling way and cry out to Heaven for vengeance.

Most Holy Father,

We cannot conceal from you the fact that the first part of the Synod dedicated to “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” greatly alarmed us. From ecclesiastical dignitaries we heard and read statements so contrary to the clear and constant doctrine of the Church concerning the sanctity of marriage, that our souls were deeply disturbed. These men claimed to have your support, and their claims met with no public denial. What worries us even more is that certain of your words give the impression that it might be possible for doctrine to evolve in response to new needs of the Christian people. Our disquiet comes from the fact that in his encyclical Pascendi, Saint Pius X condemned an alteration of dogma that would make it conform to so-called requirements of the present time. Both Pius X and you, Most Holy Father, received the fullness of the authority to teach, sanctify, and govern in obedience to Christ, Who is the head and pastor of the flock at all times and in all places, and whose faithful vicar the Pope must be on this earth. That which has been subject to a solemn condemnation cannot, over time, become an approved pastoral practice.

God, the author of nature, established the stable union of a man and a woman for the purpose of perpetuating the human species. Old Testament revelation teaches us, in the most obvious way, that indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman was established directly by God, and that its essential characteristics were not left by Him to the free choice of men, such that marriage remains under a very special divine protection: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Exodus 20:17)

The gospels teach us that Jesus Himself, by virtue of his supreme authority, definitively reestablished marriage in its original purity, which the corruption of men had altered: “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6)

Throughout time it has been the glory of the Catholic Church to defend the human and divine reality of marriage against turmoil, despite entreaties, disregarding threats and temptations. Even though corrupt men abandoned her for this reason alone, the Church has always held high the standard of fidelity, purity, and fruitfulness, in short, the standard of genuine conjugal and familial love.

As the second part of this Synod dedicated to the family approaches, in conscience we feel it our duty to express to the Apostolic See the profound anxieties which seize us at the thought of “conclusions” that could be proposed on that occasion, if by some great misfortune there were to be a new attack against the sanctity of marriage and the family, a new weakening of couples and home life. We hope with all our heart that the Synod will on the contrary perform a work of genuine mercy by recalling in its entirety, for the good of souls, the Church’s salutary teaching on the subject of marriage.

We are fully aware, especially in the present context, that people entangled in abnormal marital situations must be welcomed pastorally with compassion, so as to show them the very merciful face of the God of love proclaimed by the Church.

Nevertheless, the law of God, expression of his eternal love for mankind, is in itself the supreme mercy for all periods of history, all persons, and all situations. Therefore we pray that the gospel truth concerning marriage, which the Synod ought to proclaim, may not be skirted in practice by numerous “pastoral exceptions” that would distort its true meaning, or by legislation that would almost unfailingly abolish its real import. On this point we feel obliged to say that, despite reminders concerning the indissolubility of marriage, the canonical changes required by the Moto Proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus facilitating declarations of nullity will de facto open the door to legal proceedings authorizing “Catholic divorce,” even if goes by another name.

These modifications acknowledge contemporary morals without attempting to put them in accord with the divine law. Are we then not to be heart stricken by the fate of children born to these marriages annulled in haste and who cannot but be victims of the “culture of waste”.

In the sixteenth century Pope Clement VII refused to accord Henry VIII of England the divorce he was demanding. Despite much pressure and at the risk of an Anglican schism, the Pope upheld the sublime teaching of Christ and his Church concerning the indissolubility of marriage. Will his decision now be repudiated by a “canonical repentance”?

Throughout the world in recent times, many families have courageously rallied against civil laws that undermine the natural and Christian family and publicly encourage scandalous behavior contrary to the most basic morality. Can the Church abandon those who, sometimes to their own detriment, and always subject to mockery and taunts, wage this necessary but very difficult battle? Such a stance would constitute a disastrous counter-witness, and for these persons it would be a source of disgust and discouragement. Churchmen, on the contrary, by virtue of their very mission, should offer them clear support backed up by solid arguments.

Most Holy Father,

For the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the consolation of the Church and of all faithful Catholics, for the good of society and of all humanity, in this crucial hour we petition you therefore to let your voice resound throughout the world with a word of truth, clarity, and firmness, in defense of Christian and even merely human marriage, in support of its foundation, namely, the difference and complementarity of the sexes, upholding its exclusivity and indissolubility. With filial piety we beg you to let your voice be heard by all, and that it be accompanied by actions too in support of the Catholic family.

We entrust this humble petition to the patronage of Saint John the Baptist, who underwent martyrdom for having publicly defended the sanctity and exclusivity of marriage, even against a scandalous civil authority in a case of “divorced-and-remarried persons.” And we pray the Precursor give Your Holiness the courage to recall before the whole world the true doctrine concerning natural and Christian marriage.

On the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, September 15, 2015
+Bernard Fellay
Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X

"Serve God and Be Cheerful": Michelmas Reboot

But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. 

He drew a deep breath. "Well, I'm back," he said.

-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

OK, back in the saddle.

Let me start by clarifying what I'm going to say next.  In no way do I desire to recant my thoughts and feelings on the disaster we're going through in the Church.  I believe that it is the job of any Catholic worth his salt to stand for Christ regardless of the scorn and hatred of the world.  In relaunching the "tone" of the blog, I don't want anyone to think that that will mean that I'll just post rainbow and puppy dog stories and adopt Homer Simpson's attitude:

So, when the occasion requires, I intend to continue to point out things I think are necessary.  To you who don't agree with me, I'm sorry.  It is my blog, you know. There are plenty of Homers out there to read if you want to avoid all bad news.  Or tune in to the last 47 seconds of local news to see squirrels on water skis.

That being said, pointing out the bad, or the obvious, can be wearying for reader and blogger alike.  Pointing out errors of those God had placed, or allowed to be placed, over the governance of the Church is a weighty matter, and one that no idiot in front of a keyboard should take lightly.  Repetition without a real need can lead to despair.

I tend to hyperbole, and I will just calm down a little. As a friend told me, things really aren't as dramatic as I think they are.  And they are far more dramatic in ways I don't think about.

My spiritual director has advised me for some time to focus on the truth from a positive perspective.  He's right, and that is what I will try to do.  Not yielding on the truth, but encouraging as much as possible.  I'm not worried about losing readers; I don't have many left.

So, planted here, listing to the "music that comes from a far letter land", here we go.

Oremus pro invicem.


The world is old
The world is grey
Lessons of life
Can't be learned in a day

I watch and I wait
And I listen while I stand
To the music that comes
From a far better land


It's the last day's last hour
Of the last happy year
I feel that the unknown world is so near

Pride will vanish
And glory will rot
But virtue lives
And cannot be forgot

The bells
Of evening have rung
There's blasphemy on every tongue
Let them say that I walked
In fair nature's light
And that I was loyal
To truth and to right

Serve God and be cheerful
Look upward beyond
Beyond the darkness that masks
The surprises of dawn

In the deep green grasses
And the blood stained woods
They never dreamed of surrendering
They fell where they stood

--Bob Dylan, Cross the Green Mountain

25 September 2015

I Need a Break

I'm not quitting.  Not yet.  But I need a little break. 

In the meantime, read this entry at The Remnant.  The author reflects a good deal of what I think, and says it better than I could.  But I don't necessarily agree with all of it, and so I don't adopt it whole. It is a good piece to think over though.

I would particularly note the author's nod to the bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII:

...Nor should it be taken to mean that I do not believe every soul should be in communion with the Holy Father, for the sake of their salvation. In fact, I believe, as it is an infallibly defined dogma of the Catholic Church that it is necessary for all souls to be subject to the Roman pontiff, for the sake of their salvation. 

The last thing I want to do is to lead anyone, myself included, astray from the only Church Christ founded, or from his necessary duty of submission to the Roman pontiff, whomever that person may be. I assure each of you that I have never tried to do so. If I have harmed anyone's faith in the Church in the slightest, I am very sorry.

As Cardinal Burke said when asked what to do if the Synod against the Family did the worst, "Stay faithful."

I need some clarity about what that practically means.  I need a little break. 

I'm not quitting, because the Synod might require a public stand by Catholics, and I don't want to desert the field.  I might be back sooner, too.

But I need to pray and think.

24 September 2015

Eight-and-a-Half Years of Blogging

And I have to say that this is my favorite comment ever, unseating the late, great Reader X's "aged eunuch" entry.  I really don't know where I go from here:

Jdirishdad. Is there no end to your Pope Francis bashing? My God, to publish a criticism for Pope Francis mentioning Lincoln before the Congress of the United States of America. Shame on you. Every time I read one of your published comments, literally against anything at all Francis does or says,I begin to think of the Pharisees and their relentless criticism of anything Jesus did or said. Being a St. Louis resident, I am embarrassed for my City, that your blog carries our great City's name.

For Delena...

...quizzing whether I'm still alive, because Francis cited King Lincoln in his speech to the kabuki congress today.  I didn't watch the speech, but I submit this entry from Thomas DiLorenzo, a scholar critical of King L:

The Pope's "Guardian of Liberty"...

. . . as mentioned in his speech to Congress today is the man who, in his first inaugural address, pledged his support for a constitutional amendment that would have enshrined slavery explicitly in the Constitution (the Corwin Amendment).  The man who made dozens of speeches in favor of deporting all the black people out of America and worked on plans to accomplish it to his dying day.  The man who threatened “invasion” and “bloodshed” in his first inaugural address in any state that refused to collect the newly-doubled federal tariff tax.  The man who waged total war for four years on his own countrymen, causing as many as 850,000 deaths according to the latest research, with about double that number maimed for life.  The man who illegally suspended Habeas Corpus and mass arrested tens of thousands of political critics, including local elected officials, newspapers editors and a congressman.  The man who shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers and imprisoned their editors and owners.  The man who rewarded generals like Grant, Sherman and Sheridan for mass murdering Southern citizens and plundering tens millions of dollars of private property.  The man who said nothing while entire regiments of soldiers gang raped Southern women.  The lifelong crony capitalist who spent his entire career shilling for the big business interests of the North who sought to plunder their fellow citizens with protectionist tariffs, corporate welfare, and a national bank run by politicians to fund it all.  The man who showered the railroad corporations who got him elected with millions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded subsidies.  The man who destroyed the voluntary union of the American founding fathers and along with it the system of federalism that was its hallmark and replaced it with a Soviet-style, centralized, bureaucratic, compulsory union held together at gunpoint.  The man who obsessively experimented with bigger and bigger weapons of mass destruction to be used on his fellow American citizens, including women and children.   The atheist who peppered his speeches with religious rhetoric to fool the public he looked down on as ignorant fools.

Pope Francis made no mention of Jesus Christ in his speech to Congress; he reserved his praise for the real “god” of the American state, “Father” Abraham Lincoln.