30 November 2011

It is "critical at this time that Christians stand up for the natural moral law."

The great prince of the Church Raymond Cardinal Burke, in an interview with CNA, warns that we are well on our way to persecution of Catholics in the United States.  And as usual, he points to the best way to prevent it-- the words quoted in the title to this post.  From AINA:

Vatican Cardinal Burke: 'We're Well on the Way' to Christian Persecution in the U.S.

VATICAN -- One of the highest ranking cardinals in the Vatican has said that the United States is "well on the way" to the persecution of Christians.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and now the head of the Vatican's highest court, told Catholic News Agency that he could envision a time when the Catholic Church in the U.S., "even by announcing her own teaching," is accused of "engaging in illegal activity, for instance, in its teaching on human sexuality."

Asked if the cardinal could even see American Catholics being arrested for their faith he replied, "I can see it happening, yes."

In his remarks to several U.S. Bishops meeting with him Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI made similarly emphatic warnings about the U.S. The pope told the bishops that "the seriousness of the challenges which the Church in America, under your leadership, is called to confront in the near future cannot be underestimated."

He added: "The obstacles to Christian faith and practice raised by a secularized culture also affect the lives of believers."

In the interview published today, Cardinal Burke declared that "it is a war" and "critical at this time that Christians stand up for the natural moral law." Should they not, he warned, "secularization will in fact predominate and it will destroy us."

Pope Benedict too urged the bishops of the United States to speak out in defense of morality. "The present moment can thus be seen, in positive terms, as a summons to exercise the prophetic dimension of your episcopal ministry by speaking out, humbly yet insistently, in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free," he said.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue told LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Burke's remarks were accurate and not exaggerations. "Secularism has become militant," he said. "Many elites are taking an aggressive secular approach. They have lined up against the Catholic Church and other Christian churches particularly for their stand on moral values."

Donohue pointed to New York where gay 'marriage' was passed without debate or exemptions for clerks who objected to having to grant such licenses. He also noted the closing of Catholic adoption and foster care agencies since they were unable to comply with laws forcing homosexual adoptions.

"The real big one," he added, "is the HHS of the Obama Administration." The forcing of abortifacient and contraceptive coverage in private health care plans under penalty of fines was described by the Catholic League President as the Obama Administration "on a full court press to shove its values down the throats of the Catholic Church."

By John-Henry Westen

Immaculate Conception Novena Begins Tonight at the Oratory

Mass at 6:30 pm at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, sermon by Fr. Bede Price, OSB, Rector of the Oratory of SS. Gregory and Augustine.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee!

29 November 2011

Rogue Parish Goes Rogue Again

If the mountain won't come to Mohamed, then Mohamed must go to the mountain.

This year, as in more recent years, but unlike in 2007, St. Cronan's will be heading out to hear Rabbi Talve at her own place. From the St. Cronan's website: 

Dec 12 (7:00 pm): Come celebrate God's gifts of peace and light at Central Reform Congregation CRC is located at the corner of Kingshighway and Waterman. (5020 Waterman Blvd. 63108) We will gather at CRC for prayer at 7:00 p.m. Rabbi Susan Talve will help us listen more deeply to the Prophet Isaiah's message to us. 

Please bring cookies or nuts to share. 

I pass over the final sentence of the announcement in silence.

Yet someone else will have to explain just how it is that promoting this endeavor squares with Cardinal (then-Archbishop) Burke's injunction on interfaith activities with the head of the CRC.

From One Saint to Another?

"The good odor of Christ, lord cardinal, that you have spread in every place, even in your temporary dwelling, and the many works of charity to which you have dedicated yourself constantly in your priestly ministry, especially in this our city of Rome, have won for you, with admiration, universal esteem." 

--Pope St. Pius X to Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, November 11, 1903, upon the latter being made Cardinal

The cause of beatification of Servant of God Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val was opened in 1953, under the Pontificate of Pius XII.

Prayer for the Canonization of Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriam tuam manifestas per humilitatem, et exemplum integritatis religionis, per odium modernismi et per castigationem mortificationemque carnis servi tui Raphaelis Merry del Val, praesta, quaesumus, si conforme voluntati tuae sit, ut eum intercessione eius in terra glorifices per beneficium .... quod ferventer imploramus per Cor Sacratissimum pro gloria tua et gloria Matris Mariae doloris quam piissime diligebat. Amen.
Pater Noster. Ave Maria. Gloria Patri.


Almighty everlasting God, Who manifests Thy glory through the humility, example of integrity of religion through the hatred of the heresy of modernism, and by the castigation and mortification of the flesh of Thy servant Raphael Merry Del Val, grant, we beseech Thee, if it be in conformity with Thy Will, that Thou may glorify him on earth through his intercession by the favor of ... which we fervently implore through Thy Sacred Heart for Thy glory and the glory of Mary the Sorrowful Mother, whom he devoutly loved. Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be.

The Martyrs of Paracuellos de Jarama

Rorate Caeli has posted another piece in its excellent series on the Passion of Spain, this time on the massacre of Catholics near Madrid in 1936 by the Communists.

28 November 2011

Upset with the New Translation?

Just wish things were like they always were?

I understand and can help:

St. Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63118

Sunday Masses 8am and 10am

Aaaaaand, speaking of.....

This week marks the beginning of the annual Novena to the Immaculate Conception.  There will be a Mass every day from November 30- December 8, with a sermon preached by a different priest or prelate every day on a Marian theme.  The complete schedule:

Wednesday, November 30: 6:30pm: "Mary - Queen of the Apostles"
Father Bede Price, OSB, Rector of the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine.

Thursday, December 1: 6:30pm: "Mary, Mother of Divine Hope"
Father Eric Kunz, Associate pastor, Queen of All Saints

Friday, December 2: 6:30pm: "Woman, Behold your Son: Mary the new Eve"
Father Gregory Lockwood, Administrative Director -Vocations Office, Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph

Saturday, December 3: 8:00am: "Mary, One of Heart with Our Lord"
Canon William Avis, Rector, Old St. Patrick's Oratory, Kansas City, Missouri

Sunday, December 4: 10:00am: "Advent, Waiting and the Coming Glory of the Lord"
Father John Horn, S.J., Rector, Kenrick - Glennon Seminary

Monday, December 5: 6:30pm: "Mary, Throne of Eternal Wisdom"
Father Thomas Keller, Pastor, St. Angela Merici

Tuesday, December 6: 6:30pm: "The Purity of Mary"
Bishop Edward Rice, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Saint Louis

Wednesday, December 7: 6:30pm: "The Immaculate Conception in American History"
Father Brian Harrison, O.S.

Thursday, December 8: 6:30pm: "Mary's presence in the Mystery of Christ before the creation of the world"
Monsignor Arthur Calkins 

Also, mark your calendars for the first-ever Gaudete Benefit Gala, to be held on Saturday, December17: 6:30pm Oratory Hall

An evening of excellent food, drink, and music to benefit the Sacred Music program of the Oratory.

Tickets on sale Thursday, November 10th. Get your tickets now. Please contact the Oratory office. 314-771-3100


Have a blessed Advent, everyone!

26 November 2011

Two Cheers for the New New Mass Translations

The new, more accurate English translation of the Ordinary Form of the Mass finally comes online tonight, as the New Roman Missal becomes obligatory for the First Sunday of Advent.  That this translation took nine years to draft and implement after the the current edition of the normative Latin Missal was published may be noteworthy for the triumph of episcopal bureaucracy over common sense, but no matter.  Here it is.

And this is a good thing.  I don't want to say otherwise.  It is important that the majority of Catholics who, for whatever reason-- historical or hysterical-- attend the Ordinary Form, pray the prayers as close to the original language as possible.  For one reason, it only seems right for a Universal Church to have a Universal Liturgy.  Also, one avoids unnecessary questions about validity ("...pro multis...").  And, frankly, the language used is more beautiful, more elevated, and will give an impetus to ditch some of the worst '70s ditties and perhaps install some sacred music in its place.

This rearranging of deck chairs may make the Titanic more pleasant and comfortable as she goes down.  But the reality remains that the iceberg has been hit; the ship is taking on water and listing badly.  The only way out of the disaster is to get off the ship and into the lifeboats.  There are many already in the water-- the societies dedicated to the Extraordinary Form, the Diocesan personal parishes and Sunday Masses, the growing number of priests offering the traditional Mass in their parishes publicly and privately, houses of traditional religious orders.  The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was the distress call, and the Carpathia has yet to arrive.  When the Extraordinary Form is no longer so-called due to the frequency of its celebration-that is, when it is required to be celebrated at least once on Sundays and Holy Days at every parish-- it then will have arrived.  Then all Catholics will have the choice to enter the lifeboat or to go down with the ship.

My hope is that the more accurate, more reverent, more elevated translation will raise the hearts of Catholics and perhaps get them to ask themselves some serious questions.  Why it took 42 years to even get a decent translation-- translation-- of the Ordo of Mass should prompt other questions about the "reforms" in general.  I could go on, but won't.  I will only note that the virulence of the opposition to this more accurate translation of the original by the same crowd who eagerly traded in the Mass of the Ages for this mess of pottage should be taken as a sign that I could be on to something here.

One thing the liturgical progressives lack is any sense of irony.  I was amused by several articles lamenting the "changes" to the Ordinary Form.  As an example, Our Sunday Visitor posted two excerpts, one from the Jesuits and one from a blog:

With a mere six days to go before the Roman Missal, Third Edition is implemented in English-speaking parishes, some commentators are saying goodbye to its predecessor.

Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor of America magazine, offers these words on the In All Things blog as part of his "elegy for the Sacramentary":
Any significant change is like a little death; and so any change brings about the need for some grieving. You sell a house and buy a new one; and you are sad about the loss of the old one--even if your new house is more spacious. You move from one job to another; and you shed a few tears at the loss of old colleagues--even if you’re looking forward to the new position. You graduate from high school to college, and even if it’s your top choice, you cry at your graduation.

It would be odd, therefore, not to acknowledge some sadness over the passing of something so central to our lives as what will soon be called the “old” Sacramentary. Even if you are eagerly anticipating the new translations, something significant is moving into the past, and being lost.

So let me say something: I will miss the old prayers, even as I look forward to the new. I’m 50 years old, which means that by the time I was conscious of the Eucharist, say around 1968, the Mass was being celebrated in English. I dimly remember saying things like, “It is right and just” as a very young boy, which was most likely a holdover from the earliest translations of the Mass after the Second Vatican Council. But, for the most part, my entire Catholic life has been shaped by the familiar prayers of the Sacramentary, the book that we are leaving behind this coming Sunday.

Sister Julie of "A Nun's Life" blog also has a post saying goodbye to what she terms the Roman Missal 2.0:

For now and for this week, however, I will cherish my last Mass with the current Roman Missal. Roman Missal 2.0, you’ve been my constant companion. I have celebrated with you, cried with you, and witnessed some of the most beautiful landmarks of my Catholic life with you. You were there when my siblings married their spouses, my nephews were baptized, and my parents renewed their vows. You were there when my friends became Catholic or were ordained or got married or when we celebrated their Mass of Resurrection. You were there when my IHM sisters celebrated Jubilee and when I professed my vows as an IHM Sister. I am grateful for you, Mass 2.0. Goodbye.

I'm glad for their sakes that they do not have to lament the loss of the entire Rite of Mass-- more than 1,700 years old-- in order to provide a platform in which to feature the music of Cat Stevens.  But no matter.  Things are beginning to get better, however slowly.

Two cheers for the new translation!

22 November 2011

This Year, Why Not Celebrate Tradsgiving?

It's that time of year again, as we approach that unique mix of secular and religious occasions that are amorphously called the Holiday Season.  First we have Thanksgiving, the closest that a secular holiday gets to decent religion.  We are informed that this holiday was first celebrated by the pilgrims (though the Spanish claim it was celebrated earlier in St. Augustine, FL; trot out this little gem at Thanksgiving and you will deservedly be ridiculed for the Cliff Clavin that you are), but it was officially installed as a national holiday on a set date by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, who saw fit to mandate thankfulness for the Northern victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.  FDR, another wallflower reluctant to impose national solutions, later changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November.

Next, we have the annual mass-worship of the god Retail, known by its remarkably descriptive name of Black Friday.  The portents of this holy day are scanned, analyzed and reverently feared, as the blessings or curses of Retail are made known.  It is a most amusing mix of Baal worship, Aztec heart surgery, and Groundhog Day-- only six more shopping weeks until Christmas Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other nondescript Winter celebratory event!

This spectacle is immediately followed by the rush to put out obnoxious Christmas lights, blow up dolls, and other lawn paraphernalia way ahead of the actual day-- thus assuring that by St. Stephen's Day we will be thoroughly sick of it all, and take it all down.  I once read a blog post about this that I, at least, found amusing.

That same weekend marks the first real religious event of significance:  the first Sunday of Advent.  Maintaining an Advent spirit is obviously a difficult thing to do when most people don't believe in Christmas itself, let alone the need for a time of penance and preparation preceding it.  Still worse, nearly everyone, whether he believes or not, goes ahead and starts celebrating it anyway.  Some really love Christmas and just can't wait, and others are burning Christmas decorations and songs to the god Retail.  Either way, you can't escape the forced merriment.

Finally, at the end of the year, the real honest-to-goodness--Feast of Christmas comes.  This feast is obviously one of the most important of the Church calendar.  It has an Octave.  It has an historical season that stretches to the Epiphany on January 6 (unless you attend the novus ordo, in which case it stretches to the least offensive Sunday with decent weather).  It has a liturgical season that extends to the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 2nd.  February 2nd-- the day your wife begins talking to you again after begging you to take down the tree for three weeks.

Well, pardon, gentles all, if I re-label the holiday season this year.  I'm not referring to Festivus, either.  I'm talking about Tradsgiving.  If the world can lump every occasion into one long season, then so can we. Tradsgiving is the celebration of the next two-and-a-half months.  Let's say it begins with Martinmas on November 11 and continues to the Feast of the Purification on February 2.  Tradsgiving is stocked with traditional Catholic feasts and customs.

First of all, this is as good a time a year as any to be thankful for Summorum Pontificum.  Next, we have a real commemoration of Advent, including the Wreath, the Novena to the Immaculate Conception, the great Marian feast itself, and the now discarded Ember Days on December 14, 16, and 17.  These are followed by  the "O Antiphons" in the in the breviary the Octave before Christmas.

Finally, beginning on Christmas Day, there are so many rich Catholic traditions:  Midnight Mass, the veneration of the relic of the Creche, the tree and the carols, all the great Saint days in the Octave and beyond (including the blessing of wine on St. John's Day); the feast of the Circumcision, Twelfth Night, Epiphany (with the blessing of Epiphany water, chalk and the blessing of homes), the Holy Name, the Holy Family, the Feast of St. Francis de Sales and, lastly and gloriously, the feast of the Purification of Mary (Candlemas), with the blessing of Candles and the commemoration of the Purification and the Presentation of Our Lord.

So why not just step right up and call it all what it is?  It used to just be known as the seasons of Advent and Christmas-- back when the Church retained her prerogative to mark the seasons of the year according to her ancient cycle.  But maybe we need a new tag to reclaim this most Catholic of seasons for Catholics who want to mark it.

Happy Tradsgiving, everyone!

21 November 2011

Institute Oblates

With thanks to Mother Crab, check out this cool video about the Oblates of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest:

Presentation of Mary

"All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father.

"Mary received from God a far-reaching dominion over the souls of the elect. Otherwise she could not make her dwelling-place in them as God the Father has ordered her to do, and she could not conceive them, nourish them, and bring them forth to eternal life as their mother. She could not have them for her inheritance and her possession and form them in Jesus and Jesus in them. She could not implant in their heart the roots of her virtues, nor be the inseparable associate of the Holy Spirit in all these works of grace. None of these things, I repeat, could she do unless she had received from the Almighty rights and authority over their souls. For God, having given her power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children - not only in what concerns their body - which would be of little account - but also in what concerns their soul."

--St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary

One Post-Mortem on the Crisis Following the Council, part 2

This fictional correspondence from one bishop to another, bearing a date of 1977, continues: 

We do not have to look very far for the result, my dear Harry.  Concerning the defence of the Faith, over the past ten years have you promoted priests who refuse the term and doubtless the meaning of "Transubstantiation" and talk of "a Personal" instead of "The Real Presence?"  I have.  What have you done about clergy who openly preach contraception?  A little more, I hope, than I-- which is practically nothing.  Has your natural chivalry, if not your conviction, led you to defend the Mother of God against those who "put her in her place?"  It has not me.  Have you remonstrated with those who refuse to administer the Sacrament of Penance except by appointment but insist on Penitential Services?  As a matter of fact I have, but I trust you have done it more firmly.  Have you stamped on priests who refuse to give infant Baptism for a variety of specious reasons including the denial of Original Sin?  I have done little more than wag a reproving finger accompanied by a rueful smile.  Have you even defended the authority of the Papacy and your own against the democratic results of the People of God?  Curiously enough, you probably less than I, which is not saying much.  I call a halt to this catalogue not from lack of ammunition but of patience.  The fact is, and we know it, that in our own dioceses it is not we who have defended the Faith; it has been left to pathetic little groups of layfolk, helped or hindered by a stray priest, to do so.

It is a very different matter when it comes to enforcing the New Outlook.  Have you promoted a priest who has stuck to the Immemorial Mass?  Of course not and, to my everlasting shame, neither have I.  What has been your attitude to priests who mumble that Vatican II failed to face the facts and that post-Conciliar legislation has been disastrous; who refuse to be brainwashed  by attending compulsory study-days; who jeer at Bishops' Collegiality, the National Conference of Priests and the new structures generally; who will not give Communion standing and in the hand; who administer Extreme Unction as of yore; who still say the Breviary, the Rosary and make their meditation; who...?  Have you reserved key positions in your administration for such men of probity and principle?  No more than I have, Harry.  We have looked after the Church all right but not after the Faith.

---from Mitre and Crook, by Bryan Houghton

18 November 2011

Tyler Dasher Funeral Arrangements

Everyone in St. Louis is aware of the unbelievably awful news of the brutal death of 13-month old toddler Tyler Dasher, whose own mother has been charged with his murder.

About the only good news, and it is apparently the best news, about this sad event I just read when I checked out STLToday for his funeral arrangements.  

He will have a funeral Mass at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Affton at 10:30am Monday.  It gives me hope that he is Catholic and was baptized.  I don't wish this post to devolve into a discussion about God's mercy to the unbaptized and all of that.  Regardless, if he was baptized then he is in heaven as sure as you are reading this, and that is joyous news.  May he pray for us all.

17 November 2011

Warning-- Fair Media Alert: CNA Story Covers Bishop Finn's Agreement with Clay County

Somehow a slip-up has occurred and a fair account of some aspect of the Bishop Finn persecution has been published.  The full story from CNA is here.  I wanted to highlight just a few excerpts below, with my comments:

The prosecutor of Clay County, Missouri is “reluctant” to follow the lead of the prosecutor in Jackson County because “he wasn’t going to have a successful prosecution,” St. Louis attorney Michael Quinlan suggested.  OK, this is spin, but reasonable spin.  Why?  Read this one:

“I think a fair minded jury should and would conclude that, there being no abuse victim, there could be no requirement to report,” he told CNA on Nov. 16.  That assumes facts not in evidence-- I wonder if any jury would be fair to a Catholic Bishop in this climate.  That is why the deal is good for both sides.  I agree that a fair-minded jury would acquit, to the extent we are talking about the Platonic form of fair-minded jury.

“I would have thought that this would suggest to the prosecuting authorities in Jackson County that they might step back from the brink, but I don’t know whether it will have that effect or not.”  Um, if there is a dollar or a vote in it, I would guess not.

The agreement between Bishop Finn and county prosecutors prompted criticism from Peter Isely, a national board member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.  I. Am. SHOCKED!  SNAP would likely criticize a plan to publicly execute the Pope, all bishops and priests, and most Catholic bloggers as being too lenient.  Besides, there would be no more reason for them to exist, and they just bought new clothes and all...

However, Quinlan thought such a response was overstated.

“Basically there was a delay of what, a few months? For people like SNAP and some of these people to run around saying that this is a cover-up akin to what went on in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, it’s just not at all fair.

“The diocese is the one who turned the guy in in the end. It’s not like they got caught hiding something, they turned him in. That doesn’t seem to ever get mentioned.”  Wow, that really doesn't get mentioned, does it?

The Finding


Truly there is a God, although the fool has said in his heart, There is no God.

AND so, Lord, do you, who do give understanding to faith, give me, so far as you knowest it to be profitable, to understand that you are as we believe; and that you are that which we believe. And indeed, we believe that you are a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. Or is there no such nature, since the fool has said in his heart, there is no God? (Psalms xiv. 1). But, at any rate, this very fool, when he hears of this being of which I speak --a being than which nothing greater can be conceived --understands what be hears, and what he understands is in his understanding; although he does not understand it to exist.

For, it is one thing for an object to be in the understanding, and another to understand that the object exists. When a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform, he has it in his understanding, but be does not yet understand it to be, because he has not yet performed it. But after he has made the painting, be both has it in his understanding, and he understands that it exists, because he has made it.

Hence, even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding, at least, than which nothing greater can be conceived. For, when he hears of this, he understands it. And whatever is understood, exists in the understanding. And assuredly that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, cannot exist in the understanding alone. For, suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality; which is greater.

Therefore, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, exists in the understanding alone, the very being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, is one, than which a greater can be conceived. But obviously this is impossible. Hence, there is doubt that there exists a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived, and it exists both in the understanding and in reality.


God cannot be conceived not to exist. --God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. --That which can be conceived not to exist is not God.

AND it assuredly exists so truly, that it cannot be conceived not to exist. For, it is possible to conceive of a being which cannot be conceived not to exist; and this is greater than one which can be conceived not to exist. Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. But this is an irreconcilable contradiction. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not to exist;. and this being you are, O Lord, our God.

So truly, therefore, do you exist, O Lord, my God, that you can not be conceived not to exist; and rightly. For, if a mind could conceive of a being better than you, the creature would rise above the Creator; and this is most absurd. And, indeed, whatever else there is, except you alone, can be conceived not to exist. To you alone, therefore, it belongs to exist more truly than all other beings, and hence in a higher degree than all others. For, whatever else exists does not exist so truly, and hence in a less degree it belongs to it to exist. Why, then, has the fool said in his heart, there is no God (Psalms xiv. 1), since it is so evident, to a rational mind, that you do exist in the highest degree of all? Why, except that he is dull and a fool?

--St. Anselm, The Prosolgion, chapers 2 & 3

Thank You

Usury: Two Different Takes on the Current Situation

Good for Crisis Magazine for even taking this on.  There isn't space in either article for a thorough and systematic debate, but for most of us these articles are a good introduction.  An introduction to what?  To how to view the Church's consistent condemnation of usury (the charging of [excessive, in one view; in the traditional view, any at all] interest on loans or on other uses of money.

I think nearly every Catholic who even gives the subject a thought just assumes that due to the modern banking systems in place all over the world, that usury isn't implicated on small amounts of interest.  But from where did that assumption come?

If you are interested, these two articles, written by Catholics, give you a start.  Here is the article from the Austrian Economics perspective.  Here is the article from the Distributist perspective.

16 November 2011

The Seeking

0 wretched lot of man, when he has lost that for which he was made! 0 hard and terrible fate! Alas, what has he lost, and what has he found? What has departed, and what remains? He has lost the blessedness for which he was made, and has found the misery for which he was not made. That has departed without which nothing is happy, and that remains which, in itself, is only miserable. Man once did eat the bread of angels, for which he hungers now; he eateth now the bread of sorrows, of which he knew not then. Alas! for the mourning of all mankind, for the universal lamentation of the sons of Hades! He choked with satiety, we sigh with hunger. He abounded, we beg. He possessed in happiness, and miserably forsook his possession; we suffer want in unhappiness, and feel a miserable longing, and alas! we remain empty.

Why did he not keep for us, when he could so easily, that whose lack we should feel so heavily? Why did he shut us away from the light, and cover us over with darkness? With what purpose did he rob us of life, and inflict death upon us? Wretches that we are, whence have we been driven out; whither are we driven on? Whence hurled? Whither consigned to ruin? From a native country into exile, from the vision of God into our present blindness, from the joy of immortality into the bitterness and horror of death. Miserable exchange of how great a good, for how great an evil! Heavy loss, heavy grief heavy all our fate!

But alas! wretched that I am, one of the sons of Eve, far removed from God! What have I undertaken? What have I accomplished? Whither was I striving? How far have I come? To what did I aspire? Amid what thoughts am I sighing? I sought blessings, and lo! confusion. I strove toward God, and I stumbled on myself. I sought calm in privacy, and I found tribulation and grief, in my inmost thoughts. I wished to smile in the joy of my mind, and I am compelled to frown by the sorrow of my heart. Gladness was hoped for, and lo! a source of frequent sighs!

And you too, O Lord, how long? How long, O Lord, do you forget us; how long do you turn your face from us? When will you look upon us, and hear us? When will you enlighten our eyes, and show us your face? When will you restore yourself to us? Look upon us, Lord; hear us, enlighten us, reveal yourself to us. Restore yourself to us, that it may be well with us, --yourself, without whom it is so ill with us. Pity our toilings and strivings toward you since we can do nothing without you. You do invite us; do you help us. I beseech you, O Lord, that I may not lose hope in sighs, but may breathe anew in hope. Lord, my heart is made bitter by its desolation; sweeten you it, I beseech you, with your consolation. Lord, in hunger I began to seek you; I beseech you that I may not cease to hunger for you. In hunger I have come to you; let me not go unfed. I have come in poverty to the Rich, in misery to the Compassionate; let me not return empty and despised. And if, before I eat, I sigh, grant, even after sighs, that which I may eat. Lord, I am bowed down and can only look downward; raise me up that I may look upward. My iniquities have gone over my head; they overwhelm me; and, like a heavy load, they weigh me down. Free me from them; unburden me, that the pit of iniquities may not close over me.

Be it mine to look up to your light, even from afar, even from the depths. Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me, when I seek you, for I cannot seek you, except you teach me, nor find you, except you reveal yourself. Let me seek you in longing, let me long for you in seeking; let me find you in love, and love you in finding. Lord, I acknowledge and I thank you that you has created me in this your image, in order that I may be mindful of you, may conceive of you, and love you; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and obscured by the smoke of wrong-doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except you renew it, and create it anew. I do not endeavor, O Lord, to penetrate your sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, --that unless I believed, I should not understand.

--from the Proslogion, by St. Anselm

St. Gertrude the Great

Ora pro nobis.

15 November 2011

Did You Know...

...it's nearly impossible to say 'goodbye' to Hello Kitty?

Awesome. What Next?

It is heartening to see so many Catholic high schools take action to increase awareness of diversity in our Catholic schools.  No doubt such an effort could be duplicated to increase awareness of the Catholic faith in our Catholic schools, too.

When that happens, look for an announcement in this space.

One of the students in the article was quoted as saying, "I'm looking forward to finding out who I am, as well as experiencing the journey to discovering it."

Hopefully, such a Catholic awareness night will let her know that she is Catholic.  Maybe a representative from the Catholic Church could be found to speak at this event.  Stay tuned.

14 November 2011

One Post-Mortem on the Crisis Following the Council, part 1

This fictional correspondence from one bishop to another bears a date of 1977: 

...You know, during the course of conversation I think we touched on one of the basic problems in the Church today.  I was holding forth on the fact that the Church is guardian of the Faith and the present crisis arose because what she enjoins and permits in practice is not readily recognizable as an expression of the faith she guarantees.  Hence we could arrive at the absurd situation in which practicers had lost the Faith whereas the faithful refused to practice.  It was your answer to this which seems to me so important.  You said: "There is only one object of Faith: the Church.  I am baptized into the Church and it is she who gives me Faith.  On her authority I believe all other doctrines.  She can deal with them as she likes, since she is the only constant.  Christ revealed no doctrines but a praxis: His Kingdom the Church."  We left it at that.

Few people, I think, could formulate the argument as honestly and clearly as you.  Nevertheless, I believe it expresses the basic attitude of countless Catholics today, not of the "modernists" but of those who simply obey.  It is a very ecclesiastical argument, akin to the patriotism in "My country right or wrong."  But is it true?

I suspect that it rests on two articles in the old catechism: 

1.  Faith is a supernatural gift of God enabling me to believe without doubting whatever God has revealed.

2.  I am to know what God has revealed by the teaching, testimony and authority of the Catholic Church. 

If one puts those two articles together, one gets the impression that Faith as a supernatural gift merely empowers a person to believe what the Church teaches and the objects of Faith are provided by the Church.  It is therefore the Church which justifies the Faith and not the Faith which justifies the Church.  Hence the Church must be obeyed in all things, even if she is quite clearly hiding her light under a bushel.  It automatically becomes right and proper that the light should be so shaded because legitimate authority in the Church has said so.  I do not think that is an unfair or distorted presentation of the case, is it?

But surely it is evident that such an argument is tautological or a vicious circle?  I am to know what God has revealed by the authority of the Church.  And how am I to know that the Church has such authority?  Because the Church says that God has revealed it.  It is patently nonsense.

You will notice that you yourself admit it to be nonsense.  You said: "Christ revealed no doctrines but a praxis: His Kingdom, His Church."  You thereby concede that there is at any rate one object of Faith logically prior to the Church: the authority of Christ.  And once you admit that, all the rest follows.  Is His authority divine?  Is He God incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity, born of the Virgin Mary, etc.?  Indeed, one of the things which follows from your prior faith in the divine authority of Christ is the authority of the Church.  It does not work the other way round: you do not believe that Christ receives His authority from the Church.  The Church is the guardian of God's revelation but not its source.  She herself is one of the objects of Faith: I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Therein, it seems to me, lies the crux of the present crisis.  I mean the crisis between honest Catholics, such as I believe both of us to be.  I am not referring to heretics who have lost the Faith although the Church no longer excludes them.  I mean you and me.  Faced with the same crisis, we react in diametrically opposite ways.  Your immediate reaction, along with the overwhelming majority of churchmen, is to save the Church and the Faith will look after itself.  Mine, along with a heavy percentage of the laity, is to save the Faith and let the Church look after herself.  We cannot both be right.  Indeed, each day the gulf between us is growing wider.  If we pursue our ways indefinitely we shall come to the point when the faithful are legal schismatics and the obedient factual heretics.

At this point I can hear you say: "Don't talk rot, Edmund.  It is your metaphor which deceives you.  We are not going in opposite directions: we are merely looking at the opposite facets of the same coin.  Even if I grant you the logical priority of Faith over the Church, in practice he who defends the Faith defends the Church."

In normal times this would by and large be so.  I say "by and large" because history provides plenty of examples of excessive use of ecclesiastical authority.  Quite apart from mediaeval excommunications, in our own day some of your friends might feel that Pius XII went a bit far when he demanded internal assent to the Five Ways of proving the existence of God.  But at this moment of time it is patently untrue to say that in defending the Church one is automatically defending the Faith and this for two reasons: a) the Faith is ambiguously formulated; b) heretics are no longer excluded from the Church.  The fact is that the Faith is exclusive whereas the Church has become inclusive.  She has changed Our Lord's lapidary sentence, "He who is not with me is against me," into the coward's whine, "He is my friend who bullies me."

-- from Mitre and Crook, by Bryan Houghton

11 November 2011

Remembering the Murder-Suicide of Christendom

The above photo is of Pope St. Pius X consecrating his successor as bishop, whose later papal name became Pope Benedict XV.  These two popes of peace were ignored by the powers of the day, and thus Christendom died.  Already struck, perhaps mortally, in 1517 and 1789, Christendom--by any definition-- ended 93 years ago today.

When Bureaucracy Trumps the Natural Moral Law

Following the brave example of the English Bishops (save one) under Henry VIII, who kept their jobs by caving in to state perversion of the laws of marriage, the so-called "Catholic" Social Services of Southern Illinois has parted ways with the Belleville Diocese in order to continue operation without objecting to the Illinois same-sex adoption laws.

They have decided to drop the word "Catholic" from their name; they have replaced it with the equally inaccurate term "Christian".  Hmmm.

Perhaps a better term would be "Opportunistic", or maybe "Conveniently Immoral".

09 November 2011

NCR Celebrates Eucharistic Sacrilege on behalf of Sister Louise Lears (Of Course)

The "National" "Catholic" "Reporter" ran a blog post today called Recognizing the church that we already are-- a wonderfully fatuous title, perfectly in line with the inanity of the contents.  It seems to me that the '60s zeitgeist is just as compelling today as it was then-- which is to say, not at all.

Anyway, the post concerns an address made to the national (anti-) Catholic dissident group Call to Action by one of the proletarian (s)heroes who writes for the aforementioned rag.  I will spare you the bulk of the speech, which I think had something to do with a pansexual workers' paradise.

However, there is something worth noting here.  NCR is still carrying the flame-- and continuing the whine-- on behalf of the heresy-supporting Sister Louise Lears, who was placed under interdict by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, who was then Archbishop of Saint Louis.  Sister Lears was found to have committed the canonical crimes of pertinacious rejection of doctrine de Fide tenenda under can. 750, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law, of causing scandal, of encouraging contumely against and disobedience to the Ordinary under can. 1373, and of communio in sacris in that she participated in the simulation of a sacrament under can. 1365.  Until she recanted her heresy and reconciled with the Church, she was barred from, among other things, receiving the sacraments.  For the benefit of NCR readers, I will point out that Holy Communion is one of the sacraments.

It comes as no surprise that NCR should think Louise Lears is a veritable hero, like Martin Luther or Satan or any number of great rebels against God's authority.  It is no surprise that NCR would consider the decree of interdict to be of no consequence.  Yet although we have heard the story in bits and pieces before, this is the first time we have heard in such detail the story of the day that St. Cronan's parish aided and abetted Lears' defiance of the interdict.

From the full NCR post, with a few comments of my own mixed in:
... It is a true story that happened in a place as ordinary as St. Louis and as recently as 2008. The year that stretched from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009 was especially bizarre for the Catholic Church in the United States (and, I know there is a lot of competition for that title).


Interestingly, it was also during this time that Sister Louise Lears was forced out of all church ministerial roles by Saint Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke. The archbishop also placed Lears under a severe interdict (As opposed to a downy-soft one?), banishing her receiving any of the Sacraments within in the archdiocese. Her crime? You guessed it. She supported women’s ordination. (Of course, there was more, as noted above.)

It was also during this period that Pope Benedict XVI decided to lift the excommunications of four schismatic bishops who reject the reforms (Name one.  Just one.  Please.) of the Second Vatican Council.  (For NCR, heresy beats schism every time!  And btw, since when do they really care about either?)

...Every now and then, you run into a story so powerful, it shakes you up and then re-shapes your entire theology (For some, this is the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.  For NCR?). This story did just that for me.

On the first Sunday (NB:  the very first Sunday) after she was placed under interdict, Louise Lears decided to attend Mass. The experience with Burke left her wounded and isolated. Naturally, she wanted to be with her beloved parish community. She did not plan to receive communion because she did not wish to jeopardize the parish any further. (Maybe she should have been as solicitous on behalf of her immortal soul.)  But this was her community and she wanted at least to be physically present with this body of Christ.

Her 85-year old mother was at her side at Mass. When her mother went forward for communion, she told Louise to follow her. Louise did not ask to receive communion, but simply walked by her mother’s side. Louise’s mother took Communion, she broke it, turned around and gave it to her daughter. After witnessing this, Sr. Louise’s sister went and did the same. Seeing what was going on, many other parishioners, one by one, also broke their bread and gave it to Louise.  (Can we not presume that the celebrating priest was aware of this?  It should not be hard to find out who this was, whether it was the Pastor, Fr. Kleba, or someone else.  Even if one of the score of "extraordinary" ministers of Holy Communion gave the Host, it would have had to have been physically near the priest.)

By the end of communion, Louise’s hands were filled with fragments of the Eucharist. (Please take a moment to offer an act of reparation to the Blessed Sacrament.)  After the Mass was over, as the family was standing in the back, Louise’s mother said to her daughter, “I was the first person to feed you, and I will feed you now.”

Our stories define us as a community. They recall paradigmatic people. They are vehicles for the sacred. (OK, I admit it.  I kept in this paragraph because it just made me laugh so hard...)

In that moment, Louise Lears’ 85 year-old mother revealed more about the love of God, more about living the Gospel of love, more about what makes a true church, than the entire hierarchy seems to have been able to reveal in quite some time. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

And she figured out that secret that the hierarchy doesn’t want any of us to know: lay people have extraordinary sacramental power. (Um, Miss, I think we need a citation to a council document here...)

...With their interdicts, and denials of communion and excommunications, the hierarchy seems to believe that they can magically separate the children of God from the table of God. That they can separate whomever they wish from the love of God. That God Godself (yes, that is how it is written) is subject to their rules. (Fight the power, man!)

Though the institutional church may attempt deprive us blah blah blah... it goes on from there.

This is very serious.  This should be thoroughly investigated by the Archdiocese.  I assume that Archbishop Carlson was not aware of this outrage when he made a pastoral visit to St. Cronan's parish last year.  Perhaps as a matter of local gossip it did not merit a special effort.  But now, a national publication purporting to be Catholic and marketed to purported Catholics has made this a national issue.  The lawful decree of the Ordinary of this Archdiocese was flouted nearly as soon as it was issued.  Eucharistic sacrilege was committed and countenanced by the parish.

Will this act of grave disobedience and sacrilege be allowed to scandalously stand?

Please Consider

Because as humans we are physical beings as well as spiritual ones, it is sometimes necessary to address the less glamorous necessities of life.

Anyone who has assisted at Mass knows the glories of the liturgy at St. Francis de Sales.  And anyone who enjoyed coffee and donuts afterwards knows the purgatory of the bathrooms in the hall.

Well, the bathrooms are now both fixed, renovated, and pleasant and sanitary to use.  And though the work was done at no labor cost, the materials cost was substantial.  The plumbing needed extensive and expensive repairs.

Therefore, though I don't ask for money on this site, I will bend the rule for a very good cause and encourage you to read this article from the Tradition for Tomorrow site.  And I would encourage you to consider helping to defray those needed costs, especially if you frequent the parish hall.  There is a donate tab at that site, or I am sure the rectory could help you at 314-771-3100.  Thanks.

It Returns


Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Saviour

From Dom Gueranger's Liturgical Year: 

In the fourth century of our era, the cessation of persecution seemed to give the world a foretaste of its future entrance into eternal peace.  'Glory to the Almighty!  Glory to the Redeemer of our souls!' wrote Eusebius at the opening of the tenth and last book of his history.  Himself a witness of the triumph, he describes the admirable spectacle everywhere displayed by the dedication of the new sanctuaries.  In city after city the bishops assembled, and crowds flocked together.  From nation to nation the goodwill of mutual charity, of common faith, and of recollected joy, so harmonized all hearts that the unity of Christ's Body was clearly manifested in these multitudes animated by the same inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  It was the fulfilment of the ancient prophecies: the living city of the living God, where all, whatever their age or sex, praise together the Author of all good things.  How solemn were then the rites of the Church!  The complete perfection therein displayed by the pontiffs, the enthusiasm of the psalmody, the inspired readings, the celebration of the ineffable mysteries, formed a divine pageantry.*

Constantine had placed the imperial treasure at the disposal of the bishops; and he himself stimulated their zeal for what he called in his edicts the work of the churches.#  Rome, the place of his victory by the cross, the capital of the now Christian world, was the first to benefit by the prince's munificence.  In a series of dedications, to the glory of the holy apostles and martyrs, Sylvester, the pontiff of peace, took possession of the eternal city in the name of the true God.

To-day is the birthday of the mother and mistress of churches, called 'of our Saviour, Aula Dei (God's palace), the golden basilica'; it is a new Sinai, whence the apostolic oracles and so many Councils have made known to the world the law of salvation.  No wonder this feast is celebrated by the whole world. 

As we live in a time so very different from the golden age wherein it was dedicated, may we thank God for His providence both for the establishment and the preservation of St. John Lateran, and the apostolic succession it in some measure represents.

*Eusebius, Hist. eccl. x, 1-4.  # Ibid. De vita Constantini, ii, 45-46.

08 November 2011

Thanks a Million!

Writing a blog can be a lot of things:  fun, educational, trying, frustrating, a temptation to sin, a lesson in humility, useful, interesting, and lots of other things.

Mostly, I am grateful for a platform to try to spread the Catholic faith, to support the Pope and any faithful bishops, priests and laity that could use it,  and to evangelize based on the Tradition and traditions of the Church, especially in her liturgy.

Today, this blog surpassed the one million mark for unique visitors; there are also more than 1.4 million page views.  After a slow start, it averages approximately a quarter of a million hits a year.  There are bigger blogs and more interesting bloggers, but I am very grateful to every reader who visits here.  And thank you to the person who encouraged me to start it; you know who you are. Thank you.

From the time I began this blog in 2007 I have been truly amazed that anyone unrelated to me would read it at all, let alone read it often.  Many readers have said such kind things in comboxes, emails and conversations to keep me going; I don't think you will realize how much I have appreciated them.  Lots of other readers have said critical things, and sometimes that is helpful as well.  Providentially, the positive comments have always outweighed the negative.  But whether you cared enough about what I wrote to encourage or complain, I am glad you were motivated by this blog.

I thank God for any good this blog has accomplished, and ask Him for forgiveness for any harm it has done.

Today is the feast day of the Four Holy Crowned Martyrs.  After doing some minimal research, I have decided to make them co-patrons of this blog, after Our Blessed Mother, St. Francis de Sales, St. Benedict and St. Thomas Aquinas.


Well, for one thing, they are anonymous saints.  We really don't know their real names, though they have the Fourth Century version of "screen names":  Secundus, Severianus, Carpoforus, and Victorius.  These names are given in tradition, but are probably not their real names.  They were Christian soldiers who refused to sacrifice to a false god, earning the emperor's enmity.  Their feast day is shared by more well-known martyrs whose names we know (see the link), also martyred in the Fourth Century.  Finally, their feast was removed from the modern liturgical calendar, and considering everything this blog stands for, I am glad to have patrons whose feast, and thus whose memory and intercession, were scorned by the denuded calendar.

May the Four Holy Crowned Martyrs intercede for all who read, and all who write, this blog.  May God bless you and your families.

07 November 2011

The Little Things, Indeed

Jill, a reader of this site, has a blog of her own.  She posted something yesterday that I really enjoyed, so much so that I wanted to post it in its entirety here.  The beauty of Catholicism, and of the Mass particularly, can be described, argued, proposed, appreciated and discussed from so many angles.  But sometimes the little things really hook you: 

The Little Things

Most readers will know that for several years now my husband and I and our boys have assisted almost exclusively at the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass. We have learned a great deal about our faith over the years and we continue to grow in our love for this Mass handed down to us through the centuries by Holy Mother Church. But it is so much more than 'just' the Mass. It is so much more than the Latin. It is so many things, in fact, that I'm sure a blog post won't adequately cover them all.

Therefore, I'm not going to get into detail about the prayers of the traditional Mass, or following the 'old' Liturgical Calendar, or the reverence and beauty inherent in all of the traditional Sacraments with the priestly vestments, the incense, the bells and sacred music that go along with them. Instead I will mention just one of the 'little' things that happened today.  

At St. Francis de Sales Oratory, after Mass there was a very nice display of items for sale, crucifixes, nativity scenes and other statuary made by Christians in the Holy Land. My husband and I decided to purchase a crucifix and after doing so, hastened to find one of the canons to bless it before we left.  

We found Canon Wiener and he was very pleased to do this for us, but he would have to do it in the Sacristy, and could he keep the crucifix and return it to us on Wednesday at homeschool co-op? We said of course, that would be fine. 

After talking with Canon Wiener my husband and I looked at each other, both thinking the same thing: that's never happened before! Any time in the past that we've asked a priest to bless a sacramental, he has done so on the spot, regardless of where we were. But not this time. We learned today that there is a right and proper place to bless Sacramentals, and I would bet a proper vestment as well.  

This is just another of so many little things that enrich our faith. Nothing is trivial, nothing is just by-the-way. Not that blessing Sacramentals in a crowded vestibule after church as we've experienced before makes it necessarily trivial. But certainly the extra care of time and place taken to fulfill our desire for a blessed crucifix today, for us at least, carries with it a level of importance, of reverence, that will translate into our own care for how and where we place the blessed crucifix in our home and further venerate it.  

This is what I mean by the little things. Our faith is so much bigger than we are, so much richer than we even know. And we are just overwhelmed with thanksgiving to Our Lord for His leading us to the Traditional Latin Mass community where the small things matter enough that a bigger deal is made of them than anywhere else that we've been.  

Truly we are blessed. But at the same time we grieve for that which has been lost over the past nearly 50 years since Vatican II, and for all the Catholics who have no idea what they're missing out on. These 'little' things should never have been lost. It is our Faith, that which has been handed down over the centuries. And Lord-willing and with the help of the Holy Angels and Saints, we will continue to learn and grow in this faith, through the big and little things.

God bless you!

Weekend Roundup

After a great weekend, I thought I would catch up on some miscellany today.  

First, my lovely wife Sharon and I attended the Munich Symphony's performance of Mozart's Requiem on Friday at the Cathedral.  The concert was very well attended, and the music was very fine.  Phillipe Entremont conducted, and also played piano for Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 12.  I thought that with the echo-y acoustics at the Cathedral, the tempo during the Requiem was a little fast, and the big choral sections got a little jumbled.  But that is a mere quibble.  The soloists were all fantastic.  

Dr. Horst Buchholz, the Director of Sacred Music for the Cathedral, introduced the Requiem, and I have to give him credit.  He emphasized that the Requiem is not just a piece of music, but is a Mass, and moreover the Mass for the dead.  He invited the audience to read the words of the prayers of the Mass as the piece was played, and also reminded them to pray for the dead in November, the month of the holy souls.  His words added the necessary solemnity for a concert in a sacred space.

This was a good move, as sitting behind us was a gentleman who, prior to the concert, was speaking to his date about the Requiem, the words of which were printed in the program.  He wondered what language it was.  First he thought Italian, but maybe Latin, though it "didn't look like Latin".  Finally, he concluded that it was either Italian or German.

I don't repeat this story to criticize him for not knowing Latin, but to highlight the fact that the Church really didn't hand down her liturgical patrimony very well after the Council of 1962-65.  You see, this Mass setting, composed in the Eighteenth Century, obviously would have been in Latin.  Sacrosanctum Concilium did direct that Latin be retained, did it not?  At the very least, one might have been aware that Masses were allowed to be, and used to be, in Latin, yes?  If Latin had been retained, then even a non-Catholic would have been aware that Catholics' liturgies were in Latin.  Well, it is what it is.  Perhaps the most astounding part is that someone could confuse Italian with German.

The best part of the evening is that I got to spend time with my children's homeschool teacher, whom I discovered is also my wife.  Dinner and a concert while the children were in the good hands of my eldest daughter-- very nice.

On Saturday, I finally got to confession, and so was able to try to obtain a plenary indulgence for some recently deceased family by visiting a cemetery before November 8 is past. 

Sunday brought the high point of every weekend-- High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.  Canon Avis had a great sermon; I always know it's good when I think that I am in big trouble for how I am most of the time.

Finally, I got to see the Rams find a new and creative way to lose a game.

And this morning, in keeping with thoughts of the holy souls, I was privileged to serve a daily Mass for the Dead in the Extraordinary Form.  Pretty good weekend, all told.

Hope yours was great, too!

Cardinal Burke Celebrates Pontifical High Mass in Amsterdam

Photos at NLM, video at Rorate Caeli.  The above photo shows His Eminence in procession, with Canon Guitard of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest serving as Master of Ceremonies.

Cardinal Burke to Visit St. Francis de Sales Oratory January 31, 2012

His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis, will visit St. Francis de Sales Oratory this coming January 31st.  He will pray the Te Deum and lead Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.  Mark your calendars now, and I will update as I have more information.

04 November 2011

Two of the Last Hopes to Preserve Civilization: Homeschooling and the Internet

The full article from which I publish excerpts below comes from LewRockwell.com.  Fred Reed writes, in his typical style muy-irreverente, about the twilight of Western civilization.  He ignores the essential guardian of civilization, the Catholic Church, but he gets many of the symptoms and mediate causes right.


A Culture in Regression

by Fred Reed

The night closes in. Read the surveys of what children know, what students in universities know. Approximately nothing. We have become wanton morons. As the intellectual shadows fall again, as literacy declines and minds grow dim in the new twilight, who will copy the parchments this time?

No longer are we a schooled people. Brash new peasants grin and peck at their iPods. Unknowing, incurious, they gaze at their screens and twiddle, twiddle. They will not preserve the works of five millennia. They cannot. They do not even know why.

Twilight really does come. Sales of books fall. Attention spans shorten. Music gives way to angry urban grunting. The young count on their fingers when they do not have a calculator, know less by the year. We have already seen the first American generations less educated than their parents. College graduates do not know when World War One happened, or what the Raj was. They have read nothing except the nothing that they read, and little of that. Democracy was an interesting thought.

Ours will be a stranger Dark Age than the old one. Our peasants brush their teeth and wash, imagine themselves of the middle class, but their heads are empty.

And they rule. We have achieved the dictatorship of the proletariat. Hod-carriers in designer jeans, they do not quite burn books but simply ignore them. Their college degrees amount to high-school diplomas, if that, but they neither know nor care.


Yet ours is a curious bleakness. Good things of everywhere and all time lie free for the having. [...] This is news to no one. Yet it may prove important in ways we do not think.


It is literally true that the better is suspect. If you correct a high-school teacher's grammar, she will accuse you of stultifying creativity, of racism, of insensitivity. If you reply that had you wanted your children brought up as baboons, you would have bought baboons in the first place, she will be offended.

Home-schooling, it seems to me, becomes a towering social responsibility. I have actually seen a teacher saying that parents should not let children learn to read before they reach school. You see, it would put them out of synch with the mammalian larvae that children are now made to be. Bright children not only face enstupiation and hideous boredom in schools taught by complacent imbeciles. No. They are also encouraged to believe that stupidity is a moral imperative.

Once they begin reading a few years ahead of their grade, which commonly is at once, school becomes an obstacle to advancement. This is especially true for the very bright. [...]


In an age of blinkered specialization perhaps we should revive the idea of the Renaissance man. Today the phrase is quaint and almost condescending (though how do you condescend up?), arousing the mild admiration one has for a dancing dog. A time was when the cultivated could play an instrument, paint, knew something of mathematics and much of languages, traveled, could locate France, attended the opera and knew what they were attending. They wrote clearly and elegantly, this being a mark of civilization. I think of Benvenuto Cellini, born 1500, superb sculptor, professional musician, linguist, elegant writer, and good with a sword.

If there is any refuge, it is the Internet. Let us make the most of it.