31 December 2013

Even the Mildest Exception to Religious Indifference is Too Intolerant for the World

Inter-religious dialogue is one of the buzz phrases of our times. What does it mean? Well, of course, nothing, really. Which is to say it sounds pleasant enough and serves whatever purpose the speaker intends, without disturbing what the hearer hears.

Where was I? Oh yes. It seems that some folks in India, Hindus, I presume, have taken umbrage with a religious education program at St. Anselm Parish in St. Louis.

Why they would care about a Catholic program for Catholics in a provincial town a world away from India is a question I leave for you to decide.

Here is the story from the evocatively-named publication India Blooms:

World Religion: St. Louis Archdiocese Criticised

“A free series of presentations for students to seniors” by Benedictine Father Michael G. Brunner from January four to March one on Saturdays at Saint Anselm Parish Centre in Creve Coeur (Missouri) include Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam. The flyer, created to announce these World Religions series contains the tagline “Learn what they know, so you know what they need to know.”

Distinguished religious statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Tuesday, said that this “need to know” tagline was highly inappropriate reference to great world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that we all should be more sensitive and respectful while talking about other religions. “Need to know” kind of statement even seemed to be contrary to the highly inclusive approach of His Holiness Pope Francis and the mission of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (established in 1826), which included “fostering unity in diversity”.

Zed urged Archbishop of Saint Louis Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington DC to clarify their stand on the issue.

Zed noted that various religions were basically different human responses to divine Ultimate Reality. Dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment.

I can imagine that His Grace has better things to do than to smooth the ruffled feathers of international Hinduism. But that is why he gets paid the big bucks. ;-)

The point of my posting this story is to highlight, as I've noted, the fact that such a program for Catholic youth-- merely teaching about the tenets of other faiths with an eye toward young Catholics being able to understand and defend their own-- is repugnant to what non-Catholics mean by "inter-religious dialogue", whatever the nominally Catholic architects of the post-Conciliar movement want it to mean.

It is also a nice surprise to see such a series of lectures actually state that the purpose is to know "what [the other religions' adherents] need to know". This stands in contrast to the rank religious indifferentism encouraged by so many Catholic high school world religions courses.

Finally, it is yet another example of taking the extemporaneous words of our Holy Father in a way that are not compatible with immemorial Catholic teaching. We must assume he did not mean them in this way, but the enemies of the Church take them so on a routine basis.

Let us continue to pray for the conversion of all who embrace erroneous religions, whether they be attached to Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, or whatever other sects covered by these presentations.

Kudos to Fr. Bruner and St. Anselm for their initiative. The flyer is here for more information.

30 December 2013

97th Anniversary of One of the Last Celebrations of Christendom

You will hear more about World War I beginning soon, as 2014 marks the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the war that finally killed off the remnants of Christendom.  Whether one marks the Protestant revolution, the French Revolution, or some other event as the beginning of the end, the final destruction of the Holy Roman/Austrian-Hungarian Empire was the death certificate moment.

As it happens, today marks the 97th Anniversary of the last coronation of the Hungarian Kingship-- in this case, Emperor Blessed Karl of Austria and Empress Zita were crowned King and Queen of Hungary in Budapest on December 30, 1916.  According to long tradition, the Emperor himself could not issue binding law in Hungary until he was crowned there according to the Hungarian custom.  

The photo above is from that joyous day.  Below is a summary of the ceremony, thanks to Wikipedia (so don't write your research papers based on it).  Please note how beautiful the idea and practice of a Catholic Monarchy are indicated by the ceremony itself.  

Like everything else Catholic, the concept is reviled today.  How fitting that the last Holy Roman Emperor should have been a saintly man, raised to the altars.  Blessed Karl of Austria, pray for us scattered orphans of Christendom!


The Hungarian coronation ritual closely follows the Roman ritual for the consecration and coronation of kings found in the Roman Pontifical....

The Archbishop asked the king three questions—if the king agreed to protect the holy faith, if he agreed to protect the holy Church and if he agreed to protect the kingdom—to each of which the king responded, "I will." The king then took the oath, "I, N., grant and promise in the sight of God and of the angels," etc. The Archbishop then said the prayer:
Almighty and everlasting God, Creator of all things, Commander of angels, King of kings and Lord of lords, who caused your faithful servant Abraham to triumph over his enemies, gave many victories to Moses and Joshua, the leaders of your people, exalted your humble servant David to the eminence of kingship, enriched Solomon with the ineffable gifts of wisdom and peace. Hear our humble prayers and multiply your blessings upon your servant, whom in prayerful devotion we consecrate our king; that he, being strengthened with the faith of Abraham, endowed with the meekness of Moses, armed with the courage of Joshua, exalted with the humility of David and distinguished with the wisdom of Solomon, may please you in all things and always walk without offense in the way of justice. May he nourish and teach, defend and instruct your Church and people and as a powerful king administer a vigorous regimen against all visible and invisible powers and, with your aid, restore their souls to the concord of true faith and peace; that, supported by the ready obedience and glorified by the due love of these, his people, he may by your mercy ascend to the position of his forefathers and, defended by the helmet of your protection, covered with your invincible shield and completely clothed with heavenly armour, he may in total victoriously triumph and by his [power] intimidate the unfaithful and bring peace to those who fight for you, through our Lord, who by the vigor of his Cross has destroyed Hell, overcame the Devil, ascended into heaven, in whom subsists all power, kingship and victory, who is the glory of the humble and the life and salvation of his people, he who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
The king then prostrated himself before the altar as the Litany of the Saints was sung. After this the Archbishop anointed the king on his right forearm and between his shoulders as he said the prayer:
God, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was anointed by his Father with the oil of gladness above his fellows, through this present sacred anointing pour over your head the blessing of the Spirit Paraclete to penetrate into your innermost heart that you may receive invisible grace and that having justly governed a temporal kingdom, you may reign with him eternally, he who alone is without sin, the King of king, living and glorified with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Then the Mass for the day was begun with the Archbishop saying after the Collect for the day, the additional prayer, "God who reigns over all," etc. After the Gradual and Alleluia the king was invested with the Hungarian regalia. The king was first invested and girded with the Sword of St. Stephen with the formula:
Accept this sword through the hands of bishops, who unworthy, yet consecrated by the authority of the holy apostles, impart it to you by divine ordinance for the defence of the faith of the holy Church and remember the words of the psalmist, who prophesied, saying, "Gird yourself with your sword upon your thigh, O most mighty one, that by it you may exercise equity, powerfully destroying the growth of iniquity and protect protect the holy Church of God and his faithful people. Pursue false Christians, no less than the unfaithful, help and defend widows and orphans, restore those things which have fallen into decay and maintain those things thus restored, avenge injustice and confirm good dispositions, that doing this, you may be glorious in the triumph of justice and may reign forever with the Savior of the world, whose image you bear, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.
The king then brandished the sword three times. The king was then crowned with the Holy Crown as the Archbishop said the formula "Accept this royal crown," etc. Next the king was given the Scepter with the formula:
Accept the Rod of virtue and equity. Learn to respect the pious and to intimidate the proud; guide the straying; lend a hand to the fallen; repress the proud and raise the humble, that our Lord Jesus Christ may open to you the door, he who said of himself, "I am the Door, whoever enters by me, bu me shall be saved," and let he who is the Key of David and the Scepter of the House of Israel, be your helper, he who opens and no one may shut, who shuts and no one may open; who brings the captive out of prison, where he sits in darkness and the shadow of death, that in all things you may imitate him, of whom the Prophet David said, "Your seat, O God, endures forever; a rod of righteousness is the rod of your kingdom. You justice and hate iniquity, therefore, God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows," Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Then the Orb was placed into his left hand without any formula and the king was enthroned with the formula:
Be steadfast and hold fast to that place of which you have become heir by succession from your forefathers, now delegated to you by the authority of Almighty God and transmitted to you by us and all the bishops and servants of God and when you see the clergy draw near to the holy altar, remember to give them appropriate honor that the Mediator between God and humanity may confirm you in this royal position as the mediator between clergy and laity and that you may be able to reign with Jesus Christ, our Lord, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
...the Te Deum was then sung...

The most impressive part was when the sovereign in full regalia rode up an artificial hill constructed out of the soil of all parts of the kingdom on horseback. On top of the hill, the sovereign would point to the all four corners with the royal sword and swear to protect the kingdom and all its subjects. After that, the nobles and the subjects would hail their new sovereigns with cries of 'hurray' three times and paying homage.

27 December 2013

Creed of Pope Pius IV

The "Professio fidei Tridentina", also known as the "Creed of Pope Pius IV", is one of the four authoritative Creeds of the Catholic Church. It was issued on November 13, 1565 by Pope Pius IV in his bull "Iniunctum nobis" under the auspices of the Council of Trent (1545 - 1563). It was subsequently modified slightly after the First Vatican Council (1869 - 1870) to bring it inline with the dogmatic definitions of the Council. The major intent of the Creed was to clearly define the Catholic faith against Protestantism. At one time it was used by Theologians as an oath of loyalty to the Church and to reconcile converts to the Church, but it is rarely used these days.

I, N, with a firm faith believe and profess each and everything which is contained in the Creed which the Holy Roman Church maketh use of. To wit:

I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. He was also crucified for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, and who spoke through the prophets. And one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Apostolic and Ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church I firmly admit to and embrace.

I also accept the Holy Scripture according to that sense which holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, and to whom it belongeth to judge the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

I also profess that there are truly and properly Seven Sacraments of the New Law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all are necessary for everyone; to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and that they confer grace; and that of these, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also receive and admit the accepted and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.

I embrace and accept each and everything which has been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification.

I profess, likewise, that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really, and substantially, the Body and Blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that a conversion takes place of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood, which conversion the Catholic Church calls Transubstantiation. I also confess that under either species alone Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.

I steadfastly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints, reigning together with Christ, are to be honored and invoked, and that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated. I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, of the Mother of God, ever virgin, and also of other Saints, ought to be kept and retained, and that due honor and veneration is to be given them.

I also affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.

I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church as the mother and teacher of all churches; and I promise true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

I likewise undoubtedly receive and profess all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred Canons, and general Councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent, and by the ecumenical Council of the Vatican, particularly concerning the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching. I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies which the Church hath condemned, rejected, and anathematized.

This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, I do so profess and swear to maintain inviolate and with firm constancy with the help of God until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and professed by all those over whom I have charge. I N. do so pledge, promise, and swear, so help me God and these Holy Gospels of God.

News Flash!

It's still Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy Feast of St. John. Hope you had your wine blessed today.

26 December 2013

St. Stephen's Day

With a treat for you, compliments of Elvis Costello and The Chieftains.

Stay safe, and Merry Christmas!

25 December 2013

24 December 2013

Two Christmas Eves

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I will remember all of you in my Mass intention tonight.  Thank you for reading this blog whenever you do.  God bless you and your families.

Now, part of the admission price of this blog is to endure my private likes once in a while. Bullfighting, for instance.  

And each Christmas Eve I like to repost an excerpt from the late, great Myles Connolly's book, Dan England and the Noonday Devil, about the personal and universal resonance of this night, particularly in a corrupt, modern world.

If you don't like it, I think there is something wrong with you.  But that's ok, too.  Thanks to Reader X, who introduced me to this author, of whom I would otherwise have remained ignorant, to my loss.


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. . . .


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

The Eighth of the Calends of January

The year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine: from the deluge, the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven: from the birth of Abraham, the year two thousand and fifteen: from Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the year one thousand five hundred and ten: from David's being anointed King, the year one thousand and thirty-two: in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel: in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad: from the building of the city of Rome, the year seven hundred and fifty-two: in the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus: the whole world being in peace: in the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, wishing to consecrate this world by his most merciful coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months since his conception having passed, in Bethlehem of Juda is born of the Virgin Mary, being made man: THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH.

23 December 2013

An Advent Hymn

It is a mystery of the Church, it is a hymn that we sing to Christ, the Word of the Father, become the Son of a Virgin.

Among women, thou alone, O Mary! wast chosen in this world and wast made worthy to carry in thy holy womb Him who is thy Lord.

This is a great mystery, that is given to Mary: that she should see the God, Who created all things, become her own Child!

How truly art thou full of grace, ever glorious Virgin! for of thee is born the Christ, by Whom all things were made.

Come then, ye people, let us pray to the Virgin Mother of God, that she would obtain for us peace and indulgent mercy.

Glory be to thee, O Lord, who wast born of the Virgin! and to the Father and the Holy Ghost, for everlasting ages.


--St. Ambrose

22 December 2013

He is Near!

From Isaias XXXV:

The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise; the glory of Libanus is given to it, the beauty of Carmel and Saron. They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God. Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees. Say to the faint hearted: Take courage, and fear not. Behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. And that which was dry land, shall be come a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwelt before shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush. And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it; and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be found there: but they shall walk there, that shall be delivered. And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

21 December 2013

80 Years after the Great Purge

In 1934, Stalin used the murder of Sergey Kirov as a pretext to launch the Great Purge, in which about a million people perished. Some later historians came to believe that Stalin arranged the murder, or at least that there was sufficient evidence to reach such a conclusion.[10] Kirov was a staunch Stalin loyalist, but Stalin may have viewed him as a potential rival because of his emerging popularity among the moderates. The 1934 party congress elected Kirov to the central committee with only three negative votes, the fewest of any candidate, while Stalin received 292 negative votes. After Kirov's assassination, the NKVD charged the former oppositionists, an ever-growing group according to their determination, with Kirov's murder as well as a growing list of other offences, including treason, terrorism, sabotage, and espionage.

A Serious Question

STLToday has a recap of the Pope's address to the Curia yesterday, and notes with glee the sacking of faithful Cardinals Burke and Piacenza.

Then there is this extended quote:

"When professionalism is lacking, there is a slow drift downwards toward mediocrity. Dossiers become full of trite and lifeless information, and incapable of opening up lofty perspectives," he said. "Then too, when the attitude is no longer one of service to the particular churches and their bishops, the structure of the Curia turns into a ponderous, bureaucratic customs house, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God's people."

Can anyone tell me what this actually means?

Pokey and Pancakes

Good way to start the weekend.

20 December 2013

Meatless Friday Newsflash: People Are Stupid

I have been known to play in the fifteen-years-and-counting phenomenon called Fantasy Football. Of course, for entertainment purposes only.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Sometimes your stars have bad games, and sometimes unknowns have huge weeks.

Like other games of chance, or better yet, games of combined skill/chance, it is subject to the swings of fortune.

Even for those who actually gamble any money on the endeavor, it seems obvious. Don't gamble what you can't afford to lose. In fact, that is one of the necessary components of morally licit gambling in Catholic moral theology.

Well, anyway, here is the Newsflash: people are stupid, and many are evil.

It is in this context that I link to a story about the increasing number of death threats made by disappointed Fantasy Football owners against real life players-- you know, Real. Actual. People.

This is beside the point, but Fantasy Baseball players are too nerdy to ever think of such a thing. Boom! Roasted.

Archdiocese Kicks Off STL250 with Mass on Dec. 31

From the Archdiocese:

In 2014, the city of St. Louis will celebrate its 250th anniversary. 2014 will also mark the 800th birthday of our most holy patron, Saint Louis IX, King of France.

As part of the year-long celebration to commemorate the founding of St. Louis and the birth of our beloved patron, the Archdiocese of St. Louis is partnering with the group, STL250, to host special events throughout 2014.

More information will follow in the months to come, but mark your calendars now for a very special way to usher in the new year…

At 11:00 p.m. on December 31, 2013, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Most Reverend, Edward M. Rice will offer a New Year's Eve Holy Hour and [Ordinary Form] Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis for anyone interested in participating in a “spiritual kick-off” to the city's 250th anniversary. All are welcome.

For more information on CatholicSTL250 events, visit www.archstl.org/catholicstl250.

No, No-- it's EMBER Friday

18 December 2013

The Man They Still Hate

The late Joe Sobran wrote this piece in 1999, providing a different take on the only Man of antiquity that people still hate.

And why?

Because He was what He said He was.

Constitution Makes Rare Public Appearance-- This Time, in Arnold

The US Constitution made a surprise appearance outside its hospice wing yesterday, when the Missouri Court of Appeals smacked down the City of Arnold for doing what all corrupt municipal governments with red light cameras do-- ignoring the Constitutional presumption of innocence in criminal law. After this brief show of vigor, the Constitution whispered that it needed to lie down again. The death rattle continues.

17 December 2013

Credit Where Due

Kudos to the National Catholic Register for being the first conservative Catholic opinion leader to weigh in on behalf of the FFI, via the CMR blogger Pat Archbold.
Bonum ex integra causa, malum ex quocumque defectu.

By My Oath, In the Tangle of My Mind

Sir Thomas More: Listen, Meg, God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping. If I can take the oath, I will.

-- from the theatrical version of the great Robert Bolt play, A Man for All Seasons

A friend sent me this very insightful post on the oath with which the members of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are threatened. It makes a good point. To what exactly, is one binding oneself? Is there a definitive interpretation of the ambiguities of the Council, one that has eluded all the Popes, theologians, prelates and lay faithful since 1965? Something neither the SSPX nor Cardinal Ratzinger could spot as self-evident in 1988?

Or is it just a promise to do whatever you are told regardless of whether it violates the faith, or a properly formed conscience, or whatever-- in other words, a pure exercise of power?

From the post linked above:

The gist seems to be, Vatican II means whatever the powers that be in Rome at a particular moment in time take it to mean. And given how vaguely worded and even self-defeating many of the documents of Vatican II were and are, this could mean enormous swings from one pontificate – or episcopate – to the next, with all the self-contradiction, confusion, and despair that implies.

One of the most tragic aspects of the materialist-oriented construct of “democratic liberalism” the vast majority of us live in today is that the “power of the people” is really an illusion, that with the undoing of the Rights of God and their replacement with the rights of man there is no solid foundation for society. We have thus devolved into a near-totalitarian construct where the only thing that matters is power, who wields it, and what they want. Is the Church to be the same? Is will to power the name of the game, now?

This post links to a post by Fr. Hunwicke at his blog, that analyzes the problem of the proposed oath in some detail, and is worth a read, too. The quest begins as follows:

It's surprising how things creep back. Ordinands of the Franciscans of the Immaculate are now to be required to ... guess what ... to swear a new oath ... but not at all the same sort of oath as the Anti-Modernist Oath. But the context for this novel imposition appears to be a culture just as ferocious as anything ushered in by Pascendi Dominici gregis: refusal to subscribe will mean instant dismissal from the Order. The required undertaking is described as "accettazione formale ... dei documenti del Concilio Vaticano II, secondo l'autorita riconosciuta loro dal Magistero". The problem that I have with this is that either it imposes an impossibly heavy burden upon those swearing it; or it means nothing.

This is precisely the point of my including the quote at the top of this post. As a lawyer who struggles to be prudent instead of foolhardy, and yet to have the fortitude to defend my faith without rationalizing it away, that quote has always struck me as particularly wise. If it is possible to take such an path, that may be prudent-- one shouldn't force one's own martyrdom. But if there is no way to take an oath in good conscience regardless of the parsing of the words, then one must refuse.

Of course, the wording of the oath is key. But it might be more than the devil himself could do to fashion a coherent oath to bind oneself to certain disputed passages from the documents of the last council. For even if the words of an oath are crystal clear, what happens if the documents to which the oath refers are not?

Wait and pray.

By the way, since we pried open the riches of the Bolt play, St. Thomas More left a message to all those professional neo-Catholic apologists of today who will justify anything to keep the boat from rocking:

Thomas More: Will, I'd trust you with my life. But not your principles. You see, we speak of being anchored to our principles. But if the weather turns nasty you up with an anchor and let it down where there's less wind, and the fishing's better. And "Look," we say, "look, I'm anchored! To my principles!”

16 December 2013

"See how God permits His servants to be afflicted and sorely tried, that they may so receive their crown."

Let us consider how our blessed Lady, having returned to Nazareth, is overwhelmed with joy to feel living within her Him, who gives being to every created thing, and whom she loves with all the intensity of the Mother of God.  Joseph, the faithful guardian of her virginity, tenderly loves this his spouse, and blesses God for having entrusted such a treasure to his keeping.  The angels crowd round this favored house wherein dwell their sovereign Lord, and she whom He has chosen to be His Mother.  Never was there happiness like that which fills this little dwelling; and yet, God has decreed to visit it with a heavy trial, in order that He may give an occasion to Mary to exercise heroic patience, and to Joseph an occasion of meriting by his exquisite prudence. 

Let us listen to the Meditation of St. Bonaventure, in which he thus ponders the Gospel narrative:

'But while our Lady and Joseph her spouse were thus dwelling together, the Infant Jesus grew within His Mother's womb.  Then Joseph, perceiving that Mary was with Child, was above all measure grieved.  Here give, I pray thee, all thine attention, for thou has many fair things to learn.  If thou wouldst know wherefore it was that our Lord wished that His Mother should have a husband, whereas He always wished that she should be a Virgin, I answer thee that He so wished on three accounts:  firstly, that she might not be disgraced when it was seen that she was a Mother; secondly, that she might have Joseph's aid and company; and thirdly, that the birth of the Son of God might be concealed from the devil.

'Now, Joseph did look many times on Mary, and grief and trouble of heart fell upon him, and his displeasure was seen in his face, and he turned his eyes away from her as one that was guilty of that which he perforce suspected.  See how God permits His servants to be afflicted and sorely tried, that they may so receive their crown.  Now Joseph was minded to put her away privately.  In very truth may it be said of this holy man, that his praise is in the Gospel, for the Gospel says of him that he was a just man, that is, a man of great virtue.  For albeit they say that no shame, nor suffering, nor insult can befall a man so grievous as that of his wife's unfaithfulness; yet did Joseph retrain himself withal, and would not accuse Mary, but bore this great injury patiently.  He sought not how to avenge himself, but, overcome with pity, and wishing to forgive, he was minded to put her away privately.  But herein also had our Lady her share of tribulation, for she took notice of Joseph's trouble, and it sorely grieved her.  Yet did she humbly hold her peace, and hide the gift of God.  Better did it seem unto her that evil should be thought of her than that she should reveal the divine mystery, and say aught of herself which would come nigh to boasting.  Therefore did she beseech our Lord that Himself would right this matter, and make pass this grief from Joseph and herself.  Here thou mayst learn what great tribulation and anxiety was theirs.  But God came unto their assistance.

'He therefore sent His angel, who spake unto Joseph in his sleep, and told him that his spouse had conceived of the Holy Ghost, and that he was to abide with her in all surety and joy.  Whereupon, the tribulation ceased, and they were both exceedingly comforted.  So likewise would it befall us if we would suffer patiently, for after a storm God brings a calm.  Neither oughtest thou to doubt this, for God suffereth not His servants to be afflicted save for their good.  After this, Joseph requested our Lady to narrate unto him what had happened; and she faithfully narrated all unto him.  Whereupon Joseph remains with his blessed spouse, and lives with her in all contentment, and loves her above what words can say, and diligently provides her with whatsoever she needed.  So also our Lady continues to remain confidently with Joseph, and they live right joyfully in their poverty.'

--From The Liturgical Year, by Dom Prosper Gueranger

Cardinal Burke Dropped from Congregation for Bishops

This news cannot possibly surprise, though it must discourage. On the flip side, though, clarity is always good.

Also cashiered from this Congregation, which selects bishops for the world's sees, are other solid prelates Piacenza and Bagnasco. Their replacements include Cardinals Wuerl of DC and Nichols of Westminster, and others of like stripe.

I will refrain from stating the obvious, so just assume it.

Let the enemies of the faith rejoice, just take it in. You can get all you can stand at NCR. We must remain patient and firm in faith. Advent is all about awaiting in joyful hope the vindication brought by Christ. There is a good excerpt from St. Bonaventure today in The Liturgical Year that I intended to run anyway, but it is timely. Look for it later today.

Maybe now the conservatives will wake up. No, you're probably right.

Finally, on the minuscule chance His Eminence reads this, I say to him: thank you. Thank you. We are all still praying for you and are grateful for your leadership, faith and strength.

15 December 2013

And Yet, Gaudete in Domino Semper Anyway

Reminder that the beauty of the liturgy is made up of countless decisions to give the Lord our best and most beautiful.  These photos from the vault of Mother Crab, seen here in their native habitat.

This Piece is from The Tablet, Not the Onion

Saw this over at Louie Verrecchio's site, and sprayed coffee on my screen.  I mean, with respect, this is either delusional or the worst kind of propaganda-- you know, the kind that is laughably unpersuasive but stubbornly pervasive. I added just a couple of my own emphases:

CDF prefect praises liturgy reform and Vatican II

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has made an unequivocal defence of the Novus Ordo of the Mass. 

 Without the Second Vatican Council’s liturgy reform, dechristianisation might have forged ahead far faster than it has, Archbishop Müller said at a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium at Würzburg. 

 “It is precisely because the liturgy was renewed in spirit and rite that it has proved an effective remedy against a godless culture.” The renewed liturgy was “a good means of evangelising”, he said. 

Archbishop Müller contradicted those who blamed the increasing disappearance of the faith and dwindling Mass attendance in the formerly Christian countries of the Western world on the reform of the liturgy following the Council, and expressly underlined the merits of the 1970 Missal. “All Catholics who think and feel with the Church realise that the reform was a success,” he said. 

 He specifically cautioned against both a clerically centred liturgy and a liturgy centred chiefly on the laity where the priest was only “marginally present”. 

 “In the liturgy, the inner union of the common priesthood of all the People of God and the particular service of the Apostolic office are all present,”, he explained.

Or Did They?

China Lands on the Moon

Tip and Title by Mother Crab

12 December 2013

Our Mother, the New Eve, Mother of the Living

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks to Thee, O Lord God almighty: and that we should, whilst invoking Thy power, celebrate the feasts of the blessed Virgin Mary; from whose womb grew the Fruit, which has filled us with the Bread of angels.  That Fruit which Eve took from us when she sinned, Mary has restored to us, and It has saved us.  Not as the work of the serpent is the work of Mary.  From the one, came the poison of our destruction; from the other, the mysteries of salvation. In the one, we see the malice of the tempter; in the other, the help of the divine Majesty.  By the one, came death to the creature; by the other, the resurrection of the Creator, by whom human nature, now not captive but free, is restored; and what it lost by its parent Adam, it regained by its Maker Christ.

--from the Ambrosian breviary, preface for the sixth Sunday of Advent

11 December 2013

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for Us!

More Great News for the Pope

His poll numbers are way, way up! Apparently, the Vatican's new campaign is making real inroads in all voter demographics, particularly with those who don't care about the Pope, the faith, or culture.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi was rumored to have indiscreetly revealed the secret of this highly successful marketing effort in a bar off the Piazza Navonna, telling a member of the emerging social media,"It's really a-so simple it's a-beautiful! We follow the advice of the mama of the famous Catholic blogger, thetimman. Whenever she have a difficulty with that-a idiot, she just-a say, 'Oh, Timmy! Do what you want!'"

Telling insight, there.

I remember constantly writing Pope Benedict XVI to urge him to mind those polls. Poor man, he never seemed to care.

See all the results here!

Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year

I used the term "Person", Time's actual term, instead of the correct "Man", because the designation itself, coming from the wheezing printing press of one of the last, dying, leftist rags, deserves all its PC due.

The Pope follows such past winners as Ben Bernanke, Il Duce, the Earth, and, yes, You.

From the STLToday item:

In only his first year, the pope was selected by the magazine's editor as the person who had the greatest impact on the world, for good or bad, during 2013.

10 December 2013

We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work.

Saint Francis de Sales

The Idiot and Jury Duty: A Relection by Me, thetimman

Let me begin with a shout out to the fine seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest-- if you're reading this, you probably need to pray more and/or get back to work.

I salute them because one of them (who knows who he is) was kind enough to give me, with a very kind inscription, a copy of one of Dostoyevsky's masterpieces.

The Idiot.

Yes, I note the title, and I am aware of the possible application.

But I will say that I am not worthy of comparison to the eponymous hero of the book, as he is far too holy for me. He is God's holy fool, while I am merely an idiot.

I was given this book in June, but I haven't had the chance to tackle it until yesterday, when I was forced given the opportunity to serve jury duty. Being stranded in the pool, and otherwise having time on my hands, was, I thought, a good opportunity to get some heavier reading done. Right, Mother Crab?

Without giving away too much, Dostoyevsky's idea was to explore the reaction of people to the purely innocent man. I can easily analogize this to the jury venire pool. If we substitute the trial-by-jury system for the purely innocent man, you get an idea of human nature.

It always astounds me, as a lawyer, how a court process prompts all sorts of people to tell all kinds of embarrassing things about themselves, in great detail, without prompting, and without them being in the least material. This process, like the purely innocent man, is something so out of the ordinary-- understandable as an intellectual proposition, yet so alien and provocative-- that it evokes responses outside of our usual mode.

Also common is the I Walked on the Moon phenomenon (credit to Brian Regan). No matter what another juror says they did, there is a person who has to outdo them. You got arrested? Oh yeah? Well, I was executed. And the memory of my death continues to haunt me to this day.

Then there is the groupthink that occurs when one person makes a particular statement, scads of others agree. There seems to me to be a sort of need to achieve a normal, or typical response. Over time the answers of the prospective jurors become extremely similar. Safety in numbers.

Over all of this is the sense (admittedly anecdotal) that there could no longer be a Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men figure to ensure a level of moral or intellectual fortitude to offset these tendencies. A smell of petroleum pervades throughout.

Taking the whole thing in its entirety, I can only echo the observation of the guy sitting next to me: "What I've learned today is to never allow myself to be put in the position of being tried by a jury of my peers."

I blame Oprah.

What is the Plan Here?

I ask this with all due respect, but can someone read this story from The St. Louis Review and tell me what it means? I mean, I really don't get it, and I wonder if that isn't the point. It's like every PTA meeting I ever went to.

How the archdiocese is considering the Common Core standards

08 December 2013

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today is the Feast of Our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception. It is the patronal feast of the United States, and of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

To mark the day and to honor Our Lady, I am happy to post today's sermon of Canon Michael Wiener, ICRSS, Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory:

Immaculate Conception 2013

The mysteries of our holy religion are challenging: The Incarnation of God is doubted, if not attacked, by many. The Cross is a “stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”. And the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception is - at best – discounted or conveniently forgotten.

The mysteries of our religion require faith, faith which leaves us freedom to approach God and to become one of His without violating the principles of reason. These mysteries, however, are all parts of the same truth about God and His work of salvation which do not allow us to disregard one of them without losing all of them together.

The Immaculate Conception, defined very late in the Church’s history as a dogma, but believed by the majority of all faithful from the earliest times on, is the miraculous preservation from sin in the entirely natural conception of Mary by her mother Anne. All men, all seed of Adam, contract the sin of nature in receiving nature from nature’s head. The only exception to this general rule is Mary, and this exception in her case was made in anticipation of the merits of her divine Son on the Cross. Though from her natural origin she should have contracted it, Mary was preserved from Original Sin. And that preserving grace of the merits of Christ freed her from all rebellion of lower appetites, from any motions of the senses against the regime of reason.

In the document, the Bull “Ineffabilis Deus” in which the great Pope, the Blessed Pius IX, defines the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, as dogma, we read: “The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.”

Mystery and privilege – two things which our modern minds often perceive as a hindrance and impediment on the way to find God.

Today’s feast is another excellent opportunity to prove that the mysteries of the Catholic Religion and the dogmatic teachings of the Church are, contrary to what many believe, the means God employed to abolish remoteness and to put the human race in direct contact with God.

In order that God could become man a mother was needed. This mother had to be the mother of a divine person who assumed our - the human - nature. After the fall, the first sin committed by man, which ruined our chances to be born in the state of grace, God wanted to re-establish humanity again by opening the channels of grace now within mankind. God did, indeed, “more marvelously renew, what he had already marvelously created”, as the priest prays in the offertory of Mass, by making Jesus Christ, second person of the Blessed Trinity, now the head of humanity.

“God’s first word of salvation, spoken outside the locked gates of Paradise, already indicates a woman, a single woman, who could never be overcome by Satan: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and ‘her seed’ (Genesis 3:15). …
The woman who crushed the serpent’s head was the mother of God-made-man” (Hugo Rahner, “Our Lady and the Church).

If God wanted to restore humanity by becoming man Himself, being able to suffer for us and redeem us from sin, He had to have a mother. And who, among all mothers in this world, would have been better prepared for this task than Mary, the Immaculate, who received the fullness of all graces already from the first moment of her existence? Mary is this mother, a mother with heart and soul, whose immaculate body and perfectly sanctified soul are enabling her to be the mother of Christ and of all those who are reborn with Christ in grace.

Here we have the reason why Msgr. Wach, the founder and Prior General of the Institute wanted to give our community as primary patron the Immaculate Conception: Mary is the immaculate mother of the Church, Christ’s mystical body, who channels the streams of grace, of infallible teachings and infinite goodness of God to all of us who want to believe in God-made-man. Mary is the image of the Immaculate Church, invincible by the forces of darkness and reflecting for all times the beauty, the truth and love of God. Mary is the mother of all new creation, through her we all are constantly re-created in grace and from her we are always allowed to expect protection and shelter against the attacks of the evil one. All members of our Institute know well about our Mother’s guarding hand, in our personal lives and in the life of the entire Institute since its foundation in 1990.

The mysteries of our religion are challenging: They require faith, faith which leaves us freedom to approach God without violating the principles of reason. The Mystery of the Immaculate Conception is part of the same truth about God and His work of salvation.


06 December 2013

Colorado Administrative Law Judge Overturns 13th Amendment; Reinstates Slavery

Story at STLToday.

Sunday at the Oratory: Feast of the Immaculate Conception

This Sunday, December 8, 2013, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  

The denuded calendar of the novus ordo bumps the feast to December 9, for reasons I will leave it to you to discern (though the whole interplay can be read up on at Rorate, if you like).  

To add insult to injury, for some reason I will leave to you to discern, the American bishops have decreed that the feast of the Patroness of our country is not a Holy Day of Obligation.

Bah, humbug!

Back to reality, this Sunday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Oratory with 8 am Low Mass, and 10 am Solemn High Mass.  Commemoration of the Second Sunday of Advent as usual.

Making the news even better, because the Immaculate Conception is the primary Patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful who assist at Mass at any Institute oratory may receive a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.  

It just occurred to me-- I agree with the new calendar for once.  December 9 shouldn't be a Holy Day of Obligation!

Finally, recall that the Novena to the Immaculate Conception continues tonight, with Solemn High Mass at 6:30 pm, and tomorrow, with low Mass at 8 am.

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

04 December 2013

"Charity is what gives form to faith."

Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, gave a recent interview on the current state affairs in the Church. Rorate has the English transcript here.

In this interview, Bishop Fellay simply nails it. He gives incredible insight on a wide range of issues. I don't think I disagree with a single word of it. I urge you to read it.

Now, why post at all if one can just read it there? Because there are a couple of parts that sound very Salesian, almost as though the Institute wrote them. By that I mean that there is a Salesian gentleness and joy to these passages, and a real explanation on the inextricable link between liturgy and faith and charity.

First, this, on what the attitude of the laity should be in response to the current confusion:

The attitude of the faithful

First of all, they must keep the faith. This is the primary message, we can say, of Saint Paul; it was also the message for the times of persecution: be firm, state [in Latin], hold on, remain standing, stand firm in the faith. Keeping the faith cannot be merely theoretical. There is such a thing as what I would call “theoretical” faith: the faith of someone who is capable of reciting the Creed, he has learned his catechism, he knows it, he is capable of repeating it, and of course this sort of faith is the beginning; you have to have it, or else you do not have the faith. But this faith does not yet lead to heaven. This is what you have to understand. The faith that Scripture speaks about is the faith that is—to use the technical expression—informed by charity. Saint Paul was speaking about this relation between Faith and Charity when he said to the Corinthians: “If I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,” (which is no small thing, since a faith that can move mountains is not something you see every day!) “and have not charity, I am nothing…. I am only a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal….”

It is not enough to make great professions of faith; it is not enough to attack or condemn errors; many think that they have fulfilled their duty as Christians when they have done this, but that is an error. I am not saying that you should not do it; it is one part, but the faith that Saint Paul and Sacred Scripture speak about is informed faith, in other words, faith imbued with charity. Charity is what gives form to faith. Charity is the love of God and consequently the love of neighbor. Therefore it is about a faith that turns toward this neighbor who is certainly in error and reminds him of the truth, but in such a manner that, thanks to these reminders, the Christian will be able to sow the faith, reestablish someone in the truth, lead this soul toward the truth. Therefore it is not a bitter zeal; on the contrary it is a faith made warm by charity.

The duty of state

What the faithful must do is their duty in their state in life. To keep the faith, a faith properly imbued with charity, profoundly anchored in charity, which will enable them to avoid discouragement, bitter zeal and spite, and instead to experience joy, the Christian joy that consists of knowing that God loves us so much that He is ready to live with us, to live in us through grace. This sheds light on everything that happens, and gives a joy that makes us forget problems and puts them in their place—problems that certainly can be serious. But what are they in comparison with the Heaven that is won precisely through these trials? These trials are prepared, arranged by the Good Lord, not so as to make us fall but so as to make us win. God goes so far as to live in us, as Saint Paul says: “And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me!” That is so beautiful! The Christian is a tabernacle of the Holy Trinity, a temple of God, a living temple!

Now, am I alone in thinking that this is a wonderful program of putting Pope Francis' call to spread the joy of the Gospel?

And then, this on the Mass:

Restoring the Church through the Mass

If we want a restoration of the Church, and certainly we do want it, that is where we must go. To the source, and the source is the Mass. Not just any liturgy, but rather, I mean to say, an extremely holy liturgy. One that is holy to an unimaginable degree. One that has an extraordinary sanctity that was truly forged by the Holy Ghost over the centuries, composed by the holy popes themselves, and therefore having an extraordinary depth. There is absolutely no comparison between the New Mass and that Mass. They really are two different worlds and, I was about to say, Christians who are in the least sensitive to grace realize it very quickly. Very quickly. Alas, today, we observe that many people do not even see it any more! But for me it is obvious that the restoration of the Church must start there. Therefore that is why I am profoundly indebted to Pope Benedict XVI for having reinstated the Mass. That was of capital importance. It is of capital importance.

Finally, on a subject dear to me, the necessary triumph of Our Lady:

The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” This is an absolute statement; nothing about it is conditioned by what happened before. And it is truly a statement that elicits hope and establishes it; it is a rock. Obviously, since it seems right that this triumph is connected with the consecration (of Russia), we are asking for the consecration; that is altogether normal. How long will we have to wait to see it done as it was requested, or will the Good Lord, once again, be content with less? We don’t know. What we do know is that in the end there will be this triumph. And therefore this is a certitude. We will not speak about a certitude of faith, because this is not a question of faith; it is a word given by the Blessed Virgin, and so we know very well what her word is worth! That is all.

I have usually been impressed by Bishop Fellay. This time he really outdoes himself.

What's in a Label?

When I started this (vanity) blog, the Blogger platform was the default choice.  Since then, I have often thought about switching, but for reasons not worth going into, mostly those of continuity, I have stayed. 

One of the usual components of any blog platform is what Blogger calls "labels".  You can I.D., sort, search, etc., any post by a label, or category of post of your choosing.  This isn't likely news to you.

Anyway, when I first began to post, I chose deliberately boring, generic, widely applicable labels, in honor of my short term memory, and due to the fact that I didn't expect to have to care about it for very long.

So, the initial choices:

Other blogs have much more amusing labels:  take the venerable Crescat, for example, with tags such as "bat [dung] crazy"; others go for the extremely specific: "second or subsequent bloviation by rotund convert professional neo-Catholic concerning the 3rd attempt at SSPX reconciliation and the Mueller effect". 

I dig them.

I was about to try to rework my ordinary labeling lexicon, but then I decided to open it up to audience participation.  Why not let readers suggest some labels, based on what they glean from reading this rag?  After all, I might learn something.  So, here is your chance:  what labels are needed for the Saint Louis Catholic blog?  What labels describe posts you'd like to read?  

Combox below.  Thanks!

As Clear and Convincing a Summary on the Liturgical Wasteland as I've Read

No surprise to find me biting Rorate's style here, but this excerpt-- the epilogue-- from The Destruction of the Roman Rite by Don Pietro Leone Monselice (a pseudonym) is a must-read.  Absolutely devastating, because it is absolutely, jarringly, true.

03 December 2013

The Condition of the Human Race at the Coming of the Messias

From the Liturgical Year:

Let us consider the wretched condition of the human race, at the time of Christ's coming into the world.  The diminution of truths is emphatically expressed by the little light which the earth enjoys at this season of the year.  The ancient traditions are gradually becoming extinct; the Creator is not acknowledged, even in the very work of His hands; everything has been made God, except the God who made all things.  This frightful pantheism produces the vilest immorality, both in society at large, and in individuals.  There are no rights acknowledged, save that of might.  Lust, avarice, and theft, are honoured by men in the gods of their altars.  There is no such thing as family, for divorce and infanticide are legalized; mankind is degraded by a general system of slavery; nations are being exterminated by endless wars.  The human race is in the last extreme of misery; and unless the hand that created it reform it, it must needs sink a prey to crime and bloodshed.  There are indeed some few just men still left upon the earth, and they struggle against the torrent of universal degradation; but they cannot save the world; the world despises them, and God will not accept their merits as a palliation of the hideous leprosy which covers the earth.  All flesh has corrupted its way, and is more guilty than even in the days of the deluge: and yet, a second destruction of the universe would but manifest anew the justice of God; it is time that a deluge of His divine mercy should flood the universe, and that He who made man, should come down and heal him.  Come then, O eternal Son of God! give life again to this dead body; heal all its wounds; purify it; let grace superabound where sin before abounded; and having converted the world to Thy holy law, Thou wilt have proved to all ages that Thou, who camest, wast in very truth the Word of the Father; for as none but a God could create the world, so none but the same omnipotent God could save it from satan and sin, and restore it to justice and holiness.

Sounds familiar, and we desperately need Christ's mercy.  Recall that he came first in humility, secondly in the secret of our hearts, but soon enough in power and justice.  Let that day not be a day of wrath to those who love Him.

Come, Lord Jesus!
St. Francis Xavier, pray for us!