31 January 2016

Just Fiction, It's Not Real

"In the case of the archbishop, there had been no evident moral corruption in his face and manner. There was a softness about him, however, a gentleness that lacked real strength. In all likelihood the man had succumbed to one of Satan’s more clever ploys, a subtle backdoor devil entering where the front-door devils of vice had not gained admittance. If the Judas syndrome had failed to corrupt, had the Caiaphas syndrome succeeded? When had the man begun to lose his bearings? Certainly a misplaced compassion was at work in the matrix of his thinking. Did the archbishop have friends and relatives whose lives violated the commandments? Perhaps in the beginning he had meant only to be kind, to evangelize with empathy. Then, because of the adamancy of God’s laws, he had fallen into the dilemma of kindly men who lack courage to speak the truth in love. Their natural sympathies told them one thing, and their faith told them another.

Thus, internally divided, these pastors strained for a resolution. They were further weakened by long years of endless nuances, by reading disordered theology and feeling helpless whenever they were confronted by the tears and reproaches of those who found moral imperatives too hard. Add to this their discussions with like-minded peers, people they admired, clever people who chose to manipulate opinion as they sought to deconstruct the Church and rebuild it in their own image. These dynamics, combined with a hidden thread of pride, had led the archbishop to the conclusion that orthodox Catholicism was simply no longer feasible, could no longer function as it had for two millennia. Primitive Christianity, such men believed, must evolve into something inclusive, nonjudgmental, and nonconfrontational. Above all, it must never offend."

-- Michael O'Brien, Elijah in Jerusalem

29 January 2016

Feast of St. Francis de Sales: Mass and Te Deum at the Oratory at 6:30pm

Happy Feast Day, everyone!  The Canons of the Institute will chant a solemn Te Deum before tonight's Mass on the Feast of its co-Patron, in thanksgiving for the successful conclusion of the Apostolic Visitation and final approval of its constitutions. Be there or be square.

Apostolic Visitation Concluded: Vatican Definitively Approves Constitutions of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Good news in any form is welcome these days; this is very good news indeed.  In light of the treatment of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate under this Pontificate, some commentators have been sensing impending doom in the recent apostolic visitations of the Institute and of the Fraternity of St. Peter. Now, at least in the case of the Institute, we can see that it has ended well.

Concluding its visitation of the Institute five years after its elevation to a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, Rome has given definitive approval to the constitutions of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The Holy Father and all who had a hand in this deserve thanks for this just outcome.

There are many reasons to be grateful to God for such an outcome.  I would like to focus on just my own personal views here.  First, in this climate, where all of the traditional expressions of faith and praxis are in such disfavor by those at the highest levels, the Vatican has given its stamp of approval to an Institute whose very essence is the accomplishment of the ancient liturgical prayer of the Church, in all its beauty and majesty. Even the most cynical among us must acknowledge that at least some outlet for the traditional liturgy might escape the scythe of banality.

Second, like the FFI, the Institute has been favored by the assistance of His Eminence, Cardinal Burke in a public way.  Any notion of fallout to the Institute for such an association appears to have been unfounded. I am glad for this, too.

Third, the manner in which the Institute was founded, and the way it conducts its affairs, must also be considered a cause for the acceptance it receives here.  Monsignor Gilles Wach and Canon Phillipe Mora, proteges of the great Cardinal Siri, founded the Institute in 1990 as a Society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Right in Gabon, Africa, where it still has an apostolate.  Later, the Institute established its seminary in Gricigliano, Italy, on land donated by the Martelli family, and was under the authority of the Archbishop of Florence.  Finally, in 2008, the Papal decree Saeculorum Rex elevated the Institute to a Society of Pontifical Right. 

Throughout, the Institute has gone about its business for the salvation of souls without backing down, yes, but also without picking unnecessary fights.  Hence, the most orthodox and (dare I say it) the most heterodox bishops have invited them into their dioceses, knowing that the Institute would do its job without unnecessary drama. The Institute, for better or worse, was founded two years after the drama surrounding the SSPX episcopal consecrations and their fallout.  As such, it has not been tied to the event-- perhaps in this way it has escaped "blame" from those who despise the SSPX, but then again those who admire the SSPX and FSSP have not given it the "credit" either.  It has made its own way.

There are those who fault the Institute for this, but I disagree-- and if you have read this blog for seven seconds you know I am one who would gladly pick unnecessary fights on all sorts of subjects. The practice of humility the Institute has so assiduously followed (but, timman, what about their fancy clothes?)--yes, I said humility-- has served it well. It has been proven wise. Now, we all sense that a day may soon come where everyone will make very public stands on matters of the gravest import for the Church and our own souls. Some think the Institute will fold on that day.  I don't. Those of us blessed enough to be under the spiritual care of the Institute can attest to their good work and steadfast faith, accomplished with great charity.

Finally, we should acknowledge the assistance of heaven in all of this.  The Institute, dedicated to Christ the King and Eternal High Priest, consecrated daily to Mary the Immaculate Conception, and under the patronage of Saints Francis de Sales, Thomas Aquinas, Benedict, and Therese of Lisieux, has been protected from disaster throughout its 26 years.  For a still relatively small society, it has done much good.

May the Institute continue its mission, working out the truth in charity, for the salvation of souls.  Deo gratis!


Daily Consecration of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to the Blessed Virgin Mary  

In the presence of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and with heaven and earth as our witness, we prostrate ourselves at thy feet, O Mary, Our Lady.  

We acknowledge Thee as our Mother, as the Immaculate Conception, living tabernacle of the Divinity, as Queen of angels and of men, as Mother of the Church and of the Catholic priesthood, and as refuge of the afflicted. That is why, small and weak that we are, we wish to consecrate to Thee our Institute, our families, our persons, our works, our future, all that pertains to us and is in us, and which God, in His immeasurable goodness, has entrusted to us for our good use.

We also consecrate to Thee the value of our good actions,
past, present, and future, leaving to Thee the entire and full right of disposing of us and all that belongs to us. Mary, be our Mother; sanctify us, purify us, correct us, guide us, pray for us and protect us.

Help us to perfectly fulfill the duties of our state of life. Extinguish in us all self-love, which prevents Thy Divine Son, King and Sovereign Priest, from reigning in and around us. 

Cover abundantly with thy maternal protection all the parishes, chapels, schools, works and missions entrusted to the Institute, and mayest Thou forever impede the devil from reigning, in any manner, in this Institute which desires to be entirely Thine for the greater glory of God, the exaltation of our Mother the Holy Catholic Church, and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.

28 January 2016

26 January 2016

The Pope on Luther and Lutherans

"Rise, Peter, and fulfill this pastoral office divinely entrusted to you as mentioned above.

Give heed to the cause of the holy Roman Church, mother of all churches and teacher of the faith, whom you by the order of God, have consecrated by your blood. Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.


Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places.


Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures.

Yet, with the advice of our brothers, imitating the mercy of almighty God who does not wish the death of a sinner but rather that he be converted and live, and forgetting all the injuries inflicted on us and the Apostolic See, we have decided to use all the compassion we are capable of. It is our hope, so far as in us lies, that he will experience a change of heart by taking the road of mildness we have proposed, return, and turn away from his errors. We will receive him kindly as the prodigal son returning to the embrace of the Church.

Therefore let Martin himself and all those adhering to him, and those who shelter and support him, through the merciful heart of our God and the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by which and through whom the redemption of the human race and the upbuilding of holy mother Church was accomplished, know that from our heart we exhort and beseech that he cease to disturb the peace, unity, and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so earnestly to the Father. Let him abstain from his pernicious errors that he may come back to us. If they really will obey, and certify to us by legal documents that they have obeyed, they will find in us the affection of a father's love, the opening of the font of the effects of paternal charity, and opening of the font of mercy and clemency."

--Pope Leo X, Exsurge Domine

25 January 2016

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Offering up prayers for the conversions of certain family and friends.

St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, pray for us!

23 January 2016

The Key to Harmony

Don't ever notice things. Always remember: Feelings are real, facts are irrelevant.

22 January 2016


...to the desert of the real." In this video, the trad Morpheus, from deep underground, instructs the incredulous Neo (-catholic).

Reality can be hard to face.  The audio quality suffers a little, so "V2" sounds a little like "AI".  But no matter. See if you can spot the stand-in for Catholic schools near the end... 

21 January 2016

Psalm 129:6-7

With thanks to the American Catholic site, a poem for those who train and teach, walk and weed, during these trying times*:

Say not the Struggle nought Availeth
By Arthur Hugh Clough

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
     The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
     And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
     Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
     But westward, look, the land is bright.

* The Psalm numbering in the title of the post is the Catholic (i.e., correct) numbering.  Use your Vulgate or Douay-Rheims version.

19 January 2016

A Murmur of a Prayer

I must work the works of Him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

--John 9:4 

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

--Bob Dylan, Not Dark Yet (1997) 

18 January 2016

Closed For Business Downtown?

Harry's Restaurant downtown is closing. This comes hard on the heels of the closure of Mike Shannon's. The reason for my post today is to engage local St. Louis readers. I ask you to read the comments of the Owner of Harry's to STLToday, and consider them carefully. Is St. Louis in an irreversible decline, and if not what can be done?

[The owner] cited a familiar scenario: “It’s the economy, the highway closing, Ballpark Village. Downtown is just a dead area right now, unfortunately. Obviously, the sad part is nobody is talking about it. Iconic places are going out of business, and nobody cares.

“Ballpark Village was the nail in the coffin. It shut down Washington Avenue and took 70 percent of our business. We thought it would be more like 10 or 20 percent. It took the people left who were coming to downtown.”

He says the past closing of Highway 40 was a big factor because “St. Louisans are creatures of habit. When it was closed for 2½ years, they went elsewhere.”

Pieri believes there’s a downward swing that will continue until downtown books more conventions and brings crime under control. “People are afraid to come downtown,” he says.

Further to the point, I am going to favorably link to someone I never thought I'd link to here: Gene McNary, who in the aftermath of the Rams departure wrote this proposal in the P-D.

What thinketh ye?

One Can't Help but Notice Things

Just one day (on a Sunday, no less) after meeting cordially with the synagogue that rejects the Messias and the Gospel to this day, Pope Francis uses Christ's metaphor of new wine and old wineskins to chastise Catholics who want to be true to the faith of the Church as handed down from Apostolic times?

I'm confused by this.  Wasn't the old/new wineskins metaphor used by Our Lord to urge his followers to accept the New Law and not to force it into the construct of the Old Law?  You know, the Old, superseded Law the talmudic Jews of today claim to follow?

I didn't sense any chastisement on Sunday.  But today, a little bit.


My brother helped me remember the essentials: I believe Peter is the rock. I want to be Catholic. I just have to bear down and be faithful through this period that I simply don't understand.

15 January 2016

Fr. Cipolla Responds to Ross Douthat

Full piece at Rorate Caeli.  In response to the "crisis of conservative Catholicism", as Douthat frames it, Fr. Cipolla points to the battle between Catholicism-- "Tradition"-- and "the selfishness and darkness of the world".  The full article is well worth reading, and it concludes thusly:


But above all, Mr. Douthat, you do not understand that the deepest problem of the state of the Church today is the destruction of her liturgical life.  That blindess you share with the Neocons, who have been blind to this for so many years and who refuse to see this because of their inability to even consider that the Church can make serious mistakes despite her indefectibility.  The Panglossian attitude towards the post-Vatican II developments in the liturgy on the part of those who style themselves as conservative Catholics is not only an affront to reality but has contributed to the shocking (never admitted by the bishops) decline in Mass attendance to the point where less than 25% of Catholics go to Sunday Mass on a regular basis.  Any rational person would want to sit down and discuss how we got to this point and at least consider that bad decisions were made in the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium by the Consilium entrusted with liturgical renewal.  It is a remarkable fact that Pope Paul VI thought that he had the power to change the liturgy of the Mass.  As I said before, even Pio Nono would have been amazed that he had this power.  But then comes Benedict XVI who declares that what was sacred then is sacred now and that the Traditional Roman Mass was never suppressed.  Ahem.  There may a contradiction somewhere in all of this.

We who love the Tradition of the Catholic Church rejoiced in Benedict’s Motu Proprio—Summorum Pontificum that freed the Traditional Mass from the tyranny of the post-Vatican II liturgical establishment.  But Benedict did this by inventing the fiction that there are two forms of the one Roman Rite:  the Ordinary and the Extraordinary.  What this means is, to say the least, not clear, perhaps not cogent.  But he could not say explicitly that what Paul VI did in imposing the Novus Ordo on the Church was wrong—because Popes do not make serious mistakes.  And so that whole fiction about if a small group in a parish want the “old Mass”, they should go to the pastor and ask that it be celebrated in their parish, and if the pastor refuses (why would he?), they could go to the bishop.  What does all this mean?  The great majority of bishops are inimical to the Traditional Mass, and this animosity is true even more of pastors of parishes and seminary officials.  Those of a certain age have a vested interest in the de-sacralization of the liturgy that occurred after the Second Vatican Council.  And, Mr. Douthat, what you see happening in the doctrinal life of the Church is a direct consequence of the unmooring of the liturgical life of the Church from its foundation in Catholic Tradition.  This is not conservatism.  This is foundationalism, grounded in the Tradition of the Apostles.

But this is not a time for gloom and doom, nor is it a time for Pope-bashing, nor is it a time for circling the wagons. No.  Next Sunday’s gospel in the Extraordinary Form as always is the first miracle of Christ: the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana, as part of the Epiphany of the Lord. And, mirabile dictu, because it is "Year C in the Ordinary Form", our people at the masses celebrated according to that Form, will also hear this Gospel. 

And how wonderful that is! For this first miracle of our Lord is a miracle of pure largesse, a miracle not to heal, or to exorcise, or to raise someone from the dead.  His first miracle was to help make people happy at a celebration of hope and love that is a wedding.  And so let us all raise our glasses in happiness and thanksgiving that we are blessed by our Catholic faith.  And let us, yes, toast the Pope, but conscience first.  And let us toast each other, whoever we are, and let us toast this whole messy world in which we live that whether they know it or not,  the world has been redeemed by Jesus Christ.  And with a smile on our face let us thank God that He has loved us so much that He sent his Son to die for us; and that he continues to love us so much despite our ungratefulness and sin-- and let us thank God that we know the beauty and the truth of the Catholic faith.

Analyzing Several Key Questions about This Pontificate through the Lens of History

That's what Hilary White does in this piece at The Remnant. Like most White articles, it is very well done. What she says about the resignation, election and acts of the current pontificate are well-thought out, and draw necessary conclusions.  Perhaps more importantly, they refrain from drawing unnecessary conclusions that, while titillating, we have no competence to draw.

Take heart, fellow Catholics.  We must be Catholic, and ride it out.  Faith. Hope. Charity.

14 January 2016

Prayer Request

In your charity, please pray for a friend's two year old boy. He's in the hospital with some pretty serious health issues.

Obnoxious Post Title for an Obnoxious Reality: See, I Told You So

I don't claim any special insight, we all know where the ecumenical train leads, and it's over the cliff.  But still, this story at Rorate Caeli comes just a day after my little warning about local ecumaniacs.  

The Body of Christ on earth is headed by people who would celebrate the arch-heresiarch Luther, and thank (!) God for the damage he did to souls.

Black is white, up is down, people.  This should end well.

13 January 2016

The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas, everyone, as we celebrate another of those milestones of the season-- the second manifestation of Christ's Divinity, His Baptism in the Jordan.

John 3:

[1] And in those days cometh John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea. [2] And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [3] For this is he that was spoken of by Isaias the prophet, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. [4] And the same John had his garment of camels' hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey. [5] Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country about Jordan:

[6] And were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. [7] And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. [9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. [10] For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire.

[11] I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but he that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. [13] Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan, unto John, to be baptized by him. [14] But John stayed him, saying: I ought to be baptized by thee, and comest thou to me? [15] And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all justice. Then he suffered him.

[16] And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him. [17] And behold a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.