30 April 2013

The World, the Flesh, and the Devil Have Nothing to Fear

Not from the Bishops.
Not from the Progressives.

And certainly not from the conservative Catholics leading whatever today's parade is, wherever it will go.

It's enough to make you sick. In fact, Our Lord said something about the sensation and what causes it in Him:

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest: I am rich and made wealthy and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (Apoc. 3:15-17)

There is always a danger of complacency in any soul that aspires to holiness. All of us, without exception, are to "take heed" lest we fall. But I think it must be an especial danger to those who earn their living, or who otherwise make a profit, off of the Church. When rocking the boat can lose you the means to support yourself or your family, rocking becomes an unwanted and unwelcome sensation.

Which leads me back again to the case of the vindictive and monolithic conservative Catholic blogosphere. I have never seen a group so united in singularity of thought as this crowd, particularly when trad-bashing is afoot. Stalin and Mao could weep that they didn't have the unity of vision with their cohorts in Party leadership that these people do.

Who are these people? They have books to sell. They speak at Catholic events. They have regular, paying columns in conservative Catholic publications. They have blogs and seek donations to help them "fight the good fight". Donate now!

They are pro-life, to their credit. And they will sometimes lament liturgical abuses, but hardly ever leave a parish that promotes the abuses. They are essentially neoconservative in their political outlook, demanding that the 100 mph rush over the cliff to Gomorrah be slowed down to a more reasonable 70 mph.

Their study of Church teaching sometimes includes the early Church Fathers, but then skips directly to Vatican II. The less erudite know of nothing published prior to the new Catechism.

Their plans of restoration, if there any articulated, amount to these: In politics-- "if only we get one more Justice on the Supreme Court!" In religion-- "If only a few more bishops obeyed the Pope!"

Comfort. Complacency. Security.

Except for one thing that bugs them. Bugs them a whole lot. Ruins their mocha latte at Panera like you wouldn't believe.

What is that, you ask? The wholesale abandonment of the faith? Population collapse? Persecution of Catholics around the world?

No, dear reader. What really bugs the conservative Catholic opinion leaders are traditional Catholics, and behind them, the Traditional Mass.

That's preposterous, you say. Number one, this group makes up a tiny percentage of the total Catholic population. And who in this age of diversity could object to an officially sanctioned rite of Mass, one that fed the saints of a bygone age? After all, some of their best friends are trads!

Why? Because the traditional Mass, and by extension traditional Catholicism generally, is the pea under their comfortable mattress. It stands as a possibility-- remote though they think it in the dark hours of the morning (when no one's around)-- that maybe, just maybe, they aren't so snugly in the heart of the Church as they want to believe. Maybe there's something more God wants. Maybe the Mass is as important to the faith as a set of numbered propositions in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

For most of my life, in the post-conciliar era, the conservative Catholic crowd (of which I was one) didn't really have to worry about it too much. The traditional Mass wasn't really available, whether it was officially suppressed or not. In 1988, the Pope excommunicated the SSPX bishops, and, since 1) thisPope did it; and, 2) no thought about the Mass itself was required, that settled the issue.

Alas, this era of good feelings was not to last. Around 2005, with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, trads started to get uppity. Instead of rebuking them, thisPope seemed to tolerate, and in some ways favor traditional Catholics. Because the conservative Catholic's raison d'être is to cheer whatever the press reports to be thisPope's policy of the day, Benedict's rehabilitation of the traditional Mass and by extension those attached to it caused them some angst. In the end, they reverted to form and cheered the Mass on, however halfheartedly and lukewarmly it may have been. And most tried to ID one trad friend, to better boost their credentials.

But it galled many of them, who warned the trads not to be so publicly glad, because it reeked of triumphalism. Anyone who was too hard to take got labelled a RadTrad by the more inane-- a term which can only be defined by the one using the label, and hence a moving target. And though books continued to be sold, and columns written, and conferences led, it seemed like some of the bloom had been taken off their rose-- like maybe they weren't in the main current of the Church's effort to restore anymore. It had to rankle, just a little.

So, in the fullness of time, when thatPope was no more, and thisPope seems (and seems is all one can yet say) to be less favorable to traditional Catholics and the traditional Mass, the conservative opinion leaders wasted no time in shredding their rivals for Papal affection.

You see, trads are anti-Semitic. Well not all of them, there are a few good ones (but, hee hee, not really). And if you're a good one, you better flagellate yourself in public whenever we, the guardians of Catholic opinion, tell you to. Once isn't enough, oh no. Dance, rummy!

The basis of the charge, whenever it is leveled, is obscure. They know a trad who is. Or they read it's rampant. Or wasn't Williamson one? Or somebody with a watch that a trad asked to tell them the time once, turned out to be, after 30 seconds of hard research reading some other neoCatholic blog, to be a holocaust revisionist. Easy charge to level, impossible to shake. Once they coat you with that smear, they become rubber to your glue.

What does this have to do with the Mass, or with Catholic Tradition? Nothing. And yet, everything. The traditional Mass is the guardian of the Catholic Faith-- particularly as that faith has been traditionally taught and understood. The Mass and the faith it defends both demand a decision, for or against the truth. They demand conversion, whether one is Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Protestant or atheist. It rocks the boat against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

All in all, it's enough to make a conservative Catholic blogger downright uncomfortable.

So, the so-called conservative bloggers and their fellow travelers will continue to throw traditionalists under the bus, as they travel to the next parish talk while writing their next book (pre-order now!).

It's a shame, really. There ought to be common cause between conservatives and traditional Catholics on most issues facing the Church in our modern crisis. But really, I understand now that there isn't. Too many have a vested interest in the current paradigm. We need abortion to have a pro-life ministry. We need abuses in the novus ordo in order to sell books decrying them. We need Marxist nuns so we may sneer at them. And so on.

The brief Prague Spring from 2005-2013 is over. The current attacks on tradition from "conservatives" taught me not to look for help from that quarter in the future. Next time 'round, we won't be fooled again.

If some of this bothers you, I apologize, and ask you not to condemn me. After all, some of my best friends are conservative Catholics. Not all of them are like this, just a few. There are some good ones, I'm sure.

If you need me, I'll be back at the crazy table.

29 April 2013

In Bourbon Veritas

Well, here I am at the end of the day, with a small nightcap to summon the Muse. Evan Williams Small Batch. Call it a 7.6 out of 10. Good enough for Catholic blogging.

So, thetimman, what do you have to say?

Won a case today due to government incompetence. Good for them. Drove eight hours for a one hour hearing. I'm out of order? The whole [wonderful] system is out of order!!

I was forced to endure, via Facebook, a Simcha Fischer article from the National NeoCatholic Register. More on that tomorrow. The Kulturkampf of the Traditional Catholic must go on! Logicians need not apply.

Can anyone from Texas be made to understand the concept of the interstate fast lane? Dulac, you're not a Texan.

Someone tell me how to balance Christian charity with the protectiveness of a father.

Responding to a charge that cannot be defined except by the whim of the complainant is to needlessly legitimize it.

I am thankful to God for the blessings He gives me-- unearned, not sufficiently valued, and beyond belief.

You like the novus ordo? Fine with me. You prefer the traditional Mass? Even better. You attended a traditional Mass for more than six months and now go to the novus ordo? I. don't. get. you. At all.

Why did my wife marry me? Do women have lower standards than men? Ol' Reader X said something like this: I don't respect a man who doesn't have a good-looking wife. "Dead men don't wear plaid. I still don't know what it means."

Santiago. Who's in?

Colombia Senate Overwhelmingly Rejects 'Gay Marriage'

Story at Lifesite News. A few quick quotes:

The defeat followed days of growing protests outside of the Senate building, with demonstrators chanting "I won't shut up, I won't shut up, marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"The bill sank because it is not of general interest. Heterosexual marriage is of public interest because it has to do with procreation and the conservation of the race," said legislator Diario Salazar, who opposed the bill.

Senator Roberto Gerlein rejoiced in the vote, and denounced homosexual acts as "disgusting," "excremental," and "scatological."

"It's empty sex, incapable of generating life, a form of sex that is practiced as if it were for recreational purposes," he noted. "It's bad for the country, for the Congress, for women and for everyone. This bill isn't good for anyone.

Strange days, when those kinds of observations from lawmakers are controversial and, indeed, rare.

26 April 2013

Nope, It's Not My Family

Not surprisingly, the UK Mail has a nice, in-depth story about a subject that goes against the American media's party line. Also not surprisingly, you should not let a five-year-old look at the right side of the linked article.

'We're just average folks': The family sending all ten of their home-schooled children to college by the age of 12

Prayer Request

My sister-in-law's grandfather died last night-- he received extreme unction. Would you please offer a prayer for the repose of his soul?

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

23 April 2013

The Culture of the Bullfight-- the Culture of a Catholic Society?

The other day I stumbled across an article on the corrida, or bullfight as most know it, here. I have had a great affinity for Spain and things Spanish for a long time, and the bullfight is no exception. This article, and a book I'm currently reading, got me thinking about the bullfight as a metaphor for Catholic culture.

Though forced to travel off-season on account of airfare costs for a family of 37, one of my favorite memories was being able to witness an excellent-- a real-- bullfight in a pueblito called Villamuelas, about 60 km south of Toledo in the middle of nowhere Castile-La Mancha. Wikipedia says that the town's population is 737, and I cannot doubt it. Though the bullfight season ends in October, some friends and I were wandering the streets of Toledo in November when we saw posters for a bullfight for charity that afternoon in Villamuelas, featuring the renowned matador Julián López, known as "El Juli".

El Juli was a popular up-and-comer then, and later became an internationally acclaimed matador. Like the corrida itself, he personifies the drama of life-- glory, danger, victory and tragedy. He was seriously gored twice, once in 2005 and most recently four days ago. The photos on this page are all of him-- the last one is of him being carried out of the plaza de toros four days ago. Like life, the corrida is serious business.

Ernest Hemingway, the most famous American aficionado of the bullfight, remarked that one could never tell how a person would react to the spectacle ahead of time. Grown men could go queasy while petite ladies developed a true passion for it.

However that may be, the corrida affected me profoundly, and to me the entirety of Spain, and also that of Catholic culture itself, is exhibited in it. From Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon:

Some one with English blood has written: "Life is real; life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal." And where did they bury him? And what became of the reality and the earnestness? The people of Castille have great common sense. They could not produce a poet who would write a line like that. They know death is the inescapable reality, the one thing any man may be sure of; the only security... They think a great deal about death and when they have a religion they have one which believes that life is much shorter than death. Having this feeling they take an intelligent interest in death and when they can see it being given, avoided, refused and accepted in the afternoon for the nominal price of admission they pay their money and go to the bull ring.

There is a ton of truth in that, though ironically coming from someone with English blood who later committed suicide. I found it absolutely true, and it fit my bullfight experience immediately.

After deciding while in Toledo to hit the bullfight 60 km away that started in an hour's time, we found a taxi driver willing to take us there. On the way, I negotiated the return fare and a plan for him to pick us up hours later in the middle of nowhere-- a plan I prayed to Our Blessed Mother that she would make work. We got to the town just at starting time, and the taxi fare took most of our ready cash. We approached the temporary bullring with some uncertainty, but the ticket taker with very few teeth took credit cards. This took some time, and as I entered the ring the kill of the first bull (there are six) was just taking place.

Imagine, the first sight I had of a bullfight, before I took my seat, was to stare at a bull, at eye level, with a sword in its heart. This bull stood there, blood dripping from its mouth, for what seemed like a full minute, as the crowd assumed a deathly silence. Nothing stirred and I was frozen in my steps. Then, suddenly, the bull simply fell over on its side and the crowd erupted.

Welcome to Villamuelas!

The rest of the corrida was enthralling, thrilling, and strangely compelling. Powerful and noble beasts would rage into the ring, full of strength. The dance of the picadores and banderilleros would tire, weaken and slow it, readying it for the matador. But don't think that the bull was no longer able to menace. Quite the contrary. The challenge of the matador, the acceptance by the animal, and the dance of death played out.

The audience cheered both, and woe to the matador who failed to respect the bull, either through cowardice, clumsiness or disdain. El Juli was magnificent, and the crowd-- particularly the ladies-- gave him his due. He was skillful and in command. On the opposite end of the scale, there was one matador the crowd more or less jeered (I was informed by the man next to me that he was Mexican, which he thought was enough explanation for the rough treatment). He tried one after another reckless and dangerous pose in order to win the crowd. It had some good effect until the bull reminded him of reality by goring his chest and then thrusting one of its horns into his ear. After every kill, the bull was taken out of the ring with great fanfare.

Lest you complain of animal cruelty, consider this: these bulls lead a full life, are very well treated, are not tightly confined, and face only a fifteen minute contest, at the end of which they are killed quickly. Compare that to the life of the hamburger you ate for lunch yesterday.

It is hard to find our place in the metaphor sometimes. Am I facing the dangers of life like the skillful matador, respecting danger and using my experience to overcome it well, relying on my training, being brave but not foolhardy? Am I playing to the crowd with reckless bravado, sure to get gored? Maybe I'm in the background, jabbing the danger at the back end of a long lance, allowing my horse to take the punishment. Maybe I am a banderillero fighting the enemy so that another may defeat it and get the glory. Then again, am I just a passive spectator of life, watching as others do the dirty work, moved perhaps but powerless to engage? Maybe I'm a person "with English blood" who is repulsed by the reality of life?

Or, maybe, just maybe, I will be forced to be the bull-- a soft and easy life, until the end, when I must submit to my own inevitable martyrdom in the arena. A scenario every Catholic today might consider, no?

I'm pretty far afield now, but remember that article I mentioned at the top of the post? An excerpt:

My girlfriend, a recent convert but still possessed of strong doubts about the activity, asked what it was among the gold and gore that draws me back to the plaza de toros time and time again. I replied that it was the absolute reality of the corrida. As an art form, it represents man’s struggle with death and how it should be best faced, which is with a striking and elegant defiance. It represents a man standing alone on the sand with an animal intent on killing him. My first instructor in how to torear, the matador Juan José Padilla, almost joined their ranks two years ago when a bull removed his eye and a chunk of his skull. He was back in the ring five months later, sans depth perception, a triumphant return...

Whatever one thinks of the ethics of injuring and killing an animal as part of a public spectacle—I find it no less reprehensible than killing one at a third the age and after a far worse life for meat I do not medically need to eat—there is honor and glamour in earning your status and fortune by dancing with death.

This is why it stands in such stark contrast to what passes for honor and glamour at home in Great Britain. I just attended the book launch of an acquaintance who published his memoirs at the ripe old age of 26. It is more accurately described as a travelogue of his sexual adventures, something made clear by its title Laid in Chelsea. It is currently at number three on the Sunday Times bestseller list. The reason for this literary success is because the author, Ollie Locke, is famous for being in a reality television show called Made in Chelsea.

The fact that having your life filmed and broadcast, and then writing about your carnal exploits, can bring wealth and glory sums up so much that is wrong with modern Britain, a generalization that extends to our Saxon cousins in the US. Spain may be financially bankrupt, but at least it isn’t morally so.

...The British and American inability to distinguish between them is at the heart of our ethical and aesthetic decline.

One of the commenters to the article, commenting on the moral/financial bankruptcy point, went so far as to phrase it a bit stridently, that this was "the difference between a culture steeped in Roman Catholic traditions and one whose secularist values constitute the inevitable bequest of Protestant heresy."

I don't know. Maybe so-called 'reality television' is Henry VIII's greatest legacy. Maybe that's a stretch. What I do know is that there is more reality in the bullfight than in any reality television show. And reality is Catholic, plain and simple.

To end the travelogue, our loyal cabbie was there to pick us up in the Castillian dusk. We struck up a conversation about the corrida and about Spain. The talk led to the faith, as it often seems to do. He was Catholic, but in his own words did not practice the faith "as well as [he] used to". We chatted pleasantly, considering the poverty of my Spanish. When we arrived in Toledo I gave him my rosary that had been blessed by Cardinal Rigali. It was a wrench to give it, but it felt right.

After all, it was a fair bargain. I gave him a rosary, and he gave me the corrida.

21 April 2013

A Pilgrim's Prayer

Lord, may this stone, a symbol of my efforts on the pilgrimage that I lay at the foot of the cross of the Saviour, one day weigh the balance in favour of my good deeds when the deeds of my life are judged. Let it be so. Amen.

Puedo Escribir

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.

Escribir, por ejemplo: 'La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos.'

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.

En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos.
La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.

Ella me quiso, a veces yo también la quería.
Cómo no haber amado sus grandes ojos fijos.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdido.

Oir la noche inmensa, más inmnesa sin ella.
Y el verso cae al alma como al pasto el rocío.

Qué importa que mi amor no pudiera guadarla.
La noche está estrellada y ella no está conmigo.

Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta. A lo lejos.
Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca.
Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.

La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles.
Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero cuánto la quise.
Mi voz buscaba el viento para tocar su oído.

De otro. Será de otro. Como antes de mis besos.
Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.

Porque en noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos,
mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Aunque éste sea el último dolor que ella me causa,
y éstos sean los últimos versos que yo le escribo.

--Pablo Neruda

Por Qué

Polvo, barro sol y lluvia
es Camino de Santiago
Millares de peregrines
y mas de un millar de años

Peregrino, puien te llama?
Que fuerza oculta te atrae?
Ni el Campo de las Estrellas
ni las grandes catedrales

No es la bravura Navarra,
ni el vino de los riojanos
ni los mariscos gallegos
ni los campos castellanos

Peregrino, Quien te llama?
Que fuerza oculta te atrae?
Ni las gentes del Camino
Ni las costrumbes rurales

No es la historia y la cultura
ni el gallo de La Calzada
ni el palacio de Gaudi,
ni el Castillo Ponferrada

Codo lo veo al pasar,
y es un gozo verlo todo,
mas la voz que a mi me llama
la siento mucho mas hondo.

La fuerza que a mi me empuja
la fuerza que a mi me atrae,
no se explicarla ni yo
Solo el de Arriba lo sabe!

19 April 2013

Not Exactly Prophetic, but Pretty Good Insight for 22 Years Ago

There is this funny principle which is really the great death wish.  It is a demonic energy on which the world is now running.  "Limit the population because if you do, then you will have fewer expenses and you can direct people much more easily and have them under your control.  ...Besides, we don't want an increase in the population of people who could oppose the system which we want to use." That is the thinking behind the principle of limiting the population.  

The organizers of our system know that they can't implement their agenda unless they start with a child in school.  Therefore, they abhor any education that is not under their control.  The education system in the United States and Canada is totally secular.  The mind of Satan is the original source of the idea of the new world order.  It is satanic in its ultimate inspiration because it is a world order without God.

Satan's new world order is ultimately a way of destroying the presence of the Trinity.  The human family is supposed to replicate the family of God: God the Father, God the Son, and the love of the Holy Ghost between them.  That is the heavenly image, according to which the family on earth should be built.  Husband and wife have between them a covenant with God, within which they produce children according to the laws of God. Christianity taught men to create and rear families in imitation of the divine order.  The Trinity was perpetuated on earth by grace, doctrine, Our Lord, Our Lady, and the entire gamut of Christian revelation.  Today, that is being liquidated.  If you can secularize education and thus rid the children of any religious meaning in their lives, make divorce very easy, and allow homosexual marriages so that marriage between a man and a woman is just an alternative, then you proceed to destroy the idea of marriage.  That means that the Trinity as a working unit within the human race is disappearing. The Trinity is not in people's hearts.  It is not in their lives and their married lives.  

The ultimate idea of Satan is to bring the human race to the point of being a flat level society of equals, all equal in their misery and without the Trinity.  That explains why the new world order doesn't want Christian education and Christian marriage.  That explains why it will foster the homosexual  way of life as an alternative lifestyle and give homosexuals rights in every possible way.  We will have lesbian parents.  We will allow fetal experimentation.  Can you imagine the pathos of thirty embryos lying in a refrigerator in a Maryland laboratory?  Those embryos are all human souls who are imprisoned alive and kept there.  Think of the joy that gives Satan!  Those souls can't be touched by baptism.  They can be destroyed at the twist of a scalpel if they don't succeed in some experiment.  Think of the desecration for us Catholics!  This is the destruction of the human family as Christ originally planned it.  Therefore, the presence of the Trinity on earth is being wiped out and Satan is having his victory over Jesus.  He is nullifying Calvary.  He is wiping out salvation, producing a list of people who can't go to heaven.

-- Fr. Malachi Martin, 1991

18 April 2013

Not That It Matters

But, in a gruesome bit of testimony:

Abortion clinic worker: I saw 10 babies breathe

Try to get your head around this bit of reality when our noble leaders shove their lip-service-to-safety agenda down our throats.


This Weekend, a Presentation on the Book "Return to Order"

From St. Louis Crusade:

Meeting in St. Louis this Sunday!

Come and listen to author John Horvat II explain how we arrived at our present situation and, even more importantly, hear about how we can reestablish a genuine return to the order that once made America great.  All this is found in his new ground-breaking book, Return to Order, which will be available at the talk.

DATE: Sunday, April 21, 2013
TIME: 2:30 PM
St. Joe’s Java
3920 South Old Hwy 94 in St. Charles, MO

John Horvat II is an officer of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). He is a scholar, researcher, educator,  speaker, and author. For more than two decades he has been researching and writing about the socio-economic crisis inside the United States that has culminated in the ground-breaking release of his new book Return to Order.

  For additional information about this meeting, contact Mark Serafino at (573) 459-5531.

Click here for a Google map

Happy Birthday to a Great Priest

With the prayers of many-- you are missed!

16 April 2013

Madrigal to the City of Santiago

Madrigal a cibda de Santiago

Chove en Santiago
meu doce amor.
Camelia branca do ar
brila entebrecida ô sol.

Chove en Santiago
na noite escura.
Herbas de prata e de sono
cobren a valeira lúa.

Olla a choiva pol-a rúa,
laio de pedra e cristal.
Olla no vento esvaído
soma e cinza do teu mar.

Soma e cinza do teu mar
Santiago, lonxe do sol.
Ãgoa da mañán anterga
trema no meu corazón.

--Federico García Lorca

From the Annals of the Kings of Numenor

Tar-Palantir (S.A. 3035–3255, r. S.A. 3177–3255) was the twenty-fourth ruler of Númenor. His Adûnaic name was Ar-Inziladûn, which means "Flower of the West". Tar-Palantir's father, Ar-Gimilzôr, whom he succeeded, was an opponent of the Valar and the Elves. But Inzilbêth, the queen, taught her son to be an Elf-friend. Ar-Inziladûn took power in a time of great darkness in Númenor; ever since Tar-Atanamir, every king had spoken against the Valar and questioned the policies laid out to them. Palantir, however, sought to repent the actions of his predecessors; he once again tended the White Tree and followed the ancient practices. He had prophesied that the White Tree was tied with the line of the Kings; should it die, then the line of the Kings would in turn die out. However, there was no response from the Valar; and Eressëa could not be seen from the tower of Tar-Minastir. A name in Quenya was inscribed in the Scrolls, as was with ancient practices. Palantir in Quenya means "far sighted," as Palantir indeed saw the destruction that would come to Númenor if it kept going down the path it was on. His daughter, Míriel, was his official successor and would have followed his policies, but her rightful place as Queen of Númenor was usurped by her cousin, Ar-Pharazôn.

15 April 2013

Monthly Novena to the Divine Infant King-- New Website from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Please take the time to check out this beautiful new portal site from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  It hosts the monthly Novena to the Infant King from the 17th to the 25th each month at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago.

You can submit your prayer intentions (please submit by the 14th of each month), and they are then included/remembered in that month's Infant King Novena and a special Mass by the priests.  Flowers and/or candles can be offered with one's prayers.

The new site is lovely, and you can not only submit intentions but also read spiritual meditations, make ex voto acts of thanksgiving and learn more about the devotion to the Infant Jesus, the Shrine and the Institute.

Sorry I posted this late for April, but that is essentially par for the course around here.

May the Infant King bless us all.

14 April 2013

Palabras y plumas todas se las lleva el viento.

-- Calderón de la Barca

12 April 2013

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-- William Butler Yeats

As in Maria

11 April 2013

Francis' Pontificate to Be Consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima

In Fatima, Portugal on May 13th.

Very, very hopeful, indeed

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for Our Holy Father, for Russia, and for us!

One Perquisite of Practical Pessimism

“He walked slowly: happiness drained out of him more quickly and completely than out of an unhappy man: an unhappy man is always prepared.” 

--Grahame Greene, The Power and the Glory

10 April 2013

Christ and Judas

The awful jumble of the gross, the trivial, and the grotesque shot up between the two yellow fangs, and the hand on the priest's ankle shook and shook with fever. 'I've told lies, I haven't fasted in Lent for I don't know how many years.  Once I had two women-- I'll tell you what I did...'  He had an immense self-importance; he was unable to picture a world of which he was only a typical part-- a world of treachery, violence, and lust in which his shame was altogether insignificant.  How often the priest heard the same confession-- Man was so limited he hadn't even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much.  It was for this world that Christ had died; the more evil that you saw and heard about you, the greater glory lay around the death.  It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization-- it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.

-- Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

09 April 2013

It's Time to Strengthen Our Knife Control Laws

Says Tom DiLorenzo:

. . . after fourteen people were stabbed today at a Texas Community College. All knives should be registered with the government; everyone should undergo a background check before being allowed to purchase dinnerware; all knives now on the market should be dulled and their sharp edges made square; all boy scouts known to possess pen knifes should be immediately disarmed and placed on psychotropic drugs to calm them down; trained police armed with hunting knives should be stationed in every public school; and no one should be allowed to own more than eight knives of any kind. I welcome further suggestions. It's for the children.

I don't see how anyone could object to these proposals. To paraphrase President Obama from his speech in Connecticut today: "We need to do everything we can to reduce the likelihood that our children will be stabbed to death in the streets."

Let's see... How could someone protect themselves from being stabbed by a criminal? Maybe by carrying a concealed firearm?

2 Timothy 3: 1-12

1 Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times.

2 Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,

3 Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,

4 Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God:

5 Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

6 For of these sort are they who creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires:

7 Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth.

8 Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.

9 But they shall proceed no farther: for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.

10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,

11 Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Movie Screening: The War of the Vendee

At St. Francis de Sales Oratory tomorrow, April 10, at 1:45pm and at 7:00pm. I am sorry for posting this so late! More information on the poster in the image above. Click to enlarge.

Beats Blogging

08 April 2013

"Every single day, a litmus test."

Exactly right.  

This article, which is of a piece with my previous post on traditional Catholics and the notion of putting us back at the crazy table, notes that it sure does seem like anyone in love with the traditional expressions of the faith is put to a daily public happiness requirement--or else the crazy table beckons.

Just an excerpt here, but read the whole piece.  This excerpt begins with words of Pope Benedict XVI in his letter accompanying the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops, and is followed by Rorate Caeli commentary:

And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

We are glad to be on the same boat as the hated and despised Pope Emeritus, "without misgiving or restraint", who is more humiliated and ridiculed now than ever. It is tiresome for Traditional Catholics to be the ones who must every single day proclaim publicly they respect the Pope, pray for the Pope, pray for the Bishops, accept every single item of every single thing. Every single day, a litmus test. We do not deny anything, but must always proclaim publicly that we accept everything, even things that are not even part of any creed, but we must, to have "acceptance": please, please, do not send us to the corner!... Catholicism demands from us to denude ourselves from all ideologies - but it seems some with highly ideological pasts and agendas ... have a hard time grasping that these ideological tests are not for us, that for Catholics the "test" to pass is a good confession, in the hands of a merciful God by way of the Priesthood of the New Testament, hoping and praying for final perseverance. We do not want to be "liked" or "accepted" or "deemed acceptable" or respectable by [Dawn] Eden, but only by Our Lord in the Confessional and in particular judgment when time comes.

Enough is enough.  Fish or cut bait.

06 April 2013

I'm speechless. I am without speech.

Catholic Gonzaga University won’t allow Catholic students to form Catholic group

Roman Catholic, Jesuit-affiliated Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington has refused to recognize the Knights of Columbus as an official student group because — wait for it — the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization.

Gonzaga administrators notified the students who had sought the school’s official seal of approval last month, reports The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Daily.

“The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” reads a letter written by Sue Weitz, vice president for student life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University.”

Read the rest of it.

05 April 2013

04 April 2013

Just What is Being Saved Here?

A few months back I posted a story on the upcoming closure of the venerable St. Elizabeth Academy in St. Louis City. The only unusual element of the story was that there isn't anything unusual about Catholic schools (or parishes, for that matter) closing. In short, a sad but typical case of life in the New Springtime of the post-Vatican II world.

We live in a society that contracepts and aborts its babies out of existence. We belong to a Church that has done more than any other institution in the West to oppose this-- which sounds great until you realize that it has done practically nothing at all, and only stands in relief to everyone else, who did absolutely nothing or who even promoted it.

This same Church, though no dogma or doctrine has changed for her, has seemingly lost confidence in her own mission and identity. I mean, with all due respect, just how Catholic was St. Elizabeth in its death throes? Just how Catholic is your child's school? Your own parish? Of course the answers to these questions will depend on circumstances, but the trend and overall picture is not encouraging.

Catholic parishes and schools have not produced vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We pay poorly catechized secular teachers a much higher wage than their religious predecessors earned. That cost is passed on in much higher tuition. And the faith is not passed on in these schools. The Church is not being renewed by ranks of fervent young graduates from our own schools.

And, please, again with all due respect, don't point out the big money schools with their service-project Catholicism mentality, unless you can point out orthodox Catechesis, theology and morality promoted there.

Why is it that when you scratch a Catholic high school or college grad you discover a Eco-worshipping, same-sex marriage-tolerating, pro-choice-voting, Mass-skipping typical young person who is distinguishable from their worldly counterparts only by the need to publicly apologize for certain embarrassing tenets of their own faith?

Yes, I have painted a bleak picture here, and not all is bleak. There are exceptions and success stories, and it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Yes, I know. But work with me here, and acknowledge the basic picture as more or less accurate.

Which gets me to today's story at STLToday. It seems that some well-wishers of St. Elizabeth's want to "save" it as a charter school. Certainly, as an educational option in the City school district, this could be laudable, but for the Catholic girls currently educated there, what exactly is being saved? Not their religion, not their religious instruction, not their formation.

The buildings, yes, just like the Epiphany charter school transition. But what else?

The story and even the new proposed name (Service Ethics Academics Academy) make it clear-- it's about social action dolled up with vague spirituality (or "ethics") and doing its best to compete with what passes for secular "academics".

But isn't this what Catholic schools have been offering for decades already anyway? Hey, maybe they are really saving the school.

Is there a market for Catholic education? And can it be offered?

From the full story:

St. Elizabeth Academy could see new life as charter school

When Nicole Trueman-Shaw heard that her alma mater, the city’s second-oldest Catholic high school, would close, her heart sank.

That night, she began talking with other alumnae of the school about a way to save St. Elizabeth Academy. What has developed is a plan to transform it into what would eventually be a charter school, leaving behind its roots in Catholic education.

To do so, supporters must raise $750,000 by June 1 to cover the costs of 2013-14 — a bridge year in which the school will remain a private school while founders complete the charter application process that would lead to public funding.


The new school would be called SEA Academy, or Service Ethics Academics Academy. This fall, SEA Academy would open as a private, college preparatory school for girls with a low tuition commitment, Trueman-Shaw says.

Although it would not be a Catholic school, it would still offer an all-girls, college-preparatory education with a strong foundation in service to others, character education and leadership, founders say.

Debbie Lowry, an alumna and parent of a freshman and sophomore at St. Elizabeth, said her daughters were hoping to attend the new school and were helping with fundraising.

“They all felt like SEA is home. The diversity, everyone is accepted for who they are,” she said.

She said the new school would include community service requirements for students, which is included in Catholic education, although daily prayer and other religious practices will disappear.

But to some parents, the strength of St. Elizabeth Academy is its Catholic education.

“To many of us, St. Elizabeth’s is important first and foremost because it is Catholic,” said Thom Pancella, a parent. “When it closes after this academic year, that will go away. A charter school simply cannot do that.”


Pro-Choice Reality

h/t Lew Rockwell

03 April 2013

A Right Understanding of Papal Infallibility

Everyone knows what Papal Infallibility is, right?  Well, yes and no.  Times are confusing enough that it is good for Catholics to brush up on the definition.  The Remnant has just posted an excellent and timely article on this issue, written by Robert Siscoe.  

We must stay in the realm of reality, between minimism and, oh, maximism.

From the intro:

Most Catholics realize that the scope of infallibility is limited to papal teachings on matters of faith and morals, but they often err by extending it beyond its boundaries; understanding infallibility as if it were a habitual active charism that prevents a pope from erring when he speaks on the subject of faith or morals.  This misunderstanding on the part of Catholics in recent decades has resulted in two opposite errors. 

On the one hand, we have those who erroneously believe that whatever a pope says, regardless of how novel it is and how far it deviates from Tradition, must be accepted as an infallible truth, since “the pope is infallible”.  On the other hand, there are some who see apparent errors in the documents of Vatican II and believe that Papal Infallibility would prevent a true pope from ratifying such documents.  In both cases, the error is a result of extending Papal Infallibility beyond the limits determined by the Church.

Before proceeding, it should be noted that the purpose of this article is not to assert that Catholics are only bound to accept what has been infallibly defined by a pope or ecumenical council.  The late Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton referred to this error, which was condemned by Pius IX, as minimism.  Catholics must give assent to all that the Church teaches, either by virtue of a solemn pronouncement or by the teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.  Yet at the same time, Catholics are not bound to give assent to novelties and apparent errors, even if such novelties or apparent errors come from a pope who is not exercising his infallibility.   In the chaos that has followed the Second Vatican Council, it is necessary that the faithful have a correct understanding Papal Infallibility, as well as its limitations, lest the understandably confused or scandalized Catholic be led into error in one direction or the other.

01 April 2013

Yet Another New English Missal Translation Proposed

I have resolved to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the liturgy.

Sure, I bandwagoned a bit during the reemergence of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Pope Benedict/Archbishop Burke era here in St. Louis, but those days are long gone.

Now I want to just get on with the spirit of the liturgy in these days of simplicity, and make my contribution to my English speaking Catholic sisters and brothers. Of course, a cynic might point out that one common liturgical language for every country would be simpler, but I am assured that's somehow not true.

Hence, here is a sneak peak at some excerpts from the new, new (new) English language dynamic translation of the venerable Novus Ordo Missae that I am sending to the Congregation for Divine Worship. Once the Prefect reviews it, he will send it to the necessary 73 committees of the Bishops' Conferences for the English speaking peoples. Once consensus is reached, the people of God will have this foisted on them for their own good whether they like it or not petition the Bishop of Rome to ratify their decision. This time I just know we've gotten it right!


Introductory Rite

Presider (P): Hi.
Faith Community (FC): How's it goin'?

Optional Penitential Rite

P: We got any racists or homophobes in here?
FC: You know it.
P: Knock it off.
FC: Our bad.

Readings, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel

(In order to finally plumb the depths of scripture and other, more relevant spiritual texts, there will be a 76 year cycle of readings, to match the average life span of a non-aborted American woman, labeled Years A through XXX. Instead of the Psalms, a different passage of the Harry Potter series will be read, in full costume. All other readings will be gender neutral, horizontally, vertically, and even diagonally.)


(This must be given at every Mass, weekday or Sunday, and must be at least 30 minutes long. It is to be given by a different parishioner each day, on a rotating basis.)


(Presider may select among Apostles' Creed, Elton John's Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, or U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.)

Eucharistic Prayer

(Greatly simplified. Only the actual words of consecration are mandatory, along with the new, required acclamation):

P: It really is good, guys!
FC: And gals!

Angus Dei

All: Lamb of God, who takes away unjust social structures, soak it to the rich.

Lamb of God, who takes away unjust social structures, soak it to the rich.

Lamb of God, who takes away unjust social structures, give dissenting Catholics tax-exempt status.


(All are welcome, and not only is Communion in the hand mandatory, it is greatly recommended-- in order to emphasize the priesthood of the laity-- that the Community remain seated and that the Eucharist be passed back hand-to-hand to the last row first, first row last.)

Concluding Rite

P: Be excellent to each other.
FC: Party on, Dude!

Well, it's a first draft, anyway. Things are moving quickly, and I gotta hustle.

Easter Urbi et Orbi Blessing



Happy Easter, everybody!

Triduum Sermons from the Oratory

These two sermons from this weekend's liturgies were delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS:

Good Friday

In the beginning God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. From the beginning man is dependent on his Creator and subject to the laws of creation and of morality that govern the use of his freedom.

But man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s commands. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

And in God’s plan suffering was not created for man. But when man had sinned, when the divine plan formed by Infinite Love for His beloved creature had been upset and ruined, then suffering burst its banks and rushed upon humanity like a devastating torrent.

Man then began to suffer in every part of his being. He suffered in his body; work and its fatigue, extremes of climates, troubles of sickness, accidents of fortune.

He suffers in his heart. Its delicate and melodious cords are broken in turn by the shock of ingratitude, hatred and abandonment, by the separations caused by death, by sorrowful deceptions and bitterness of illusions.

He suffers also in his soul. Sin, by casting its shadow upon it and paralyzing the outbursts of its enthusiasm, gave entrance to sorrow. The intellect of man suffers from its powerlessness to know and penetrate mysteries of which it gets a glimpse. His memory suffers by the remembrance of past sorrows or lost joys, His will suffers from its revolt, its uncertainties. Man suffers in his imagination by the uncertainty of the future.

In the end man suffers in his whole being and at every period of his life.

So do we give up happiness?

Seeing this series of the sufferings, we are asking the question. Why God who is all-powerful love and mercy, did not prevent the first man from sinning?

This is the mystery. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man we can find the solution.

God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. This St. Paul says, where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, and the Exultet in the Easter Vigil sings, O happy fault, which gained for us so great a Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

So we can find the key to solve this crushing question of the suffering only in the suffering of Jesus Christ who is only begotten and beloved son of God the Father.

This St. Paul says, “But we preach Christ Crucified. Unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block and unto the Gentiles foolishness”.

During the last years of His life on earth, Jesus will appear to us always and at the same time both Priest and Victim. He is Priest when we see Him prostrated in the Garden, or on the summit of the mountain, prolonging His prayer, with His hands raised to Heaven, interceding with His heavenly Father for fallen humanity. He is Priest in His zealous preaching, in His patient teaching, in the consolation which He pours out here below. He is Priest especially when He offers sacrifice, when, to the glory of His Father, and for the salvation of man, He immolates His sacred flesh by the manifold sufferings He endured up to the very hour of the sacrifice of the Cross.

Jesus, suspended on the Cross, remains there Priest and Victim. Priest, because it is He who immolates Himself voluntarily in the full possession of His Will.

Had He not replied to Pilate a few hours before, “Thou shouldst not have any power over Me, unless it were given to you from above? Will He not say in the midst of the unutterable sorrows of His death agony, Father, into Thy hands I recommend my spirit.

Indeed it is consummated. Jesus Christ, Priest, has immolated Himself as Victim.

By His death on the Cross Heaven and Earth are now reconciled. God has pardoned the iniquity of man. By this bloody sacrifice, Jesus Christ has rendered magnificent praise to Infinite Goodness by offering the greatest homage of adoration which It can receive. He has rendered thanks to the heavenly Father for all the gifts poured out in divine liberality on the entire creation. He has appeased divine Justice, which the sins of man had provoked and which demanded complete satisfaction, He has obtained all the favors, all the helps and all the pardon of which our poor human nature has need.

Jesus is good and merciful. We should not be afraid of his gaze.

O Jesus, Grant that while we trace this path of sighs and tears, our hearts may be touched with contrition and repentance, that we may be ready to embrace with joy all the crosses, sufferings and humiliations of this our life and pilgrimage.


Easter Sunday

Blessed and Holy Easter, Dear Faithful!

This is the day which the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice therein. Because it is the day when Christ, Our Pasch has been sacrificed and He is risen.

Christmas, too, is a joyous feast. Christmas vibrates with a characteristic note of sweetness, but the Paschal solemnity resounds with an unmistakable note of triumph. It is a joy for the triumph of Christ.

Christ’s death was not a defeat but a victory. It was the greatest victory that the world ever has ever witnessed, the victory over sin, the victory over death, which is the consequence of sin, the victory which restored to man the life of grace.

In offering us the Cross for adoration on Friday, the church sings, Behold the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.

The supreme paradox of death and life reach a unity in Jesus.

Jesus accomplished the greatest work that he had ever done, either in miracles or in mighty works during the whole of His Life, which was the reconciliation and union of mankind with God. Our joy is founded upon this truth.

In this world there are many kinds of joys often based on fragile and insecure foundations.

But the Paschal joy is solidly grounded on the knowledge that we are in the truth, the truth which Christ brought to the world and which He confirmed by His Resurrection. The resurrection tells us that our faith is not in vain, that our hope is not founded on a dead man, but on a living one, whose life is so strong that it vivifies in time as in eternity.

Jesus said to all those who believes in Him. I am the Resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live.

For every man, the beginning of life is when Christ was immolated for him. However, Christ is immolated for him at the moment he recognizes the grace and becomes conscious of the life for him by that immolation.

St. Hilary, converted to Christianity as an adult, looking back on his past life, said. “Before meeting you, I did not exist.”

What is required is only that we do not hide from the presence of God, as Adam and Eve did after their sin, that we recognize our need to be justified. The publican of the parable came to the temple and made a short prayer. “O God, have mercy on me a sinner”. And Jesus says that the man returned to his home “justified”, that is, made right before him, forgiven, made a new creature. What had he done that was so extraordinary? Nothing, he had put himself in the truth before God, and it is the only thing that God needs in order to act. (From the homily of Father Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. on Good Friday, 29 March 2013)

We can be sincere and in truth only when we recognize ourselves for what we are, with all our faults, deficiencies and need for conversion. And from this knowledge of ourselves springs the sincere resolves to purify ourselves of the ole leaven of disordered passions in order to be renewed completely in risen Christ.

When we rejoice in Jesus’s Resurrection we also celebrate Christ’s gift of Himself, which transforms us and enables us to become a gift of our self to other.

Today’s Postcommunion prayer says, “Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy Love to make us of one heart”. Without unity and mutual charity there can be no real Paschal joy.

Every year Easter comes back but every year Easter must mark a time of renewal in our spiritual life, in our search for God, in our love for God and in our love for our neighbors.

So dear faithful, let us renew our love for Jesus so that we can continue our path with Him in the newness of life.