31 January 2014

Today's Conservative is Yesterday's Progressive

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution."

-- G.K. Chesterton, 1924

Proving yet again the utter foolishness of our political system and the nonsense of caring which party of evil pretends to run it, I offer you this nugget:

GOP Offers Obamacare Replacement

Have a great day!

29 January 2014

Enjoy Your Lucky Charms, Bro

Feast of St. Francis de Sales

From the preface to his Treatise on the Love of God, I echo his words for this blog, and at an early date will permanently post them on the side bar:

“Thus my dear reader I beseech God to bless you and to enrich you with his love. Meanwhile from my very heart I submit all my writings, my words and actions to the correction of the most holy Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, knowing that she is the pillar and ground of truth, wherein she can neither be deceived nor deceive us, and that none can have God for his father who will not have this Church for his mother.”

There will be a Solemn High Mass at the Oratory tonight at 6:30pm. Remember, the faithful who assist at Mass today at an Institute apostolate may obtain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!

28 January 2014

Lies?! I've Been Robbed? No, We've Been Robbed.

It's not just what is said.

It's not just how it's heard.

No, sometimes, the issue is the revelation of the underlying state of the Church that produces the speaker, the words spoken, and the reception of the statement.

Excellent post by Catholic journalist Hilary White:

A few weeks ago, there was a kerfuffle among Traditionalists over something the pope said about Our Lady.

I won't repeat it, because it's awful. But I think I may have an answer as to why a man like Francis might say the kinds of things he says, and why it's only the Trads who noticed how awful it was.

I think it's the same reason very few people outside the Traditionalist movement batted an eye. For fifty years, we have been taught that she, and Our Lord too, are really just regular folks. Just like you and me and apart from the special role she played in Christian history, there's really not much about her that would distinguish her from the rest of the world.
If that were actually the case, the Pope's description of her "likely" reaction would be fairly understandable. It's what any mother might say, if she were a modern, secularised western woman with the normal, half-trained faith in God that is the standard for our post-Christian global culture.

It's just another indicator that this pope is a man trained in the intellectual milieu of his time, the post-Vatican II world of dumbed-down, half
[*****] and humanised, horizontal Catholicism that is virtually all that is left in the mainstream Church and is held by millions upon millions of Catholics around the world. 
The problem is not that he said it, but that nearly all Catholics of the world shrugged it off. We have known for decades that one is taught anything about the Faith in the normal institutions of the Church, schools, parishes and seminaries. With the majority of Catholics in the western world not believing in the Real Presence or the reality of sin or Hell or whathaveyou, is it any surprise that they are no longer imbued with the Marian doctrines that once formed such a bedrock? Who today knows anything about the special prerogatives of our Lady? Of the effects on her of being preserved from conception from the effects of original sin? No one has the least idea what she is really like.

I am not a big Mary-person, on the whole, but I know two things about that. One, that this is a fault of mine, a failure of my personal faith that I am seeking to remedy through prayer. Second, that this is the normal condition of nearly all Catholics. I know enough to know that perhaps one of the most dangerous effects of the Conciliar Asteroid has been to rob the faithful of the benefits of closeness and familiarity with this great advocate and intercessor, one whom God cannot refuse. No one, from the top of the Church to the bottom, seems to have retained in a deep way these rock-bottom foundational beliefs. 

Many people in the Church still cling to the more obvious moral teachings; they know that abortion and euthanasia are murder, they know (though in a kind of distant and foggy way) that fornication and sodomy (and all the rest of that stuff) is morally harmful. Indeed, these are considered the litmus test for "conservatism". But from the point of view of the Faith, "believing" that you shouldn't kill people is, to put it mildly, lowering the bar as low as it will go without actually digging a trench and burying it. 

I submit that this is mainly because the men in the Church have refused,
en masse, to teach anyone the faith. And this has now been going on so long that the men in the Church no longer know it any better than the rest of us schmoes. 
Francis, like everyone else of his generation, trusted that the schools and seminaries would be teaching him all he needed to know. And this was the correct way to proceed! Of course you should be able to trust your superiors in the Church, your teachers in Catholic schools, your professors in seminary.

It was not until many, many years later, after the effects of this bad education had already devastated the vineyard, that parents and seminarians wised up and steered clear.

Another thing about this is that Francis is talking the way almost every public figure talks. A great deal of the time, I think the pope talks without giving any consideration whatever to the actual meaning of what he says - and this is only surprising to us in the Church because until now, we've had popes who were not of that generation, and who had received a very different intellectual training. He's using words the same way everyone else does who has the kind of half-
[*****] "education" that is normal and expected in his time and in ours - not to describe objective reality, but the same way you and I use Christmas tree decorations; to produce an emotional effect. 
Is it any wonder that he talks like everyone else? Particularly like every other politician? He is not only a son of the Church, he's a child of his times, who, like nearly everyone in the Church of his generation, never figured out that he was being led astray.

In that, he is the perfect representative of the vast majority of the Catholics who are in exactly the same condition.


25 January 2014

Feast of St. Francis de Sales Times Two

The feast of the great Doctor of Charity is January 29: next Wednesday. However, the Oratory that bears his name is also celebrating his feast as an External Solemnity tomorrow, January 26, at 8 am and 10 am. The 10 am is a Solemn High Mass, and the children's choir will also sing.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!

From the third reading at matins:

Francis was born of devout and noble parents in the town of Sales, from which his family took its name. He was given a liberal education, devoted himself to the study of philosophy and theology at Paris and gained the degree of Doctor in civil and canon law at Padua. When he had been ordained priest and made provost of the church of Geneva, he carried out the duties of his office so well that Bishop de Granier sent him to preach the word of God in Chablais in order to win the inhabitants away from the heresy of Calvin. He undertook this mission with such great zeal and overcame so many dangers with the help of God that he is said to have brought back to the Catholic faith some seventy-two thousand heretics. When de Granier died, Francis was consecrated bishop. He founded a new order of nuns, named for the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, and enlightened the Church with writings filled with heavenly teaching. At Lyons, he was seized by a grave illness and departed to heaven in the year 1622. He was declared a Doctor of the Universal Church by pope Pius IX.

24 January 2014

One Little Victory for the Motu Proprio

In a landscape of mostly dismal aspect, I am happy to report a most welcome event. Yesterday, in Kirksville, MO (home of Truman State University), the local parish of Mary Immaculate hosted a Solemn High Mass celebrated by a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

The low temperature in Kirksville yesterday was a windy and bitterly cold -4 degrees F. The church, though in a traditional architectural style, has a denuded sanctuary typical of the post conciliar period. There was little publicity outside of email and word of mouth. And there had not been a canonically recognized Traditional Latin Mass in that town for at least 43 years.

So of course, the place was packed.

An intrepid reporter with the University newspaper The Index sent me the following brief update after Mass was over, and took all of the photos in this post:

EF in the 660

The place was packed tonight. Standing room in the back, and the choir loft was filled. We saw lots of young people, families, and I spotted a few teenagers sporting chapel veils. People braved negative wind chills and came from all over - Kirksville, Hannibal, Quincy, Ill., and even a few people from St. Louis. There was a reception afterwards that most people attended as well. Overall: amazing turnout, extraordinary Mass (see what I did there? eh? no? ok then.) Score one for the
Motu Proprio.

Yes, score one for the Motu Proprio. It is this kind of event that gives one hope for a true, New Springtime. The victory of the Mass-- the victory of Our Lord-- is inevitable.

This sign of hope is most welcome.

Feast of St. Timothy

Today, January 24, is the Feast of St. Timothy, my patron saint and co-worker of St. Paul and St. John as Bishop of Ephesus.  From today's Epistle, 1 Timothy 6: 11-16:

611But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness.tu autem o homo Dei haec fuge sectare vero iustitiam pietatem fidem caritatem patientiam mansuetudinem
612Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called and be it confessed a good confession before many witnesses.certa bonum certamen fidei adprehende vitam aeternam in qua vocatus es et confessus bonam confessionem coram multis testibus
613I charge thee before God who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession:praecipio tibi coram Deo qui vivificat omnia et Christo Iesu qui testimonium reddidit sub Pontio Pilato bonam confessionem
614That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,ut serves mandatum sine macula inreprehensibile usque in adventum Domini nostri Iesu Christi
615Which in his times he shall shew, who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings and Lord of lords:quem suis temporibus ostendet beatus et solus potens rex regum et Dominus dominantium
616Who only hath immortality and inhabiteth light inaccessible: whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen.qui solus habet inmortalitatem lucem habitans inaccessibilem quem vidit nullus hominum sed nec videre potest cui honor et imperium sempiternum amen

23 January 2014

From World War G to World War T

Though arising from the sport milieu, this article by Steve Sailor at TakiMag covers the cultural pogrom waged by the pro-sodomy lobby as it seeks new battles to win after all is already won.

An excerpt from the full article linked above [N.B. There are many links embedded in the article, which you may find interesting. However, I don't have the time to vet them, so chase them from the original article.]:

As the gay-marriage juggernaut crushes all resistance within America, it’s become obvious that the mainstream media doesn’t want to declare victory and go home. They want sequels. But what’s left to exploit in demonizing average people after the elites have gotten all they demanded?

One obvious strategy is to go global, to turn the domestic gay crusade into World War G.

The problem from a political-correctness standpoint is that the worst abuses of homosexuals in the world today take place in black Africa or the Muslim Middle East. So it would be racist or Islamophobic to go global at the moment.

Fortunately for the American press, the mostly white and ethnically Christian country of Russia recently passed a law against spreading gay propaganda among minors. And since spreading gay propaganda, especially to impressionable young people, is the essence of the American prestige press’ gay-marriage campaign, this has been taken very personally. They are looking forward to using the Winter Olympics of 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, to stoke hostility against Russia.

Hopefully, this will just turn into another long, expensive Cold War without anybody actually getting it into his head to invade Russia to prevent what Slate.com is calling “a Gay Holocaust.” But even stupider things have happened in history. After all, there is much power and money to be harvested from mindless international tensions. Sometimes, as in 1914, however, they slip out of control.

But what’s the post-gay-marriage strategy to keep the pot bubbling here in America? Sure, the gay marriage whoop-dee-doo served as a distraction from the major issues America faces (it’s not wholly coincidental that Wall Street ponied up much of the money for the campaign), but perhaps the media can double down and find an even smaller group to noisily champion. How about…transsexuals, transvestites, trans-whatevers?

World War T!

Indeed, I started to notice that World War T was the next domestic campaign last spring when The New York Times splashed a big story about how a “transgender” mixed martial arts fighter—“Fallon Fox, born Boyd Burton”—was being discriminated against by not being allowed to beat up women for money.

Read the rest

22 January 2014

The Gruesome Anniversary

Reflecting today on the anniversary of the lawless decision of 7 men to enforce the power to kill babies in the womb has a particularly bitter taste, as I look on the little miracle God gave to my family. My sins, our sins, feed the death machine. We need God's mercy. May God soon bring an end to this abomination that we won't or can't end.

God bless all those marching for life, and all those who still fight the good fight.

21 January 2014

Yes, This is the Smallest One Available

Sacred Space in the Gateway to the West

As I promised to do before all the excitement of last weekend began here at thetimmansion, here are a link and excerpts from a nice article in the National Catholic Register about St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

After describing how SFdS was slated to close in 2005, along with several other parishes, the writer, Mary Frances Moen describes the actions of Cardinal Burke:

...When the newly appointed archbishop of St. Louis, now-Cardinal Raymond Burke, toured these empty churches, St. Francis de Sales caught his eye. Despite the dilapidated condition of the church, the elegantly designed interior and exterior most likely made an impression on him, as well as the over-300-foot-tall spire.

How could the archdiocese destroy a high altar that tops 50 feet, the side baptistery decked with walls of Byzantine-style mosaics and the European Gothic style of the pointed and arched stained-glass windows?

The 130-foot-long aisle is one of the longest in St. Louis, and the interior is uniquely German, with its ceilings over the side aisles almost as high as those over the main aisle. The generic wooden statues are complemented by the ceiling frescoes modeled after those in the Gothic churches of Germany, although none of them shine so brightly as the north transept altar to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Could they take all of that down, as well as the Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in front of the church?

The new archbishop could not let such a treasure go, so he called in an order that he knew could restore this church to its former glory. During his time as bishop of La Crosse, Wis., Cardinal Burke successfully worked with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest to restore a church in Wausau, Wis. Through his efforts, he erected St. Francis de Sales as an oratory of the order; the oratory serves the Archdiocese of St. Louis as a center for the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. The Institute of Christ the King set to work on cleaning and restoring St. Francis de Sales in July 2005.

The sanctuary has been restored for the daily celebration of the liturgy; the sacristy has also been restored. The sacristy was a priority for the institute because that is where priests prepare for their most important role. It is now a beautiful red, painted in the style of St. Louis IX’s chapel, and restored with a counter from another church that closed. The altar in the sacristy is used for priests in the area to practice the traditional rite. The pulpit was moved from the middle of the church to the front, and the institute added two new confessionals. While there is more cleaning and repairs to do, the magnificent design of the church remains the same.

Traditional Mass

Restoration isn’t the only thing that the Institute of Christ the King does well. It is also in the business of restoring the traditional Mass. The institute’s charism is to celebrate the liturgy to the fullest, and since they’ve taken charge of St. Francis de Sales, 600 to 1,000 people are drawn to the oratory every Sunday. The average family drives 20 miles to get there, and the median age of the congregation is 30 years old.

In addition to the St. Francis de Sales-like preaching (the bishop-writer’s feast day is Jan. 24), with truth covered in charity, the oratory feeds souls with confession, adoration, daily Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. The neighborhood around the church has also improved since the Institute of Christ the King entered the picture. A school and a day-care center were put in next door, which has brought new life to the campus.

At St. Francis Oratory, one can contemplate truth and discern how — as St. Francis de Sales himself put it — to "be who you are and be that well."

18 January 2014

Prayer Requests

Hello, may I ask for prayers in your charity for a number of intentions? A friend whose family member has cancer, a friend seeking work to support a large family, and my own dear wife, who is soon to deliver our 38th child or so. Thank you all.

17 January 2014

Latest News from the Oratory

The latest Newsletter from St. Francis de Sales is out, and you can read it-- and subscribe to it, if you haven't yet-- here.

There are several items of note, beginning with two liturgical notices: First, this Sunday, Canon Matthew Talarico will visit the Oratory, deliver the sermon at both Masses, and will celebrate Solemn High Mass at 10am. If you haven't yet heard him speak, you may wish to do so, especially when there is an opportunity to assist at a glorious Solemn High Mass.

Next, a reminder that January 29 is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron of the Oratory and one of the principal patrons of the Institute of Christ the King. The faithful who assist at Mass at an Institute apostolate on that day may obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

From the Newsletter:

On January 29 we will observe the patronal feast of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, patron of the Institute of Christ the King and of this oratory. Because of the great importance our saint has for all of us and for the Institute as a spiritual family we will celebrate an external solemnity of this feast on Sunday, January 26 at 8AM and 10AM (with commemorations of the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany). In the breviary on the feast of St. Francis (Lectio VI of the II Nocturne) the Church offers us a glimpse of the splendor of the merits and the fruits of the life of this “most mortified of all saints”:

After the death of Bishop Granier, who had procured his appointment as Coadjutor, he was consecrated Bishop, upon the 3rd day of December, 1602. In that office he was truly a burning and a shining light, showing all around a bright example of godliness, zeal for the discipline of the Church, ardent love of peace, tenderness to the poor, and, indeed, of all graces. For the greater ornament of God's worship he established a new Order of Nuns, which is named from the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin. These nuns follow the Rule of St Augustin, but Francis added thereto several additional constitutions distinguished by wisdom, prudence, and tenderness. He enlightened the Church by writings full of heavenly teaching, and pointing out a safe and simple road to Christian perfection. In the 55th year of his age, while on his way from France to Annecy, after saying mass at Lyons on the Feast of St John the Evangelist, he was seized with fatal illness, and on the next day passed from earth to heaven, in the year of our Lord 1622. His body was carried to Annecy and honorably buried in the Church of the nuns of the Visitation, where it soon began to be distinguished for miracles. The truth of these having been proved, the Supreme Pontiff, Alexander VII, enrolled his name among those of the Saints, and appointed for his Feast-day the 29th of January. And the Supreme Pontiff, Pius IX., on the advice of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church.

Also in the release is a recap, with photos, of the recent Gaudete Benefit Gala for the benefit of the sacred music program. An excerpt:

The Gaudete Gala was a fabulous Advent festivity to start the new Church year. Having outgrown the Oratory Hall, where the Gala began in 2011, this third annual event was hosted at a new venue this year: The Millennium Hotel in Downtown St. Louis. Braving the biting cold on one of December’s snow-covered evenings, 170-plus guests found a warm, inviting atmosphere even before they reached the grand ballroom. With refreshments in hand and lively conversations the guests greeted one another, perused the offerings of the Silent Auction, and waited with high expectations. The elegantly decorated dinner tables inside the ballroom promised another memorable Gala.

At 7:00 pm, with Vivaldi’s Concerto in D minor for 2 oboes, the magical evening began. For the next two hours, well-executed choral and instrumental pieces were interspersed with courses of a delicious dinner. Under the direction of the Oratory’s Music Director, Mr. Nick Botkins, the choirs and musicians presented to the awed guests the wonderful fruits of their work, normally fused to the Sacred Liturgy. For this special evening, the repertoire included a wide selection of classics by master composers of the past and present.

After a lovely testimonial from a recent convert about the beauty of the Mass and its necessity for young people (which I might publish if I get her permission), the newsletter ends with a link to a favorable article about the Oratory in the National Catholic Register. Yes, the Register. Maybe there is hope for unity after all. ;-)

Later today, I will link to this article again, in its own post, and excerpt it there.

16 January 2014

Meatless Thursday Night: Christmas-y Movie Edition

1. It's still Christmas season. Look it up.

2. What is your favorite non-Christmas-Christmas movie? By this I mean, a movie, not a holiday movie, but which involves Christmas in the setting or plot.

Mine is Metropolitan. Yours?

The Light I Never Knowed

Well, it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don't know by now
An' it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It'll never do, somehow
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I'll be gone
You're the reason I'm travelin' on
But don't think twice, it's all right

And it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
The light I never knowed
An' it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road
But I wish there was somethin' you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talkin' anyway
But don't think twice, it's all right

So it ain't no use in callin' out my name, gal
Like you never done before
And it ain't no use in callin' out my name, gal
I can't hear you anymore
I'm a-thinkin' and a-wonderin', walkin' down the road,
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I give her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don't think twice, it's all right

So long, honey, babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
Goodbye's too good a word, babe
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You coulda done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right

-- Bob Dylan, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"

Greg the Catholic Leg

As someone who doesn't have cable or satellite television, I have faithfully followed the St. Louis Rams through some very lean years. Even before reading this article at Catholic Exchange, I have been a fan of the strong-legged kicker, Greg Zuerlein.

The linked piece is a nice interview that highlights his Catholic faith. I especially liked this insight from Zuerlein:

Q: Is it difficult to maintain a Christ-centered mindset in the NFL?

A: Not really. Sometimes people think the high-level of play can go to your head, but I think it can actually be a humbling situation. The phrase that keeps me from getting carried away is: I will only be tolerated as long as it takes for the team to find my replacement. This helps me not to take myself seriously and keep things directed toward Heaven rather than earth.

Replacement bloggers apply within.

15 January 2014

By Way of Explanation...

Sorry for the blog blackout.  I waited three hours for a 45 second hearing today.  Then, as you might imagine, I had not accounted in my schedule for a three-hour, 45-second hearing.  So, I was slammed.

First world problems, yes.  Though that level of judicial/administrative efficiency is also a classic third world problem.

Aaaaaanyway, I just have to report on two recent items concerning American Cardinals-- one whose trajectory with the current regime is pointing up, and one whose trajectory, well, isn't.  Both stories I came across at Rorate Caeli.

The first, concerns Sean Cardinal O'Malley:

Someone must explain to me why this is OK, or at least why this does not violate the First Commandment.  From Rorate:

Now we have learned Cardinal O'Malley proactively asked a female Methodist minister to "re-affirm" his baptism with an "anointing" at a Protestant church this month in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

The local newspaper, the Patriot-Ledger, reported on the female Methodist minister's "completely unexpected" request from the cardinal here:

    “What moved me was not so much that I was anointing him,” she said. “It was him being willing to accept that from my hand – to ask me, as a woman in ministry, to do that.”

    A Rhode Island native, the Rev. [Anne] Robertson was the only female clergy member who assisted at a special 50th anniversary worship service at Sudbury United Methodist Church.


    As part of Sunday’s anniversary service, the 500 who filled Sudbury United Methodist to overflowing were invited to receive a drop of consecrated water on their forehead and be told, “Remember your baptism and be thankful.” The ritual resembles the ceremonial receiving of ashes on Ash Wednesday, but isn’t a formal United Methodist sacrament.

    Cardinal O’Malley and New England United Methodist Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar led the ritual in the sanctuary. The Rev. Robertson and a Catholic priest were on their way with small bowls of water to a side room, for others watching the service on a large-screen TV.

    She paused with the priest at the cardinal’s pew, so they could receive the baptism water from Cardinal O’Malley. The next moment, the cardinal quietly asked the Rev. Robertson to administer the water for him.

    “My heart immediately went to my throat,” she said. “To be asked that by the man who might be pope someday – I was stunned. I was choking back tears for hours.”

Same here.

The second item concerns the great Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.  Far from "playing dress up", this guardian of the liturgy is also out leading the flock in the great moral fight of our times.  A true shepherd, indeed.

  From Rorate:

Yesterday [Saturday, January 11, 2014], there was a public demonstration in the Piazza Santi Apostoli led by “Manif pour Tous—Italia”*, in defense of the natural family and against the approval of a law concerning homophobia, now in discussion in the Parliament.  The purpose of the demonstration (just like those in the past organized in the whole of Italy) is to safeguard freedom of thought and opinion (Article 21 in the Italian Constitution), and to safeguard the natural family, of which the Constitution speaks in Articles 29, 30 and 32, based on marriage between a man and a woman.

As always, we were present and helped with the organization.  The demonstration was marked by a great number of families, a great number of young people, and also priests. But as the jounrnalist, Marco Tosatte, sagely commented on his blog on “La Stampa”, of all Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals that fill the city of Rome, there was only one who was present at the demonstration: the American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.

Yes, you understood correctly.  That Cardinal who has been criticized so much because he is a lover of tradition and of beautiful liturgy, deeply held personal positions that today seem to be seen as something negative, to be thrown out and condemned.  Meanwhile, the only one present, the only one to make the support of the Church felt, the only one to give moral support in a battle on principles that are non-negotiable, being fought for by laity who are vigorously leading the battle against oppression of the spirit and of freedom of expression—the only one was Cardinal Burke.

At this point permit me a historical digression that offers a parallel to this situation.  We go back in memory exactly thirty years, in 1984, when another great Cardinal, Giuseppe Siri, gave an interview to Msgr. Virgilio Levi for the weekly magazine, Oggi.  On this occasion Msgr. Levi asked the Cardinal the following question in a provocative way:  “Your Eminence, why do you parade around in a pectoral cross made of gold and precious gems, when nearly all bishops at this time have restricted themselves to a simple cross of silver, metal or wood?”  The answer, quite lucid, was as follows:  “I do not parade around with this cross.  I wear it.  First of all because I am not a hypocrite.  I have seen wooden pectoral crosses encrusted with gems on the back facing the cassock.  What is the sense of that?  Secondly, because this cross was given to me as a gift when I was consecrated a bishop by the emigrants from Liguria living in Argentina, who number about 5 million, exactly twice those in their Motherland, and in wearing this cross I honor them, and I remember them.  Thirdly, because poverty is not about these things.  Finally, because I was praised by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, who, on the occasion of my trip to Russia recognized the honesty of a man who dared to visit that country wearing clerical dress and the signs of his rank without hiding them.”

Now we could write a long comment about this, but we are firmly convinced that it is not necessary, intelligenti pauca.

In the anomalous current trend to avoid clear positions on anything and to play down even the memory of the rituals associated with the Church in favor of dramatic, dialectical, and combative statements about poverty, no one finds the time to go down into the street and give living witness as asked for by the Pope in a loud voice during the Chrism Mass of March 28, 2013.  The words of Pope Frances echo in our hearts:  “…I ask this of you: be pastors who smell of the ‘smell of your sheep’.  May you hear these words!”  To this we say: Would that these words were heard! Would that these pastors were seen!

And we today have seen and heard only Cardinal Burke, a true pastor down among his sheep.