26 February 2015

I Could Be Wrong, But...

...isn't this just a different way of saying, "Hey, don't bother us by pointing out that very few Catholics attend Mass at the typical Catholic parish."?  

It is a bit "audacious", no?

Template A, Descriptor 1, Central Media Casting

This quote from a Yahoo! story today reminds me yet again that we live in a time where truth is of no matter.


Two years later, the first Latin American pope is a global superstar, a natural and decisive leader who has been credited with shaking up the Vatican, breathing new life into Catholic teaching and bringing the faithful flooding back into the arms of the Church.

Frankly, I don't need the reminder. As Bob says, "Reality, as always, had too many heads."


23 February 2015

The Church Sends Us into the Desert, That There We May Learn from Jesus How to Fight. That Goes for bloggers, too.

I wanted to write a post for a few days now on the news making headlines in much of the Catholic blogosphere (the part that isn't bought and paid for, that is) and even in the secular press: that Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt + Light TV, who is the English language assistant to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi and thus speaks at times in a public capacity for the Vatican, has sent (via his attorneys) a threatening letter to the blogger who writes Vox Cantoris, demanding that he pull comments critical of Fr. Rosica's statements and public actions in the last Synod against on the Family, or face legal action.

This is of course quite distressing to faithful Catholics.  Whether the action is bullying a critic into silence, or whether it is a colossal mistake, or whether it is justified, it is unseemly and not in line with a Catholic way of thinking.  Somebody at least looks bad out of this. We may assume this is his own action alone, and not with the pre-knowledge or, God forbid, at the request, of the Vatican. But we can ask the Vatican to send him the message to stand down.

Considering the matter as a Catholic blogger, well, you can see how this can get one's attention.  As many have noted, lowly bloggers were part of the phalanx of opposition to altering the Church's Christ-given teachings on marriage and the reception of Holy Communion by public adulterers.  The bishops who stood with Christ have been, and are, under attack.  So now who is next? 

Enter Vox Cantoris.  What struck me immediately is the reach of his blog.  It is not large in terms of hits-- not tiny, but not large.  In fact, until this fracas, it averaged the same or perhaps fewer daily hits than this blog.  

So, I think, this could have been me.

Why pick on a blog of this size?  As Rorate mused, and I agree, this is a family man, without great financial resources or a legal team.  He makes no money off of the Church by blogging-- unlike some.  The enemies of Catholic teaching on marriage and Communion want to quiet the blogs of all us little folk who are not bought and paid for. They WANT us to think:  This could be me!

OK, great, why write on it now?  Because I want to be faithful to my Lenten resolution to focus on the positive and the joyful.  This to me is an occasion of joy. Bloggers are called to the cross like anyone else.  If we are persecuted for standing with Christ, so be it. Lots of bloggers are weighing in, and I feel compelled to do so, too.

Reading at Mass on Sunday Dom Gueranger's entry for the first Sunday of Lent brought home to me what is expected of the faithful Christian.  He gives the epistle below, and then comments.  I add my emphases in orange

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
II. Ch. VI

Brethren, we exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prison, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand, and on the left: by honour and dishonour: by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true: as unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things.



"These words of the Apostle give us a very different idea of the Christian Life from that which our own tepidity suggests. We dare not say that he is wrong, and we right; but we put a strange interpretation upon his words, and we tell both ourselves and those around us, that the advice he here gives is not to be taken literally now-a-days, and that it was written for those special difficulties of the first age of the Church, when the Faithful stood in need of unusual detachment and almost heroism, because they were always in danger of persecution and death. The interpretation is full of that discretion which meets with the applause of our cowardice, and it easily persuades us to be at rest, just as though we had no battle to fight; whereas, we have both: for there is the devil, the world, flesh and blood. The Church never forgets it; and hence, at the opening of this great Season, she sends us into the desert, that there we may learn from our Jesus how we are to fight. Let us go; let us learn, from the Temptations of our Divine Master, that the life of man upon earth is a warfare [Job, vii. 1], and that, unless our fighting be truceless and brave, our life, which we would fain pass in peace, will witness our defeat. That such a misfortune may not befall us, the Church cries out to us, in the words of St. Paul: Behold! now is the acceptable time. Behold! now is the day of salvation. Let us, in all things comport ourselves as the servants of God, and keep our ground unflinchingly to the end of our holy campaign. God is watching over us, as he did over his Beloved Son in the Desert."
__________________

Now is the time to wake from sleep, as St. Paul elsewhere says. When necessary, we have to be ready to stand for and with Christ and His Church.  It is that simple.  Yes, we should not pick a fight, but that doesn't change the fact that we may be called to suffer and die.  We have to stand with Christ.  What else is there?

20 February 2015

Societal Consequences of the Spirit of Immortification

"So far, we have been speaking of the non-observance of Lent in its relation to individuals and Catholics; let us now say a few words upon the influence which that same non-observance has upon a whole people or nation. There are but few social questions which have not been ably and spiritedly treated of by the public writers of the age, who have devoted their talents to the study of what is called Political Economy; and it has often been a matter of surprise to us, that they should have overlooked a subject of such deep interest as this, - the results produced on society by the abolition of Lent, that is to say, of an institution, which, more than any other, keeps up in the public mind a keen sentiment of moral right and wrong, inasmuch as it imposes on a nation an annual expiation for sin. No shrewd penetration is needed to see the difference between two nations, one of which observes, each year, a forty-days’ penance in reparation of the violations committed against the Law of God, and another, whose very principles reject all such solemn reparation. And looking at the subject from another point of view, is it not to be feared that the excessive use of animal food tends to weaken, rather than to strengthen, the constitution? We are convinced of it, - the time will come, when a greater proportion of vegetable, and less of animal, diet, will be considered as an essential means for maintaining the strength of the human frame."

-- Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year

Lenten Blessings to All Who Love the Traditional Mass

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

19 February 2015

Faces of the Martyrs

Some of the heroic martyrs sacrificed for the love of Jesus, speaking His name with their lips as they were beheaded by the Mohammedans.  

Surely a matter for reflection this Lent.

The photo above comes from a post at Rorate, where they translate an article by Antonio Socci about the reality of what is truly important in the Church, and begging for practical help for the small number of Christians remaining in the area.

Meatless Friday Thursday: Lenten Second Banana Edition

Anyone who has a sense of pop culture (I'm guessing Dr. Snide is out, but her husband is in) might enjoy this NCAA Tourney-style bracket of the all-time "top" second banana.  Or sidekick. Or running mate.  Whatever.

I'm not sure if the winner should be the ultimate winner, or maybe the second-place finisher, but this is a philosophical concern.

Article here.  Vote here.

18 February 2015

Feria Quarta Cinerum

The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.

--Pope Benedict XIV, Constitution Non Ambigimus, 1745

More than a hundred years have elapsed since this solemn warning of the Vicar of Christ was given to the world; and during that time, the relaxation he inveighed against has gone on gradually increasing. How few Christians do we meet who are strict observers of Lent, even in the present mild form!

And must there not result from this ever-growing spirit of immortification, a general effeminacy of character, which will lead, at last, to frightful social disorders? The sad predictions of Pope Benedict XIV are but too truly verified. Those nations, among whose people the spirit and practice of penance are extinct, are heaping against themselves the wrath of God, and provoking His justice to destroy them by one or other of these scourges-- civil discord, or conquest.

--Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, c.1850

The modern fast, of course, is nothing compared to the fast Dom Gueranger calls 'mild' in the mid-19th Century. That is the decision of the Church, who, out of concern for the weakness of her children, has over the ages allowed for relaxation of the Lenten fast (which is of Apostolic institution), and given freely of dispensations in various times and places. It is the decision of the Church what must be obligatory, for she speaks for Christ.  She has allowed such latitude that our present obligatory penitential requirements for Lent (fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence on all Fridays during Lent) ought to be easily and eagerly accomplished.  Yet even this seems too much.

Again, Gueranger:

The word of God is unmistakable: unless we do penance, we shall perish (Luke 13:3). But if our ease-loving and sensual generation were to return, like the Ninivites, to the long-neglected way of penance and expiation, who knows but that the arm of God, which is already raised to strike us, may give us blessing and not chastisement? 

A good point, and one reinforced by today's Lesson from Joel 2: 12-19:

12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.

14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;

16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.

17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

18 Then the Lord will be zealous for His land,
And pity His people.

19 The Lord will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied by them;

I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.



17 February 2015

One Last Pre-Lenten Post: Wild Speculation on ISIS and the Bishop in White




Greetings at the end of Shrove Tuesday, after the beautiful Solemn Mass marking the end of the Forty Hours at the Oratory.

One more post before I reform.

Recall the other day, on the second anniversary of the abdication of Pope Benedict, I quoted from a take of mine from that time, concerning Cardinal Burke? Well, with today's ISIS news-- the martyrdom of so many Christians and Italian fears of invasion following the infidels' declared intent to destroy Rome-- I want to quote from that same post of two years ago. Admittedly it constitutes naked speculation, but hey, read it and think of it what you will:

3. Is Pope Benedict XVI-- or should I say His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pontiff Emeritus-- the famous Bishop in White? It would explain an apparent awkwardness in the words of the visionary Sr. Lucia, who describes a Bishop dressed in white, who the children had the impression was the Holy Father. When I first read these words long ago, I thought them a needless nicety-- an unnecessary qualification. Now, of course, they take on an intriguing aspect, since we are informed that the Pontiff Emeritus will continue to wear white.

Why, if he will be retired from the view of the world, was it thought necessary to make an announcement of his attire?

Of course, it may be coincidental. And I do not prophesy. Yet I could consider a plausible future situation where another country, or the International Criminal Court, or the UN, seeks to prosecute Pope Benedict for some charge, real or imagined. Perhaps the new Pope, asserting the sovereignty of the Vatican City State, refuses to yield him up to the Church's enemies. Perhaps the "international community" reacts by attacking the Vatican, and you just might see:

...a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.

4. What follows is a prophecy, I guess, but it is not mine. I pass it along in light of Fatima and the speculation of number 3, above. The Fatima Crusader interviewed some time back Fr. Paul Kramer, who has published his own take on Fatima on a number of occasions. I do not write this to endorse any view of Fr. Kramer-- anyone can do their own vetting of him and how he or Fr. Gruner are viewed by officials in the hierarchy. I include an excerpt of this interview only for what he claims a 20th Century stigmatist predicted about the consecration of Russia:

FC: So, whoever this hunted Pope is, Benedict or some other Pope, it will not be he who consecrates Russia, in your view?

Father Kramer: On this point I would refer to the testimony of the Roman stigmatist, Antonio Ruffini. Pope Pius XII authorized the blessing of a chapel on the spot where Ruffini received the stigmata on the Via Appia, and Father Tomaselli, the miracle worker, wrote a booklet about him ---- a short account of the life of Ruffini. I myself knew Ruffini for many years. In the early 1990s Ruffini was asked point blank in his home: "Is John Paul II the Pope who is going to do the Consecration of Russia?" He answered: "No, it's not John Paul. It will not be his immediate successor either, but the one after that. He is the one who will consecrate Russia." That is, Benedict's successor, during this time of world war and persecution of the Church, will be the one to do the Consecration at long last and then the restoration and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart will begin.

This is the kind of stuff that could keep you up at night, if you let it. So, if it bothers you, don't read too much into it and don't spend time unwinding the thread you could pull. We do know what Mary asked of us lay Catholics: pray the Rosary, make the reparation of the Five First Saturdays.




Tales from the Crypt(-o-Lefebvrian)

Steve Skojec has posted an excellent piece on the whole question of the status of the Society of St. Pius X-- or rather, the seemingly deliberate confusion surrounding it.  He writes from the perspective of a non-SSPX attendee, traditional Catholic, so it resonates with me. It asks some good questions, and suggests some answers. Despite some undeniable problems in its history, it has done undeniable good. 

Well worth reading.

Shrove Tuesday Roundup Post of Doom

Always striving to be a better person (and what better time than Lent to try harder), I am trying, like so many others, to square the circle of Catholic blogging with holiness in these dreadful Church times.  I am not issuing any manifesto for Lent, other than to seek to amplify the positive where it exists, and to avoid the truly needless negative. In no way would I advocate the Pollyanna approach, or Candide's "we live with the best of all possible popes" self-help philosophy. So of course there times when the alarm must be sounded.

But I guess for Lent I will try to do a much better job discerning just when that situation really exists.  Because, in the end, Saint Louis Catholic-- the blog-- does not and cannot institute any program of needed reform and restoration in the Church.  God has willed, in His wisdom, that any such restoration will have to be enacted and enforced by the lawful authority-- the Church and her hierarchy. And no, I don't see it happening soon, absent divine intervention.  

But you know what, divine intervention happens.  And how can I, a servant of Mary and a person who believes that Fatima has yet to play out (but could soon) despair of God's providence in these times?

As a person, there could be events where I would consider myself bound in conscience (as I did in last year's Synod against on the Family) to be very critical of the actions of the Holy Father and the hierarchy.  One needn't have a crystal ball to note that another Synod looms later this year.  So, for what it is worth, this little blog will not be ceding the field.  I'm just going to try to be more discerning in my post topics.  After all, I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door, too, just like you (Yep, Bob Dylan reference).

So, let me clean out some news of the strange, bad, weird and whatever today:

1. Rorate Caeli, which has kept the light shining on the shameful treatment of the Franciscans of the Immaculate for the crime, principally, of celebrating the traditional Mass (yes, that's what I said), posts on the admission of defamation on the part of the Pope's appointed visitor against the Manelli family.  He is being forced to issue public apologies and pay a 20,000 euro fine. Read the whole post here.  We can only join in suggesting that this might be the time to call off the reverse inquisition of this order.

UPDATE:  Fr. Volpi has issued a denial of this story, and the relevant contentions can be read here.

2.  Cardinal Wuerl has posted on his blog thinly-disguised counter to Cardinal Burke and those who wish to uphold the unchangeable teachings of the Church on marriage and the integrity of the sacraments.  His post is here, and offers a fascinating misstatement of recent Church history.  

I encourage you to read the whole piece, so you have the entire context. It seems to me that the article says essentially two things: 1) The Pope is very popular and therefore is right about everything; and, 2) All of the good popes since Vatican II have detractors, particularly those nasty trads-- can't they just shut it already?

I wrote a response to His Eminence's article, and I give him credit in that it escaped comment moderation. I post it below:

Your Eminence,

Your article is not fair towards those who love the faith and see it undefended at the highest levels of the hierarchy. One may love the Pope precisely by pleading with him to defend the faith as it has been handed down by the apostles.

I of course will give you credit for good will and good intentions. But your depiction of the pope as universally revered and loved, one who draws such large crowds, is simply not accurate. It is a soft sell, to say the least. And even if it were true, the love of the world is not the measure of the greatness of a Vicar of Christ.

I beg you to uphold the teachings of Christ on marriage and communion; in this you will prove the good will and good intentions of which I give you credit.

With respect,
Saint Louis Catholic


3. Fifty Shades of Grey, the lovely family movie about perverse sexual activity, has outdrawn The Passion of the Christ as the biggest February box office opening ever.  Yep.

4. But don't worry friends, there is still an authentic Christian culture in this great country of ours, as this story proves:

A couple exchanged vows at White Castle in South County


Hayley Dennis, 23, and Jacob Slay, 27, exchanged wedding vows on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 15, 2015, at a White Castle on Lemay Ferry Road in south county. A small group of friends and family ate sliders as they watched the couple get married after winning a radio contest. "We love each other, and we love White Castle," said Dennis. "We love doing things on the fly," said Dennis. "She's the boss," said Slay. The couple met while attending MU in Columbia. Slay spent four years in the Navy before going to college. The couple live close to the White Castle and plan to be back often for more sliders.

Dear Readers, have a blessed and spiritually beneficial Lent. 

Oremus pro invicem!

16 February 2015

Just for the Record

Let it be remembered that Pope Benedict XVI was in attendance at the recent consistory to create Cardinals, as he was for the previous one, and at the controversial ceremonies of canonization and beatification.

Monday of Quinquagesima Week: Our State and Our Lenten Prayer

From The Liturgical Year entry for today, Dom Gueranger has us contemplate Lent and the call of the Christian, like our father Abraham, to obedience and to the realization that our home is not here:

"The Christian life consists in this untiring, unreserved obedience to God.  The first effect of this spirit of submission is, that it takes the soul from the region of sin and death, wherein she was wasting away her existence; it takes her from the dark Chaldea, and places her in the promised land of light. Lest she should faint on her way along the narrow path, and fall a victim to the dangers which never leave her because they are within herself, God asks her for sacrifices, and these brace her. Here again, we have Abraham for our model. God loves him, and promises him the richest of blessings; He gives him a son, as pledge of the promise; and then, shortly after, tests the holy patriarch's devotedness, by commanding him to slay with his own hand this dear child, on whom he has been told to build his hopes!

Man's path on earth is sacrifice. We cannot go out from evil except by the way of self-resistance, nor keep our footing on good ground but by constant combating. Let us imitate Abraham: fix our eyes steadfastly on the eternal hills, and consider this world as a mere passing dwelling, a tent, put up for a few days. Our Jesus has said to us: 'I came not to send peace, but the sword; for I came to separate.' Separation, then, and trials are sure to be sent us; but we are equally sure that they are for our good, since they are sent us by Him who so loved us, that He became one of ourselves. But this same Jesus has also said: 'Where thy treasure is, there too is thy heart.' Christians! can our treasure be in this wretched world? No it must be in that fair land above. There, then, must we be, in desire and affection.

These are the thoughts the Church would have us meditate upon during these days, which immediately precede the forty of Lent. They will help to purify our hearts and make them long to be with their God. The noise of the world's sins and scandals reaches our ears: let us pray, that the kingdom of God may come to us and to those poor sinners; for God's infinite mercy can change them, if He will, into children of Abraham. Not a day passes but He so changes many a sinner. He has, perhaps, shown that miracle of His mercy to us, and those words of the apostle may be applied to us: 'You, who some time were afar off, are now made nigh (to God) by the Blood of Christ.'

Let us pray for ourselves and for all sinners, in these beautiful worlds of the Mozarabic breviary."

We beseech Thee, O almighty God! that whereas our sins have angered Thee against us, our prayers and praise, which Thou inspirest, may propitiate and please Thee: that thus, by Thy mercy, the vexations of this world may not cast down our soul, nor hurtful delusion possess her, nor the darkness of unbelief surround her; but may we gleam with the light of Thy countenance, wherewith Thou hast signed us, and ever, by firmness in the true faith, walk in the brightness of the same.  Amen.

14 February 2015

Lent Approaches: Forty Hours' Devotion and Ash Wednesday Schedule at the Oratory




Sunday being Quinquagesima, and Wednesday marking the beginning of Quadragesima, it is time to buckle down and plan for a spiritually beneficial Lent. Why not start with participating in the upcoming Forty Hours Devotion at St. Francis de Sales Oratory? Schedule below. For more information on this devotion, read this excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Also called Quarant' Ore or written in one word Quarantore, is a devotion in which continuous prayer is made for forty hours before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. ...A solemn high Mass, "Mass of Exposition", is sung at the beginning, and another, the "Mass of Deposition", at the end of the period of forty hours; and both these Masses are accompanied by a procession of the Blessed Sacrament and by the chanting of the litanies of the saints. ... On the intervening day a solemn Mass pro pace is offered — if possible, at a different altar from the high altar upon which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. It is assumed that the exposition and prayer should be kept up by night as well as by day, but permission is given to dispense with this requirement when an adequate number of watchers cannot be obtained. In such a case the interruption of the devotion by night does not forfeit the indulgences conceded by the Holy See to those who take part in it.

A Plenary Indulgence may be gained once a day on each day during the Forty Hours Devotion by all who, being truly repentant, confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for at least 30 minutes (“one half an hour”) and pray for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.


Forty Hours' Devotion
Confessions 30 Minutes before Masses

Sunday, February 15 -
Quinquagesima Sunday
8am Low Mass;
Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament
10am High Mass -
w/ Procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Adoration all afternoon.

Monday, February 16 -
Mass of Quinquagesima, Feria
8am Low Mass followed by Exposition
12:15pm Low Mass at St. Joseph's altar
Votive Mass for Peace
6:30pm Reposition
Low Mass

Tuesday, February 17 -
Mass of Quinquagesima, Feria
8am Low Mass followed by Expostion
12:15pm Low Mass at St. Joseph's altar
Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament
6:30pm Solemn Mass
w/ Procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament
and Benediction

Ash Wednesday

February 18 - Fast and Adstinence
Ashes distributed at all Masses
8am Low Mass; 12:15pm Low Mass; 6:30pm High Mass







13 February 2015

Well, Maybe He Should, and Maybe He Does

We are told in this article from the Catholic Herald that "Benedict XVI has no regrets about his decision to resign".

This is according to the reported words of Archbishop Ganswein, his longtime secretary, and current secretary to Pope Francis (c.f. Mt. 6:24). I am sure that there is a good reason for this article, and it is for our edification.

Call me crazy (pauses for same), but 1) I frankly don't believe it; and, 2) if it is true then I think it is time for His Holiness to do some soul searching. Since I think His Holiness has already done extensive soul searching, I will stick with number 1.

Nothing short of direct heavenly intervention could make this situation one of "no regret".

Don't like that description?  Too bad. Just keeping it real.



11 February 2015

I'll Pile On

Lots of bloggers are going back to their archives on this second anniversary of the abdication of Benedict XVI. I'll add something that I wrote about our favorite Cardinal, as I looked ahead with unease to the conclave to elect a successor:

Pray for Cardinal Burke in any event. If he is not elected, he will be at the forefront of the charge to restore, or will be persecuted by the Church's victorious modernists.


I would say that this has come to pass, yes. Not that it took Tiresias to predict it.



Pope Continues to Try to Put the Tooth Paste Back into the Tube

The Rabbitgate scandal has long, rabbity-legs.  

At this Wednesday's audience, the Holy Father continues his necessary efforts at damage control.  He says "having more children cannot be automatically viewed as an irresponsible choice."  His Holiness praised, at length, large families and criticized the selfishness of a conscious decision not to have children.  This is good, of course, but pardon the mixed metaphor when I observe that the rabbit is out of the barn on this one.

Regina Familiae, ora pro nobis!

What Would a Non-Catholic Cardinal Look Like?

Strange times prompt strange questions.  Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the rebellious German bishops' conference and one of the leaders (though not the only, nor the highest-ranking, one) of the cabal that desires to undermine marriage and the Eucharist, made some provocative comments to the execrable America magazine. Hilary White of Lifesite News has the story.

He was asked if young Catholics really were more traditional, as is often claimed.  Yes, says the Cardinal.  

Great, yes?  Ah, not so much:

“I had a discussion with some of the students,” before the lecture, who asked him, “‘Cardinal is it true that the younger people are more traditional?’ And that’s true.”

“But that is not dangerous,” he said. “I have no problem with tradition. But we have also the tendencies that the people want to be clear in their positions. Black and white populism is growing in Europe. And that is the beginning, perhaps, of populism, of terrorism, that’s clear.”

“The atmosphere of reducing the complexity of the world, to give simple answers, to give black and white answers, is growing, and I think that is very dangerous,” the cardinal said.

Yes, clarity is obviously the biggest threat to the Church and the world.  Thanks, Your Eminence.

When the authorities of the secular order round up Catholics who stand with the unchangeable teachings of the Church-- and in this case the words of Our Savior Himself-- don't expect Cardinal Marx to stir from his comfortable digs to secure their release.  

You see, the SPLC labels practicing Catholics as terrorists.  The government thinks pro-lifers are terrorists. The occupant of the White House is eager to condemn Catholics as the moral equivalent of murderous Islamists. Even the Holy Father is very happy to point out that hey, we have our nuts, too! (and I'm looking at you, trads).

If Cardinal Kasper is the Mr. Magoo of the anti-family faction, Marx is Der Kommissar.  Clarity (about the sanctity of marriage and the sinfulness of adultery and sodomy), black and white thinking (about the sanctity of marriage and the sinfulness of adultery and sodomy), simplistic reasoning (about the sanctity of marriage and the sinfulness of adultery and sodomy) , TRUTH (about the sanctity of marriage and the sinfulness of adultery and sodomy), is the beginning of terrorism?  Right.

Let's quote two of the greatest "terrorists" in world history, Your Eminence, namely Our Lord and St. Paul:

3And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: 5For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. 6Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. 7They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? 8He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.

And this:

27Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. 28But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.


But remember, dear young Catholics, though Cardinal Marx claims to have "no problem" with tradition, he has a problem with you.  You nascent terrorists.

09 February 2015

This is Great

An Italian editorial piece, translated at Rorate.  Sometimes it is just good to hear reality, plain and unvarnished.

Now Is the Time to Wake from Sleep: the Cardinal Burke "I Will Resist" Interview

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you probably know that one of the reasons this blog exists is the great man of our day in the Holy Catholic Church, Raymond Cardinal Burke.  In February of 2007, Cardinal Burke was the Archbishop of Saint Louis. And he was in a familiar place-- standing for the truth, and under attack by his enemies via the media.

I thought it outrageous that the Archbishop was under fire for doing his job as a Bishop, when so many Bishops were seemingly unwilling to do theirs.  It wasn't just His Eminence's love of tradition that spurred me to action, though that was a motivating factor, but it was his love for the truth-- the Truth of the Faith-- and that he was willing to suffer for it.

Sorry for the analogy, but like Gandalf at the bridge, he didn't deserve to stand alone.  Like Pippin, perhaps, I didn't have much to add, but I was going to add it.

Cardinal Burke loved his time in Saint Louis, I'm convinced, and he is loved and deeply missed by faithful Catholics here.  It is telling that upon his elevation to the Signatura, he retained the title Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis.  

Well, since then the whole Church learned what we in Missouri (and Wisconsin-- I won't forget you) already knew: this exceptional prelate was going to stand for the truth, in charity, and was not going to yield.  He was, and is, prepared to suffer for it.  

Are we?

Cardinal Burke is prepared to follow his Lord to the Cross over the integrity of the faith, and the integrity of the Church.

Are we?

His kind of leadership, springing from moral integrity, is what attracts people of good will.  I am not ashamed to say that I love this man, a man I have not spoken to above ten times, but one for whom I pray every day.  He is a true shepherd in the service of the Good Shepherd, the One whose sheep know Him, and He knows them.

You have to admire someone who will actually say what he thinks is true, regardless of what the game requires a savvy person to say. This kind of truth-telling can elevate a person to high office, and it can get him sacked. It has done both for Cardinal Burke, as is well-documented.

The reaction depends on whether the person with decision-making authority over personnel values this integrity and sometimes whether the decision-maker is himself a man of integrity.

We have recently marked the ending of the Christmas season, celebrating Christ, the Prince of Peace.  But we know that this Prince of Peace Himself said, "I come not to bring peace, but the sword." (Mt. 10:34).

The truth is a sword.  It divides.  The question for us is this: which side will we be on?

So... fast forward to the interview Cardinal Burke gave to the French program 13:15 Dimanche.  He answered questions in French and in Italian, with a Latin phrase thrown in.  There were no English questions, and no English answers.  And the program's editing was very stylistic, with a lot of jumps from comments to program commentary to film clips.  So, bear that in mind.  There may be some clarification by the Cardinal on this, but so far there is none.  And the content of his words, even the context of his words, is not seemingly in doubt. 

As usual, Rorate Caeli has the full story, complete with video and readable translation.  From the translation:


-[Burke, in Italian:] I cannot accept that communion be given to a person who is living in an irregular union, because it is adultery. On the matter of persons of the same sex, this has nothing to do with matrimony. This is a suffering that some persons have, of being attracted - against nature, sexually - to persons of the same sex. Those people, we must help them to live chastely. But there is no relation to marriage and family, it is a separate issue.

[...]


-[Interviewer:] How do you intend to place pope Francis on the good path?

-[Burke, in Italian] On this, also one must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope. The classic formulation is that, "the Pope has the plenitude, the fullness, of power." This is true. But it is not absolute power. His power is at the service of the doctrine of the faith. And thus the Pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine.

-[Interviewer:] In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you, and not pope Francis?

-[Burke, in Italian:] [Smiles, shakes his head] We must, let us leave aside the matter of the Pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us.

-[Interviewer:] If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do?


-[Burke, in Italian:] I will resist. I cannot do anything else. There is no doubt that this is a difficult time, this is clear, this is clear.

His Eminence's comments are very bracing, very sobering.  Also, they're true.  If Pope Francis attempts to change Church practice on allowing persons living in adultery to receive Holy Communion without any sign of repentance, then His Eminence will resist. Because the Pope's authority is at the service of the truth, and no Pope can change the truth. 

As I alluded to above, this kind of integrity wins grateful friends and creates implacable enemies. During the salad days of thatPope, when Cardinal Burke was in favor, you saw lots of camp-followers. Now, in the days of thisPope, those same paid shills are part of the howling mob.  You know this.

Remember that His Eminence is willing to suffer for the truth.  Are we? 

Obviously, this is an if/then scenario.  If the Pope does not change the position on unrepentant public adulterers receiving Holy Communion, then this interview is a mere curiosity.  So no, we should not press the panic button yet.  But would be fools if we did not acknowledge that we live in a time when the scenario described is a credible possibility.  So what now? Pray and watch: 

11 And that knowing the season; that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.  

Romans 13:11-14

May God's Holy Mother guide and protect the Holy Father, Cardinal Burke, and all of us.  

May she ever protect the Church.

05 February 2015

At Last! Pope Francis Calls for Restoration of Traditional Rite of Confirmation

Because I have been critical at times of some of the past off-the-cuff statements of the Holy Father, I wanted to be among the first to congratulate His Holiness for endorsing a return to the traditional rite of Confirmation.  

For more on the traditional rite of Confirmation, click here and here.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Vaccine Post

Sorry for the title, but just as the popular mind has it fixed that celebrities die in threes, so too will I post about vaccines in threes.  This time, an article from noted paleo-Conservative/Libertarian Catholic Judge Andrew Napolitano on the question: To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate?

Please note that this article hits the issue from the mostly secular angle of personal freedom v. government coercion, and centers on the differing rationales of Presidential hopefuls Christie and Paul in rejecting a compulsory vaccination position.  Excerpts below:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unwittingly ignited a firestorm earlier this week when he responded to a reporter’s question in Great Britain about forced vaccinations of children in New Jersey by suggesting that the law in the U.S. needs to balance the rights of parents against the government’s duty to maintain standards of public health.

Before Christie could soften the tone of his use of the word “balance,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul jumped into the fray to support the governor. In doing so, he made a stronger case for the rights of parents by advancing the view that all vaccines do not work for all children and the ultimate decision-maker should be parents and not bureaucrats or judges. He argued not for balance, but for bias — in favor of parents.

[...]

The science is overwhelming that vaccinations work for most children most of the time. Paul, who is a physician, said, however, he knew of instances in which poorly timed vaccinations had led to mental disorders. Yet, he was wise enough to make the pro-freedom case, and he made it stronger than Christie did.

To Paul, the issue is not science. That’s because in a free society, we are free to reject scientific orthodoxy and seek unorthodox scientific cures. Of course, we do that at our peril if our rejection of truth and selection of alternatives results in harm to others.

The issue, according to Paul, is: WHO OWNS YOUR BODY? This is a question the government does not want to answer truthfully, because if it does, it will sound like Big Brother in George Orwell’s novel “1984.” That’s because the government believes it owns your body.

[...]

Rather, you do. And you alone can decide your fate with respect to the ingestion of medicine. What about children? Paul argues that parents are the natural and legal custodians of their children’s bodies until they reach maturity or majority, somewhere between ages 14 and 18, depending on the state of residence.

[...]

No less a champion of government in your face than Hillary Clinton jumped into this debate with a whacky Tweet that argued that because the Earth is round and the sky is blue and science is right, all kids should be vaccinated. What she was really saying is that in her progressive worldview, the coercive power of the federal government can be used to enforce a scientific orthodoxy upon those states and individuals who intellectually reject it.

In America, you are free to reject it.

Clinton and her Big Government colleagues would be wise to look at their favorite Supreme Court decision: Roe v. Wade. Yes, the same Roe v. Wade that 42 years ago unleashed 45 million abortions also defines the right to bear and raise children as fundamental, and thus personal to parents, and thus largely immune from state interference and utterly immune from federal interference.

[...]


But if Paul is wrong, if the government owns our bodies, then the presumption of individual liberty guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution has been surreptitiously discarded, and there will be no limit to what the government can compel us to do or to what it can extract from us — in the name of science or any other of its modern-day gods.

04 February 2015

You Want to Be a Better Person?

Might I suggest reading the Martyrology each day? It is a good reminder of what the faith costs, and yet also a source of hope and strength. Each day's hour of Prime anticipates the martyrology of the next day. For a great Breviary app in Latin and English, by the FFI, click here.





"You see this chase is hotly followed, friends."

-- from Henry V, Act II, Scene 3

The measles outbreak has missed St. Louis, reports the Post-Dispatch, but it also reports it "spurs renewed calls for vaccinations".  

If you follow the linked story, look to the left sidebar, where various related national stories are featured.  One is an opinion piece by Kathleen Parker titled "Seeking a Vaccine for Ignorance". Another bears the headline: "Failing to Vaccinate Kids Called Irresponsible by the White House".

Irresponsible, hmm.  Where have I heard that label recently?

I point this out in furtherance of my post of yesterday.  The beginnings of a movement to eliminate parental input from the decision to give vaccines to their children is underway.  Call this a public service, if you like.

03 February 2015

Mandatory Vaccinations: Politicians Getting Set to Override Parental Authority Yet Again?

There are not many topics that can divide the opinion of Catholic parents, particularly the homeschoolers among us, than that of vaccinations.  Some question the legitimacy and desirability of vaccines generally.  Some question the health effects of many of them.  Some are outraged by the use of aborted fetal cell lines in their manufacture.  Some are pro-some, anti-others.  Some are all for vaccinations, but are concerned about the number, spacing and age of reception.

However that all may be, what seems to be against Catholic teaching is the growing sense that parents must be compelled to accept any vaccines that the government tells them they need.  One of the political parties has never been shy about attacking the integrity of the family, but the other party has usually talked a good game about upholding it.  

Well, now it seems that party of moral stalwarts is getting ready to serve us up yet again.  I know this will not surprise most, but it just seems like the inevitability machine is kicking into gear on this.

The Church has offered practical guidance on the issue of vaccines, particularly those that are derived from aborted fetal cell lines. The Pontifical Academy for Life issued this document some years ago, that should be a must-read for Catholic parents.  

We can only pray that the Vatican continues to support the conscience rights of families on this issue in the years to come.  

I also very much encourage everyone to visit and explore the website of Children of God for Life, that has done yeoman work on the issue of aborted fetal cell line vaccines and that has striven to ensure the manufacture of morally-derived vaccines.

Case in point:  you have probably heard of the measles outbreak that has centered around Disneyland in California.  There is speculation that immigration has had an effect on the spread of the disease, and there are other theories.  However, one constant in the mainstream press is the horror of irresponsible parents who nuttily refuse to vaccination their children, thus exposing all our children to harm.  You know, the "Won't somebody think of the children?!" crowd.  

But might this problem have anything to do with Merck discontinuing the ethically-derived measles and mumps single vaccines, forcing parents to get the aborted fetal cell line-derived MMR instead?

But forget that.  Parents, get ready, you're in the crosshairs again.


02 February 2015

Meatless Friday Monday: Day after Superbowl Edition

Just had to share this, from a tweet of one Michael D. Fuller.


Candlemas




Today is Candlemas, the traditional feast day of the Purification of Mary. The modern calendar calls this the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. Don't fret, it is the same joyful mystery.

Today is the end of the Christmas season. Masses for today's feast at St. Francis de Sales Oratory are at 8am (Low) and 6:30pm (Solemn High) with the traditional blessing of candles and procession.

Celebrate the day, and wish mystified co-workers a Merry Christmas one last time.


01 February 2015

Septuagesima Sunday

Today marks the beginning of the penitential ramp-up to the most penitential season of the year: Quadragesima, or Lent. As often happens, Septuagesima peaks its head in before the joys of the Christmas season entirely fade. Just like life, where sadness and joy are often mingled, the Church's real liturgical year accompanies the believer in a way to best assist him on his journey to the next life.

Here is a previous post on Septuagesima, with more information and a reflection by Gueranger.

Tomorrow is Candlemas, the Purification of Mary-- the glorious end of the Christmas season, after which my wife gets her house back.

A blessed Christmas and Septuagesimatide to you all.