30 December 2017

Casti Connubii: A Document of Faith, Hope, and Charity

73. It follows therefore that they are destroying mutual fidelity, who think that the ideas and morality of our present time concerning a certain harmful and false friendship with a third party can be countenanced, and who teach that a greater freedom of feeling and action in such external relations should be allowed to man and wife, particularly as many (so they consider) are possessed of an inborn sexual tendency which cannot be satisfied within the narrow limits of monogamous marriage. That rigid attitude which condemns all sensual affections and actions with a third party they imagine to be a narrowing of mind and heart, something obsolete, or an abject form of jealousy, and as a result they look upon whatever penal laws are passed by the State for the preserving of conjugal faith as void or to be abolished. Such unworthy and idle opinions are condemned by that noble instinct which is found in every chaste husband and wife, and even by the light of the testimony of nature alone, - a testimony that is sanctioned and confirmed by the command of God: "Thou shalt not commit adultery,"[55] and the words of Christ: "Whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart."[56] The force of this divine precept can never be weakened by any merely human custom, bad example or pretext of human progress, for just as it is the one and the same "Jesus Christ, yesterday and today and the same for ever,"[57] so it is the one and the same doctrine of Christ that abides and of which no one jot or tittle shall pass away till all is fulfilled.[58]

29 December 2017

"...And Know the Place for the First Time"

The great Cardinal Burke places the Baby Jesus in the creche, Florence, 2017
Only the occasion of Christmas, and the quality of the material, causes me to stoop to posting what another blogger has posted that another person before him has written. But there it is. Christmas is Christmas. It still goes on, now in its fifth day, with more than that to go. Celebrate!

And to aid in your celebration, I gladly post, and direct your attention to, this wonderful Christmas sermon by Canon Francis Altiere of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Canon Altiere is the Rector of Old St. Patrick's Oratory in Kansas City, whom I have had the pleasure of listening to before. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski heard Canon's Christmas sermon this year, received permission to publish it, and posts it today on New Liturgical Movement. I post it again here in case you did not see it. A beautiful Christmas reflection-- please reflect, why don't you?

Merry Christmas!

CHRISTMAS HOMILY 2017
Canon Francis Xavier Altiere, ICRSS

A poet once said, “the end of all our exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time” (Little Gidding, V). As we contemplate today the mystery of the Word-made-flesh – of God who now at last in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4) takes on human nature to accomplish his plan of our salvation – I am reminded of these words as we look upon the Christ Child in his Crib. Is it not striking that Jesus Christ begins his earthly life in a borrowed cave, because there was no room at the inn, wrapped up in linen swaddling clothes, knowing in advance that 33 years later he would end his earthly life much the same way: in another borrowed cave – the tomb lent by one of his secret disciples – wrapped up this time in a linen funeral shroud? This child born between two beasts, this man crucified between two criminals: he is the same God Almighty whose earthly throne in the Jerusalem Temple perched between two cherubim. “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood” (Isaiah 1:3).

These thoughts help us, who have perhaps become too accustomed to the sentimental aspect of the Christmas story, to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time: to come on bended knee into the Crib this year and to remember that the new-born Baby in Mary’s arms beneath the star of Bethlehem will one day lie lifeless in her arms beneath the cross. We already know how the story ends: with a death and a resurrection. Yet we come back year after year, the eternal freshness of Christmas making us forget the passing years.

What do you think we would have heard in the stable if we could have been there at that first Christmas 2000 years ago? Hush, hush, don’t wake the sleeping Redeemer, but come and lean in closely. As God sleeps in his bed of straw, I seem to hear not so much a voice as an echo: even with eyes closed, the tender Babe sees the world around him – the world he made, after all – and from within the depths of his soul he asks the question that one day he asked out loud to Peter: “and he asked his disciples, saying: … But who do you say that I am?” (St. Matthew 16:13-15). One question, so many answers!

Mary, who do you say that I am? Sweet Mother, more than anyone else you understand the true mystery of Christmas.  With a mother’s love you gaze upon your baby son, but you look deeper, Mary: you see beyond the outward veil of flesh, the eternal Son of God: born eternally of the Father he now is born in time through you. You ponder the prophetic word which said, “he that made me, rested in my tabernacle” (Ecclesiasticus 24:12). O first and living ciborium, you invite us today not to the stable but to the tabernacle, that we may adore hidden under the veil of bread him whom you adored in his crib of straw. Scripture tells us: “they found the Child with Mary his mother” (St. Matthew 2:11). It will be the same for us, O holy Virgin: if we want to find Jesus, we must find him with you.

People of Bethlehem, who do you say that I am? What: an inconvenience, an unwanted child? You could at least have seen a family in need and yet in your inn there is no room. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (St. John 1:11).

Shepherds, who do you say that I am? You are simple men: the Pharisees of Jerusalem think nothing of you because you do not share their sophisticated learning. But you are men of the promise: you know only that God promised your Fathers a Redeemer and you know that he is faithful; you are not ashamed to live in the backwater of Bethlehem because you remember the prophet’s word: “And thou Bethlehem art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). The days marked out by the prophet have elapsed: now is the time for promise made to become promise fulfilled. The angel song is the reward of your humility, and you are the first ones invited to adore in the flesh the one whom even Moses feared to see in the thunders of Mount Sinai.

King Herod, who do you say that I am? O saddest of sinners, the wilfully ignorant. The scribes of Jerusalem open to you the prophetic books: the finger of the centuries points out the Messiah. Not only do you refuse to adore, but you think you can destroy God’s plan! We weep for you, poor Herod, when we see you at the head not of those who adore, but of the long line of dictators who think that they can build a human peace by refusing the Prince of Peace. The Holy Innocents, the victims of Roman persecution, those who fall to Mohammed’s sword, the hordes massacred by Communism: their blood cries out for you, Herods old and new! Your names, O persecutors, pollute the dustbin of history: but the divine Child remains on his throne and he breaks your rod of iron.

And you, what about you, my dear friends sitting here today: who do YOU say that he is? Is he just a family tradition, a little statue we cart out once a year just to put him away again in a box when we have opened our gifts and eaten our cookies? Do we feel threatened like Herod, somehow aware that if he is who he says he is, then we need to give him our whole life? Are we indifferent like the people of Bethlehem: is there no room in our inn, because it is over full with the little pet sins we don’t really want to give up? If we do not come regularly to Mass or if it has been years since our last confession, if we do not pray or if there is someone we still have never forgiven, then this year is the Christmas when we finally decide to put things right. God did not send his only Son, he did not condescend to the poverty of the stable or the shame of the cross, simply so that he could get his picture on a greeting card. He came to save us: “this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (St. Luke 2:11). Yes, brothers, he came to save us because we need to be saved. Because he has come, salvation is now possible – but salvation is not automatic, and salvation is not for the indifferent. If you want to see him one day in heaven, then we must come to him today on bended knee with Mary and Joseph and the shepherds.


Come into the stable with me – we will wait for the shepherds to pay their humble homage – and let us see it anew as if for the first time. Today, heaven is all wrapped up in swaddling clothes. He is there waiting – waiting for you. Christmas is there to remind us that we also must decide. The world can never be the same once God enters it as one of us. It is your turn now to come to the manger. We won’t wake the sleeping Babe, but our hearts whisper our response: “I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

28 December 2017

Adieu to Remy's

Alas, this favorite restaurant of ours is closing for good December 31st. I'm sure C.S. Lewis would point out that there is a more real, everlasting Remy's up in Heaven, "further up and further in." That would be nice indeed.  

Back by Popular Demand: Two Christmas Eves

Thank you to the kind reader who reminded me to re-post this beautiful seasonal essay:

There would be tea brewing on the stove in the kitchen. The coals would show red with thin blue flames where one of the stove covers had been tilted. Then, there would be a candle, perhaps two, for there could only be candles on Christmas Eve. They would be burned down pretty low now, it being after eleven o'clock when he would reach home. About ten minutes past eleven, he always reached home. His stamping the snow off his shoes on the steps outside would be the signal for the handful of tea to be dropped into the pot. There would be candles in the next room, too, the dining room they called it. And then beyond that, another candle or two. Always candles on Christmas Eve. Not many candles. A few candles, but good candles special for the vigil. They would spear the dark with steady yellow flames, and make long, rich shadows on the walls and on the pictures on the walls. The ceiling would be lighted without shadows.

There were never shadows like these Christmas Eve candle shadows. They gave mystery to the house, and a soft strangeness that you never found on any other night.

The Boy would throw his hat and coat on the chair by the kitchen stove. Then, he would go on through the dining room, as they called it, into the other room. She would meet him, as she got up from the floor where she would be setting out the presents before the tiny crib. Her knees would be stiff, he knew, and her poor body tired, but she would get up with her white face happy in spite of its whiteness, and her always bright eyes brighter, and she would turn to him for a glance of appreciative pleasure. He knew she would look for that, though she had made the house clean, had washed and mended the old lace curtains, had scrubbed the floors--hadn't he noticed the kitchen floor, white with the grain showing?-- had swept and dusted not so much for his pleasure this night, but because God was coming. But she would look to see if he were happy. He would scowl. It was defensive, or perverse. But he would scowl, and while he scowled he would notice how white her hair showed on the side that caught the light of the candles.

"My poor boy is tired," she would say.

Then he could hold the scowl no longer. He would say:

"Ma, the crib is beautiful."

Then he would get down on his knees beside it. There would be a little red sanctuary lamp on the floor before it, with the white wick floating in oil. At twelve o'clock the lamp would be lighted. If you should happen into the room--the parlor they called it-- in the early hours when the candles would be out, you would see only this, the red lamp with its tiny light flickering. It would cast a spell over you, this unsteady small light showing red on the floor beneath you. You would stand there and look at it, unstirring, unthinking, for minutes.

So, the Boy would get down on his knees beside the crib. It would be the same little crib they had last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. There would be the little imitation thatch shed, open in front. Outside, would be three shepherds with two sheep, kneeling. Inside, would be St. Joseph with his brown cloak and white beard and our Mother with her blue dress. In back would be the ox and the ass, the ox with his head low. And in the center, on a few wisps of hay-- real hay that the peddler fed his horse--would be the tiny figure of Him who was all the world.

He would kneel there, before the shed that was not a foot high, and move the figures about a bit. He always liked to have the ox and ass close to the crib. Then, he would study the presents, laid out before the crib as tenderly as the Wise Men must have laid out their gifts. They would still be in their boxes. He would not touch them, not until daybreak. Then, they would all stop for a swift minute on their way out to Mass.

Afterward, after Mass and Communion, they, with their glass of water drunk but not yet with breakfast, would strew the floor with red strings and wrapping paper and boxes. How much colorful rubbish a few little things could make! For there were but a few things before the crib: a fountain pen, a tie, two books, a box of handkerchiefs... He could recognize everything from their boxes, thin square boxes for handkerchiefs, long boxes for gloves and ties. . . . But he knew, anyway. He and his mother had conspired together for the family. He had his gifts, too. But they would not be put out until he was safely in bed....

Then, she would call from the kitchen. He had better hurry. It was getting close on midnight. So he would have his cup of tea, and a slice of brown-crusted white bread that had come from the oven that afternoon. And maybe a piece of the fruit cake, the rich, dark fruit cake heavy with spice and raisins that was always in the house on Christmas Eve. She would have her cup of tea with the cream-- for they would use the cream tonight-- showing brown gold on top. But she would have only tea for it was the vigil of Christmas.

That would be beautiful. He would tell her all that had happened at work. How old Nelson was worried because his little girl was ill, and it was Christmas Eve. How the yardmaster who cursed constantly was quiet today, and swore only when he was mad. How Big Mike had gone down to St. Mary's to confession with him, and how the church was crowded. Everything, everything. . . .

And then he would empty his pockets of all his money, including the gold piece the firm had given him for Christmas. That would be his supreme moment-- to give over every dollar, every cent. He had been doing that so long now but it never, for some strange reason, failed to make him gulp with happiness. Hadn't they bought the piano together, his mother and he, the upright piano with the green covering that came with it? Hadn't thy bought the new heavy rug for the parlor, the two of them, conspiring this way? Weren't they saving now to buy the house?-- the house out of town a little distance, the house with a garden, quiet, but near the church.

How happily she would look at him. How proudly. And he would drain his teacup so that he could hold the cup high and hide his eyes, his moist eyes. . . .

That would be beautiful, beautiful.

"Pray for those poor souls who have no home on Christmas Eve," she would say, as always she had said.

And the Boy would pray.



The Pullman porter gave a quick turn to the Young Man's chair. The Young Man who had been dozing sat up abruptly.

"Grand Central, suh."

The porter was holding his overcoat.

The Young Man was dazed.

Wasn't there tea brewing, and a red fire showing where the stove corner had been tilted? And across from him. . . .

Across from him was a row of Pullman chairs. Empty, of course. Who else but a harried reporter would be traveling thus into New York at eleven o'clock on Christmas Eve?

The porter took his tip and was gone. The Young Man made his way hazily out into the station.

And there were candles, one or two that spotted the room with yellow flames and threw long shadows. . . .

"Reservation?" asked the room clerk in the hotel.

The Young Man nodded and wrote his name. A tall bald-headed man in a dinner jacket staggered across the heavily ornate hotel lobby. Two gaudy young women tittered.

Candles, a few candles. . . .

"Front!"

A thin, small, ageless bellboy, in blue uniform and silver braid, appeared mechanically. He took his bags and led the way to the elevator.

And she was there, rising from the crib on the floor. How white her hair showed where it caught the light of the candles. . . .

"The heat on, sir?" The bellboy was turning the valve on the radiator. The steam began to pound through the pipes.

The Young Man moved to the window. Twenty stories below him the city was stirring out of its newly laid cover of snow. Even in the dark, the roofs were white, the cornices and window ledges were white. Far, far down, the streets were white, white spotted with black, streaked with black.

"Looks like a white Christmas."

The bellboy spoke impatiently. The Young Man gave him his tip. He banged the door as he left.

The Young Man turned back to the window.

It was the same little crib with its imitation thatch, and the few wisps of hay-- real hay the peddler fed his horse. . . .

The Young Man looked down. Everywhere there were lights, ragged lights, pointed lights, clustered lights, solitary lights, white, red, yellow lights. But the Young Man did not see. He drew the shade and turned from the window.

And there was St. Joseph in his brown cloak and our Lady in her blue dress and the tiny figure of Him who was all the world. . . .

The Young Man still had on his overcoat. Under the mirror of the dresser was a collar button of a former guest which the maid, in her cleaning, had missed. He fixed his eyes on it but did not see. He was without heart and his mind whirred. Where, he was asking himself dazedly, where in this world's maze of people and places, where in this wilderness of stars and philosophies, where is Home?

Hadn't they bought the piano together, and the rug....

The Young Man threw himself on the bed.

"Dear Jesus! Dear Mother of God!"

His sobbing filled his cell in the mountain of earth and steel, glass and stone.

"Dear Mother of God!"

And she would say, "Pray for those poor souls who have no home on Christmas Eve..."

"Dear Jesus!" He sobbed.

The while midnight came, and with it Christmas.



--From Dan England and the Noonday Devil, Myles Connolly, 1951

24 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish all of my readers a very blessed and very Merry Christmas! The most beautiful feast of the year, at the start of the liturgical year-- and arriving none-too-soon at the end of a very trying secular year. Beyond all hope, Hope Himself is born for us. I will remember your intentions at Midnight Mass. 

Our Lord loves us! He is born in Bethlehem!

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!

20 December 2017

Let Us Have a Happy Christmas Indeed, from Hollywood

I've written on It's a Wonderful Life in the past, but today I refer you to this wonderful piece by Taki Theodoracopulos on a few classic Hollywood Christmas films and just, the general, you know, wonderfulness of this wonderful time of year.  Excerpts:

_____________

Is there anything not to like about Christmas? The answer is a resounding NO, and I include the secular sham that goes with it, expensive trees and cheap pink paper and maddening shopping. The birth of our Lord Jesus came in handy on his 1914th birthday, when the German and British troops called a halt to the slaughter and played football instead. (The high command should have followed the troops’ example, but they ordered the mayhem to continue from the warmth of their various castles.) Even Hollywood used to—I say used to—get into the spirit of Christmas and made films that warmed the heart and spread good cheer.

[…]

My favorite film about Christmas is the old classic Miracle on 34th Street. Eight-year-old Susan, played by the wonderful Natalie Wood—in 1947, when the movie was made, she was around 8 years old—has been brought up by a no-nonsense mother, the beautiful Maureen O’Hara, and the child is in deep need of a little Christmas magic. Well, you know the rest: A department-store Santa (played by Edmund Gwenn) whose real name is Kris Kringle incites the company to adopt his policy of directing customers to other stores when their needs cannot be met by Macy’s, the store that employs him.

[…]

The film is all about believing in magic, if you will. In the courtroom scene, R.H. Macy himself makes an appearance and proclaims that Kris Kringle is Santa Claus, no ifs or buts about it. The film got rave reviews, won three Oscars, and was praised for its ingenuity, humor, and spirit.

[…]

Magic and Christmas go together, as well they should. The films I mentioned appeal to all ages, because adults need magic in their dull lives as much as children do. I’ve never lost the feeling of excitement and expectation that comes with Christmas. I suppose it’s because of the nine years I spent in boarding school, when Christmas meant liberation from the drudgery of learning. This is why I hate modern movies with the passion that I do. Today, even cartoons from the Disney Channel with animated characters make crass and nasty comments. While parents try to instill principles of kindness, politeness, and respect to the little ones, movies give them a regular dose of horrible bloodshed, vulgar swearing, and unspeakable violence.


And with the advent of the internet, things have gotten far, far worse. Christmas offers a wonderful illusion of community and love of fellow man, and it’s been around for quite a long time. Let’s keep it this way. A very happy Christmas to you all.

Nations Are Angry, Cursed Are Some; People Are Expecting A False Peace to Come

But I'm hangin' on...

18 December 2017

This Story Makes Me Happier than I Can Express

Fake weather theory threatens preparations for fake amateur sports festival designed to fake international siblinghood via fake sporting events.

Christopher Ferrara's Latest at The Remnant

I can only second the call for the hierarchy to do their jobs and stand with Our Lord against any who would attempt to destroy or desecrate His Bride the Church. I can only second his call for the flock to be assiduous in the task of defending themselves as best they can from the wolves.

Consider this quote he takes from Dom Prosper Gueranger:
  
"When the shepherd becomes a wolf, the first duty of the flock is to defend itself. The true children of Holy Church, at such times, are those who walk by the light of their Baptism, not the cowardly souls who, under the specious pretext of submission to the powers that be, delay their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable."

The Liturgical Year, Vol. IV

Read the rest here: The Dictator Pope: A Call to Hierarchical Opposition

15 December 2017

A Friday Thought

On this Friday, meditating on the Crucifixion, a thought came to me that I just had to share. Hanging on the cross, dying for the sins of us all, abandoned by nearly everyone, even feeling separated (in His human nature) from the Father, how consoling must it have been to see one woman at the foot of the cross in whom He could feel entirely complacent-- by whom He was not abandoned, and who returned His love with the intensity and purity it deserved. 

That is our Mediatrix. That is the Woman to whose care He gave us. We ignore her to our detriment. 

Joe Sobran on Christmas

The late, great Joe Sobran, whose sandal straps William F. Buckley was never worthy to unlatch, was among other things one of the great Catholic minds of our time.  This piece, concerning the real Christ at Christmastime, was republished today at LRC, so I thought I'd post it, too.  

__________________


As always in our time, Christmas is provoking dissent from people who don’t want Christian symbols on public property or Christmas carols sung in public schools.

Many Christians find this annoying and churlish. Some even feel that Christianity is being persecuted.

The columnist Michelle Malkin writes, “We are under attack by Secularist Grinches Gone Wild.” Pat Buchanan goes so far as to speak of “hate crimes” against Christians.

I disagree. In some parts of the world, from Sudan to China, Christians really are being persecuted, even murdered. But what is going on in America’s symbolic opposition to Christianity is something different.

Sometimes I think the anti-Christian forces take Christ more seriously than most nominal Christians do. The Western world, including many of those who consider themselves Christians, has turned Christmas into a bland holiday of mere niceness. If you don’t get into the spirit, you’re likely to be called a Scrooge.

The natural reaction to Christ is to reject him. He said so. In fact, when he was taken to the Temple as an infant, St. Simeon prophesied that he would be a center of contention. Later he predicted his own death and told his followers they must expect persecution too.

His bitterest enemies weren’t atheists; they were the most religious men of his age, the Pharisees, who considered his claims blasphemous — as, by their lights, they were.

Nice? That’s hardly the word for Jesus. He performed miracles of love and mercy, but he also warned of eternal damnation, attacked and insulted the Pharisees, and could rebuke even people who adored him in words that can only make us cringe.

To many, he was a threat. He still is. We honor him more by acknowledging his explosive presence than by making him a mere symbol of nice manners. At every step of his ministry, he made enemies and brought his crucifixion closer. People weren’t crucified for being nice.

The negative witnesses

Some people think you can take Christ’s “teachings” and ignore his miracles as if they were fables. But this is to confuse the Sermon on the Mount with the Democratic Party platform. Chief among his teachings was his claim to be God’s son: “I and the Father are one.” “Nobody comes to the Father except through me.”

His teachings are inseparable from his miracles; in fact, his teachings themselves are miraculous. Nobody had ever made such claims before, enraging pious Pharisees and baffling his pious disciples at the same time. After feeding thousands with the miraculous loaves and fishes, he announced that he himself was “the bread of life.” Unless you ate his flesh and drank his blood, he warned, you have no life in you.

This amazing teaching was too much. It cost him many of his disciples on the spot. He didn’t try to coax them back by explaining that he was only speaking figuratively, because he wasn’t. He was foretelling the Last Supper.

At virtually every step of his ministry, Christ accompanied his words with miracles. And the remarkable thing is that his enemies disputed the words rather than the miracles. Of the wonders he performed, there was no doubt; they attracted, and were witnessed by, large crowds. It was their meaning that was controversial.

The blind saw, the deaf heard, cripples walked, lepers were healed. Where did he get the power to do these things? From God or the devil? He used them to certify his power to forgive sins, the claim his critics — enemies, rather — first found outrageous.

His claims still reverberate. The Gospels attest the total coherence of his mission, the perfect harmony between his words and his deeds, even the careful order of his progressive self-disclosure. His modern enemies, many of them professed Christians, don’t try to disprove the miracles; they simply assume he never performed them. And now some of them assume he never spoke many of the words the Gospels record him as saying.

This skeptical attack floors me. The poet Tennyson remarked that Christ’s greatest miracle was his personality. Could anyone else — the four simple authors of the Gospels, for example — have made him up, and put such resonant words in his mouth? “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” That’s another claim that seems to be holding up pretty well.

Such a strong, indeed unique, personality could only meet strong — and unique — resistance. This is why Christians shouldn’t resent the natural resistance of those who refuse to celebrate his birth. In their way, those people are his witnesses too.


(Originally published 12/23/2004)

14 December 2017

Christ Suffers in His Church

Are there still any Catholic bishops and cardinals left? They ought to know that God will demand an account from them for their complicit silence. And in case they might have forgotten, we must remind them of it.

--Antonio Socci, in a must-read post at 1P5.

08 December 2017

Gaudens Gaudebo: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Daily Consecration of ICRSS to Blessed Mother

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.

06 December 2017

Half a Century

So today marks the beginning of my second half-century outside the womb. Fifty years, and I know that most of that time has been squandered, or worse. Still, I know God loves me because I see it in the countless blessings He has given me. First and foremost, His Son and His Son's Church. Thank God I've not lost the faith; I pray always for an increase of faith, hope and charity, not to mention final perseverance and a happy death. I thank all the holy priests, religious, family, and friends who have set such good examples and who have given such support in the faith that it is easy to follow. You know who you are.

Apart from all that, I have been blessed with the most beautiful wife, inside and out, that there exists on this guilty earth. She is the only one who could possibly drag me across the heavenly finish line. A perfect soul mate: generous, kind, patient, loving, longsuffering. Thank you.

And though I can't remember all of their names, I am blessed by 37 wonderful children. Their mother's DNA ensures their worth, and the few faults I can see in their behavior just hold up a mirror to me as a reminder to always do better by them. One of them is even married and produced a super-beautful little granddaughter, so I have Psalm 127:6 covered, too.

I and everything I have are consecrated to Our Blessed Mother. She may dispose of me as she sees fit. What better person to trust?

God bless you all!


04 December 2017

Teachers According to Their Lusts

It can't get much worse. Except, as my brother says, when it does. We are on such a devastating trajectory here, a trajectory any Catholic of good will can see, though the speed is a variable we can only guess. As Our Lady herself said, only she can save us.

The big news of the weekend was the publication in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official Vatican way of promulgating official papal acts, of the execrable Buenos Aires bishops' pastoral guidelines implementing the execrable Amoris Laetitia in such a way as to execrably grant unrepentant, public adulterers access to the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as the execrable formerly "private" letter of Francis approving this plan, and stating, execrably, that there are "no other interpretations" of the matter. 

Is this manifest, pertinacious heresy? It sure seems like heresy to claim that the Divine Law is incapable of being followed. It sure seems wrong for the Church to encourage mortal sin and sacrilege. It sure contradicts the words of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, and also contradicts the Scriptures and the constant teaching of the Church. Pertinacious? I am not a canon lawyer, nor am I a theologian. Thus, whether it be heresy or no, it does not change the duty of a Catholic to adhere to Catholic doctrine. No one, not the pope, an angel, or the antichrist can change the truth into a lie. Our duties as Catholics-in-the-pews remain the same.

Thus, not being a theologian nor canonist I cannot address this question of whether this act is a triggering device that caused Bergoglio to depose himself from the See of Peter. But, just because I don't know doesn't mean that it is not A VERY GOOD AND RELEVANT QUESTION. 

And that is not me sidestepping the issue. When and if some act of adherence to the execrable notion that mortal sinners must be allowed to commit sacrilege against Our Lord's Body and Blood with the sanction of the Church, then it will be time to for a nobody like me to make that call. Could that happen? You betcha. I pray I will stand with Christ and His Church then, as I pray for that grace now.

Thus, there are lots of good questions that the typical layman cannot yet answer. If Francis, assuming he validly assumed the office in the first place, has indeed deposed himself through attempting to promulgate heresy, that is a determination only the Church can make. Because only Christ has the power and authority to depose His Vicar. Only the Church can definitively announce such a deposition. Therefore, whether it occurred or not, until the Church acts (presumably through action by the Sacred College) Francis retains the juridical power of the office.  

So, please, if any of the hierarchy of the Church still love Christ, will you do something nowPlease?!

As usual, God has a way of reminding us Who is actually in charge. The Epistle and the Gospel from today:

Epistle, 2 Tim. 4:1-8


Beloved: I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead by His coming and by His kingdom, preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their lusts, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables. But be watchful in all things, bear with tribulation patiently, work as a preacher of the Gospel, fulfill your ministry. As for me, I am already being poured out in sacrifice, and the time of my deliverance is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. For the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will give to me in that day; yet not to me only, but also to those who love His coming.

Gospel, Matt. 5:13-19

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its strength, what shall it be salted with? It is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a lamp and put it under the measure, but upon the lampstand, so as to give light to all in the house. Even so let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall be lost from the Law till all things have been accomplished. Therefore whoever does away with one of these least commandments, and so teaches men, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever carries them out and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."  

In the Time of My Confession: Penn Jillette and Gospel Bob

Penn Jillette is one of those very rare modern men who can actually think. By that I mean that he can formulate sentences, think logically, listen to answers, make well-reasoned responses that are appropriate to the questions, and perhaps actually be persuaded by argument.  He is still rarer in that he is a thinking atheist who can respect the Christian as he is. He gives credit to the Christian for his own beliefs, and takes his arguments seriously. An atheist, or a leftist like Camille Paglia, who can do this is so refreshing in this time of the big lie that he seems like Aristotle.

I posted this before, but here is what I mean about his intellectual honesty and good will:


But what does that have to do with Bob Dylan, you ask? Plenty. I was blessed enough to be gifted with Bob Dylan's new Bootleg Series Vol. 13, which focuses on Bob's overtly-Christian, "Gospel" period from 1979-81. And in addition to the incredible music, the collection includes a book of photographs from the period-- and an essay by Penn Jillette.

Here are just brief excerpts from what he has to say about Bob and his music:

Here starts my search: Over thirty-five years have passed and I've been asked to write my thoughts on Dylan's gospel period from my point of view. While I was waiting to hear this Bootleg Series, I did a little homework. I took Time Out of Mind off my turntable and finally listened to Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love carefully. Gonna change my way of thinking.

Now Dylan's gospel records are good. I know the records haven't changed over these years, so it's me. I come to Dylan for passion, and profundity. I come to Dylan for truth. I come to Dylan to question what I'm feeling. I come to Dylan to understand what I'm feeling. I come to Dylan to change what I'm feeling. I come to Dylan to knock me out of the trivial. To make life seem more important than TV, movies, Facebook and Twitter. I come to Dylan to make life more important than just today, and these records deliver everything I want. At the time these recordings came out, I asked myself, "What's wrong with Dylan?" Now listening to these recordings full of heart, and truth, and passion, naked power, the question suddenly becomes "What was wrong with me?"

[...]

Here starts my revelation: When these recordings of live versions, outtakes, and rehearsals from the gospel period arrived, I experienced the burning bush. I was on the road to Damascus. These records changed me. I'm not Christian but I've changed. I've been listening to these records all day, every day and my life and life in general seem more important. Dylan never deals with the trivial, and these records frighten me with the awful truth of how sweet life can be. Bob has said that the purpose of art is to inspire. I am inspired. I want to be a better person and think more about things that matter. I have the spirit.

[...]

I must face some of my own hypocrisy. I never sequestered Bach's Saint Matthew's Passion on my shelf in shrink wrap. I listen to all the Bach sacred music without the chip on my shoulder that I had for Bob. I feel the music, the inspiration and the passion directly. Bach's faith doesn't get in the way. The faith is a big part of what I love about it. I don't pretend to understand what inspired Bach and it doesn't matter to my heart. I love the music. Was that okay with me because Johann's long dead and I don't understand German? I don't know. I love Ray Charles singing "Amazing Grace." Why was that always okay with me? Why did it take so much longer for me to hear Dylan's gospel? I'm afraid there aren't any good reasons and there may be some bad ones.

[...]

I must be careful that my new tolerance doesn't fall into disrespect. Listening to these records I mustn't pretend that Bob could be singing about any old thing. I can't pretend that we can replace the word "Jesus" with "Chuck Berry" and the songs would mean the same thing. They would not mean the same thing. I mustn't patronize a Nobel Laureate with some sort of ugly work-around of "God to him is what art is to me." All of that wouild be an insult to Dylan and I would never do that. So, as I listen to these gospel songs, I try to take his faith and passion seriously and honestly and feel it as best I can from his point of view. I need to let his preaching the word of [G]od speak to me of the human condition, uplift me, inspire me, and not in any way cheapen the depth of his belief.

And not just for these gospel records. Common wisdom is that Dylan went back to being a secular song writer after this period, but that's a lie. The truth is Bob Dylan never was and never will be a secular song writer: "God said to Abraham kill me a son"-- is not "Fly Robin Fly". "I can hear a sweet voice gently calling, must be the mother of our Lord." "I'm sworn to uphold the laws of God." And "Narrow Way" is more about Jesus's "narrow gate" than an answer song to Sir Mix-a-Lot.

[...]

The epiphany: There are atheists in foxholes and there are atheists singing along with "Ain't Gonna Go to Hell for Anybody." I'm listening now.

End of the World Stuff, or Bob?


Those are my two choices for blogging fodder today, people. 

And I choose....





Both.

But Bob first, 'cause other bloggers are already writing about the end of the world.  See you soon.

30 November 2017

Beginning Today: Novena to the Immaculate Conception


Greetings, everyone! As the post-Christian, secular season of Christmas is in full swing, I confess to a palpable level of annoyance. Not that people jump start Christmas (after all, it is after Thanksgiving), but that Advent. Still. Hasn't. Begun!



But I've opined on that subject long ago. Today my mission is to promote a way to prepare for Advent and Christmas at one fell swoop, and ease our way into the contemplation of the Love of God Who became incarnate of the Blessed Virgin.

Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is the Patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (not to mention of the United States). Each year the Institute holds a novena of Masses in preparation of Our Lady's Feast, each Mass with a different priest preaching the sermon.  This year is no exception.

So if you wish to participate in this beautiful tradition, the schedule of Masses at St. Francis de Sales Oratory is as follows (hint-- it begins tonight):

Novena in Preparation
of the
Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Thursday, November 30
6:30pm Low Mass
Father Brian Harrison
Chaplain, St. Mary of the Victories Chapel
"Mary, Seat of Wisdom"

Friday, December 1
6:30pm Low Mass
Father Eric Kunz
Pastor, St. Clare Parish
"Mary, Mother of Our Savior and Help of Christians"

Saturday, December 2
8am Low Mass
Canon Adrian Sequeira
Vicar, St. Francis de Sales Oratory
"Maria, Cause of Joy"

Sunday, December 3
10am High Mass
Canon Francis Altiere
Old St. Patrick's Oratory, Kansas City
"Virgin Most Powerful - Virgin Most Merciful"

Monday, December 4
6:30pm Low Mass
Father Henry Purcell
Associate Pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish
"Tower of David - Tower of Ivory"

Tuesday, December 5
6:30pm Low Mass
Father Thomas Keller
Pastor, Assumption Parish
"Morning Star"

Wednesday, December 6
6:30pm Low Mass
Father Damien Dougherty, OFM
Professor of Sacred Scripture, Archdiocese of St. Louis
"Mary, Mother of the Church"

Thursday, December 7
6:30pm Low Mass
Canon Jean-Baptiste Commins
Vice Rector, Shine of Christ the King, Chicago
"Mirror of Justice, Mother of Mercy"

Friday, December 8
6:30pm High Mass
Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, Saint Francis de Sales Oratory
"Queen Conceived Without Original Sin"