Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thought Experiment From Today's Readings

Consider this text from the first reading:

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Acts 2:36-40

Let's think about this for a moment. What would happen to a Catholic layman, priest, bishop, or even Pope Francis himself if they spoke in these terms, whether to a crowd of Jews, pagans, or Protestants who eschew baptism?

How would they be treated by their colleagues or even their fellow Catholics by saying something so non-ecumenical?

Let's also notice that Peter doesn't engage in dialogue here. He does not speak to the crowd as though their beliefs are on equal footing with his own. Instead, he speaks to them with authority. He argues. He is in full-blown evangelization mode here. What would happen if Peter was around today?

I submit that many ostensibly Catholic parishes would call for him to be cast out at best and stoned at worst.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christos Anesti!

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle's perfect praises.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants' hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

The essence of the Gospel. Who could imagine that the message of our salvation and the ultimate act of love from Almighty God could ever be so despised as it is in our day? Pray for those who reject this message, and remember Our Savior's love for us.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Before The Resurrection

Today we recall when Christ descended into hell. Not in the disgusting Balthasarian sense, but in the knowledge that:

Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit, In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison: Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.

1 Peter 3:18-20

It's in the Creed, so don't ignore this part of the Triduum. There's more to it than just suffered, died, rose again, and it goes to the entire reason for the Passion. Nobody went to heaven before this. They waited on salvation with faith in the Messiah to come. That faith is why they weren't condemned.

28 Q. How, then, were the Patriarchs of old, the Prophets, and the other just men of the Old Testament, saved?

A. The just of the Old Testament were saved in virtue of the faith they had in Christ to come, by means of which they spiritually belonged to the Church.

The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

This is significant because it truly shows that God gives sufficient grace of all to be saved, whether they lived in time to hear the fullness of His revelation or not. He makes allowances for such, which should strengthen our own hope for heaven some day.

Have a blessed Easter Vigil this evening.

Friday, April 18, 2014

For By Thy Holy Cross, Thou Hast Redeemed The World

Remember what Our Blessed Lord suffered for us.

PS: The Divine Mercy Novena begins today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Point To Ponder

I frequently hear folks of all stripes who find certain sinful activity "personally objectionable" make the argument that we shouldn't worry about whether or not the law sanctions such activity. This especially comes up a lot with homosexuals claiming the "right" to marry, but it also goes with stuff like the HHS mandate. "Just let them get married." "It doesn't really matter if the insurance pays for contraceptives." It's also something that tends to come up with certain businesses objecting to performing services for things like homosexual ceremonies.

Consider the following item:

For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. [27] And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. [28] And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, [30] Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, [31] oolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. [32] Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

Romans 1:26-32

In an interesting tidbit, St. Paul introduces this list of sins by starting with a condemnation of homosexuality. He closes it, however, with a condemnation not only of the sinners themselves, but also for those who consent to those sinners. I would think that this should be enough to give anyone thinking that we should blithely allow for the law to approve such sins or that we should devote portions of our business to activities celebrating sin at least some pause.


While I Was Out

Since a few people have asked, here's a musical answer:

Yeah, I know most of you probably hate Creed, but I couldn't think of another song with appropriate subject matter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Archbishop Rummel: April 16, 1962

This is Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans. Fifty-two years ago today, he excommunicated three laypersons in his diocese. Why? Because they had actively organized against his efforts to desegregate the Catholic schools in his jurisdiction. One was a parish judge. Another was a journalist.

When you hear about how bishops can't or shouldn't invoke canonical penalties against politicians or general laypeople for agitating against the Church or flaunting the authority of the ordinary, remember Archbishop Rummel. He was 85 years old when all this happened and, as you can imagine, not in the best of health. But he went ahead with the ultimate weapon in his arsenal.

So what do we have now? Lots of excuses, to be sure. Ask your friends if they think Archbishop Rummel's actions were justified. I'm sure you'll get unanimous kudos and praise for his courage. Yet a bishop who dared to exhibit such fortitude against proponents of homosexuality or women priests or indifferentism or sacrilegious liturgies or whatever would be crucified not just by the media but even by allegedly faithful Catholics simply because he chose to act like a bishop and refuse to allow the tides of sin to sweep away his flock without there being consequences.

We live in utterly diabolical times.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Pope Warns Against Hell And The Devil

For some reason, though, I haven't seen these items in any mainstream outlets.

First, in a condemnation of the Mafia, Pope Francis said the following, per Zenit:

This life you are living now, it won’t bring you pleasure, it won’t give you joy, it won’t bring you happiness. The power, the money, that you possess now from so many dirty jobs, from so many mafia crimes, is blood money, it is power soaked in blood, and you cannot take it with you to the next life. Convert, there is still time, so that you don’t end up in hell.

Aww, man. What a buzzkill. Imagine the nerve of the Holy Father! Wanting to keep people out of hell! Or suggesting that someone might actually go to hell! Or even mentioning that there is a hell in the first place!

After all, who is he to judge?

Make sure nobody tells the universalists who have embedded themselves so firmly in the Church. I wonder if Scalfari is still holding on to that "the Pope abolished sin" crap.

To follow that up, the Pope had the audacity to bring up the reality of the Devil and demonic possession:

Pope Francis said, “There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness’. They do not read thus, no? It is true that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the Devil.”

“And we do not have the right to simplify the matter,” said Pope Francis, “as if to say: ‘All of these [people] were not possessed; they were mentally ill.’ No! The presence of the Devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the Devil, with the victory of God over the Devil.” 

As for his comments on Satan and other demons, the Pope said, “Some may say, but, Father, you're too old fashioned. You're frightening us with these things.’ No, it's not me! It is the Gospel! And these are not lies: it is the Word of the Lord. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to take these things seriously. He came to fight for our salvation. He won against the Devil. Please, let's not do business with the Devil. He wants to come back home, to take possession … Don't accept relativism, be vigilant. And always with Jesus!”  

How disturbing and delightful at the same time! File these away for when you hear from all the alleged Pope Francis fans who like him because they think he's a modernist heretic.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forced Indifferentism

Remember, no matter what you hear about Christians being persecuted, it isn't true.

So when you come across stories like this one, where a Catholic school in Quebec is being forced to teach that all religions are equal and that Catholicism is on the same level as the basest paganism, understand that it's for our own good.

"It is the same thought process that has been the genesis for prohibitions on blasphemy in other jurisdictions. The whole idea behind blasphemy laws in some parts of the world is that you don't want to offend different religions, and so what they (the Quebec government) do is argue that they promote tolerance and understanding, but rather they want to control what is said," Gerald Chipeur, Q.C., of the Canadian firm Miller Thompson LLP, told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Wednesday.

I wonder how long before we'll this this sort of thing in the US.

The Catholic high school has argued that it does not object to teaching the 2008 government-mandated ethics and religion course, which is required to be taught in all private and public schools, but asked to be allowed to teach the course in good conscience. The problem they found with the course was that it insisted that all religions, including Wicca and pagan rites, are equally valid. The government has also prohibited teachers from expressing preference for any one faith.

Imagine that. Catholic teachers at a Catholic school can't express a preference for Catholicism. We are truly through the looking glass.

But yeah, I know. "It could never happen here," said everyone in every country where the previously referenced "it" happened shortly thereafter.

Monday, March 24, 2014

God Bless The Church In Africa

Whether it's being persecuted by Mohammedans or being pressured into the acceptance of sodomy by the West, they are in a tough spot.

They do have a bunch of good bishops there, though, and one of them recently blasted the West for its hypocrisy on these matters. A huge hat tip to Tancred, who seems to come up on these stories earlier and more often than anyone else (yes, I know Rorate mentioned his follow-up, but Tancred was first).

Anyways, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos in Nigeria was scathing in his criticisms.

Archbishop Kaigama stressed that the position of the Church in Nigeria corresponds exactly to the teaching of the Catholic Church. He said, "We defend the moral values ​​of the Bible, the tradition of the Nigerian people." "The defense of the moral value of the Bible can never be discrimination," said the chairman of the Bishops' Conference of the most populous African country.

The archbishop also criticized the one-sidedness of the West, "though always with you when it comes to the so-called gay rights in Nigeria" you run, but to the ongoing terror attacks by the Islamic militia Boko Haram you only stammer. "Constantly new violence, burned and mutilated bodies, women and children who are killed in a terrible rhythm: this is the emergency afflicting our country," but nothing from Europe on this. But for "gay rights" the EU, the European Parliament and other international institutions will mobilize.

Such courage from this shepherd! Would that we had more like him!

He didn't stop there, though. In a shot against the Ra's al Gores of the world, he continued:

"In all the villages of Nigeria, there are women who have no education and girls who do not attend school. They can not read or write, but they have the morning after pill . When they are questioned, they know which pill they have when to take abort. How can that be? Who tells them that and gives them the morning after pill, pushing it into her hand? It is the western governmental and non-governmental organizations that impose their ideas on us. And these 'values' mean birth control. This is worth much money and effort from the West. And why do they do that? To ensure that our government gets international economic aid, they must accept this Western policy. But that is called coercion. A culture and a mentality is imposed that is not ours, for we Nigerians do not despise life."

Yet the secularists, with their boatloads of hypocrisy, will give lip service to how great they think African culture is and how refreshing it is in comparison to Western decadence. All the while, they are trying to turn Africans into us by baptizing them into the cult of Thanatos.

And for all the "who am I to judge?" groupies, Archbishop Kaigama had a final offering:

To the law against "gay marriage" said Archbishop Kaigama: "We say very clearly: We don't hate anybody. We respect homosexuals as people, and we support them when their rights are violated as a human beings. The Church has there then and defends them. But we also say quite clearly that homosexual acts are contrary to nature. They flatly contradict what we defend. Powerful organizations who blackmail our government would like us to legalize gay marriage. And when they say that there are occasional homosexual tendencies in Africa, we say quite clearly that they are aberrations. We respect the dignity of marriage between a man and a woman. We will not give in to the West, just because it has money with which it can put pressure on us," said Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos.

It's good to hear someone who isn't willing to sell their souls and those of their flock for a few dollars. Bravo, Your Excellency! Keep fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bishop Joseph Fan, Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him, O Lord

And let the perpetual light shine upon him.

Bishop Joseph was bishop of Shanghai. He passed away Monday. He was 96 years old and had been under house arrest for a long, long time. You might remember him from this article which we've posted before and which you should read and then re-read. My wife had been assigned to pray for him every day for the last several years. He was a great man.

Naturally, the scum that runs the Chinese government deprived His Excellency of a proper funeral Mass. Please pray for Bishop Joseph's soul. He suffered a dry martyrdom for the rights of the Holy Catholic Church. It's amazing how many people take communion with Rome so flippantly while guys like Bishop Joseph are basically willing to die for it.

Pray for the Church in China as well, especially Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who saw the error of his ways and returned to the Church after being affiliated with the fake "Patriotic Church." Pray for the government of China that they will abandon their persecution.

Finally, support the Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick And Dialogue

At the close of this marvelous St. Patrick's Day, I have been thinking about the role of guys like him in the early days of the Church and what it must have been like to work in evangelizing the pagans.

Then I considered something that Pope Francis recently said from a Zenit article:

Jesus, the Pope explained, "firmly rejects all these temptations and reiterates His determination to follow the path set out by the Father, without compromising with sin and with the logic of the world. … This is why Jesus, instead of entering into a dialogue like Eve, chooses to take refuge in God's Word and responds with the power of this Word. We should remember this when we are tempted ourselves: do not argue with Satan, always defend ourselves with the Word of God. And this will save us".

The Pope hear criticizes the idea of entering into a dialogue with Satan. St. Paul would seem to agree with this:

Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: And I will receive you; and I will be a Father to you; and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Now, if we are to believe the Holy Spirit and the Psalmist:

For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils

Psalm 95:5

In other words, all these pagan deities are demons. The Psalmist is clear on this. St. Paul is clear on this. If you don't believe me, check with the Fathers as well. I've yet to find an interpretation in them that yields an alternative view. St. Augustine's City of God, for example.

So here's my question.

If we aren't supposed to dialogue with the Devil, it would stand to reason that we aren't supposed to dialogue with his ministers. If these false religions are demonic in nature, then their ministers are tools of Satan, regardless of how sincere they are. Why then does it seem like the Church's main interaction with these false religions nowadays consists solely in dialogue? Why are we still seeing Assisi events and the like?

Would St. Patrick have invited the pagans to such things? When St. Boniface was cutting down the pagans' sacred tree, was he interested in dialogue? These guys got results and they did it by looking at false religions for what they are, namely, things that destroy people. Out of love for these lost souls, they didn't see their false religion as something to be admired. They saw it as something to be annihilated.

But now, we have dialogue. The Fathers' view converted whole civilizations. Our current posture has led to indifferentism and ruin.

St. Patrick, pray for us.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Maybe This Makes Me A Bad Person

But when I read this article from Zenit about Cardinal Kasper, and I read comments like this:

“My main intention was not to speak about divorced and remarried people but to speak about the Gospel of the family …. I think the majority of young people want stable relationships, want to live in a family….and therefore the Church has to help them so I wanted to build up a new, better, more deep understanding of family life.”

“Then I spoke also about the situation when people fail with their family life….and the Church has to be close to them, to help, support and encourage them and there my proposal (was) to find a way between ‘rigorism’ (strictness) – which cannot be the way of normal Christians – and a pure ‘laxism’ (leniency),” he said. “I think this can be the only approach of the Church today.”

I can't help but think of this:

Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious arts; for they double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and since audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality. Finally, and this almost destroys all hope of cure, their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.

Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Living In Miss Sanger's Paradise

The headline from the National Review says it all:

More Black Babies Aborted than Born in New York City

It even provides the actual stats:

In 2012, black women in New York City aborted over 6,500 more children than they gave birth to. Data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that, among non-hispanic black women, there were 31,328 “induced terminations” to 24,758 live births, according to a CNS News report.

In total, there were almost 74,000 abortions in New York in 2012, meaning that 42.4 percent of all abortions were of black children. Hispanic children accounted for 31 percent of those aborted in the city at a total of nearly 23,000.

Altogether, black and Hispanic abortions were 73 percent of the total of 73,815 abortions in New York in 2012.

For years, New York has had the highest abortion rate of any city in the nation.

Here's a weird thing. The disproportionate number of minorities who are subjected to the death penalty has long brought accusations of racism against the judicial system regarding how capital punishment is applied. Yet when we see numbers like 73% of all babies murdered in NYC were minorities, nobody bats an eye. In fact, the response to this kind of stuff is to try and make abortion more readily available. Yes, a response even by those who are allegedly Catholic.

It's not a popular book of the Bible, but it's times like this when I recall the first chapter of Habakkuk:

[2] How long, O Lord, shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? shall I cry out to thee suffering violence, and thou wilt not save? [3] Why hast thou shewn me iniquity and grievance, to see rapine and injustice before me? and there is a judgment, but opposition is more powerful. [4] Therefore the law is torn in pieces, and judgment cometh not to the end: because the wicked prevaileth against the just, therefore wrong judgment goeth forth. [5] Behold ye among the nations, and see: wonder, and be astonished: for a work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told.

Read the rest of it at the link above. At some point, God will have had enough of all this. Then, we'll be sorry. Just remember, though. We all got it comin'.

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Cardinal Appointees

Per Zenit, we now know the red hat members of the new Council for Economic Affairs that is supposed to have some sort of role with the new Secretariat for the Economy that will be charged with managing the Vatican's finances. Again, I have to wonder how all this new bureaucracy yields reform. Regardless:

The appointed members are:

- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany (coordinator);

- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru;

- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A.;

- Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa;

- Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France;

- Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico;

- Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China;

- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome

If you are looking for a diverse group of views on theology and economics, this group has it all. For example, I don't think you'd normally see a lot of similarities between the views of Cardinals Thorne and Carrera vs. those of Cardinals Marx and Napier, for example. Overall, I'd say it's a more positive group than not.

I still don't quite get how all these new entities are supposed to work, though.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Visual For Today's Gospel

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Luke 5:27-32

I love Caravaggio's work, and this one and this Gospel are good items to ponder. There aren't a lot of positives about Matthew/Levi anywhere in Scripture. He was a sinner. As was Peter. As was Paul. And so forth. As are we.

We forget that a lot, though. Not the part about others being sinners. We typically have zero problems recalling that. Ourselves? We are immaculately conceived and the swellest folk that God ever ordained to walk the earth.

We all deserve hell. All of us. It is only through an act of extraordinary and supernatural mercy that God forgives us, so much so that we can partake of His own divine nature. Yet we have people who can proclaim that sin is abolished by the authority of the Pope himself (as if such a thing were possible) and be taken seriously.

Let's ask the Holy Father about sin:

“This thing can happen to all of us,” he said. “We are all sinners and we are all tempted and temptation is our daily bread. If one of us said: ‘I never had a temptation’, either you’re a cherubim or a bit stupid, no?” 

 “Struggle is normal in life and the devil is never calm, he wants his victory. But the problem - the most serious problem in this passage - is not so much temptation and the sin against the 9th commandment, but how David behaves. And David here does not speak of sin, he speaks of a problem that he needs to resolve. This is a sign! When the Kingdom of God is lessened, when the Kingdom of God decreases, one of the signs is that the sense of sin is lost.”

Judgment for our sins will come. May God grant that we have responded like Matthew rather than Judas.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Thought From Jeremiah

Consider this while living as a Catholic in a society that is increasingly enamored with death and sterility:

Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, to all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: [5] Build ye houses, and dwell in them: and plant orchards, and eat the fruit of them. [6] Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters: and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, and let them bear sons and daughters: and be ye multiplied there, and be not few in number.

Jeremiah 29:4-6

It's pretty self-explanatory, yes? Jeremiah is bringing God's message to those carried away in the Babylonian captivity. Even in their exile, God instructs them to have babies. Then make sure that their babies grow up, get married, and have more babies.

We find ourselves exiled in a world that has surpassed Babylon in our desire to insult God. And our solution has been to embrace a neo-pagan outlook and give ourselves over to sin and vice, eschewing what was heretofore known as not only a basic principle of existence, but even a badge of honor. How many times does Scripture speak of children as a blessing and the happiness of those with large families?

In our resounding non serviam, though, we have opted for fruitless couplings and the murder of the unborn accidentally conceived.

It's just weird to see things like this in Scripture and such a blase attitude about it among Catholics and Protestants alike.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

75 Years Ago Today

Our Holy Father, Venerable Pope Pius XII, began his reign as the Successor of St. Peter.

Venerable Pius XII, pray for us.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Note On Ukraine

While the world sits idly by watching Putin reconstitute the Soviet Union, please pray for our brethren in Ukraine.

First, Russia has a bad habit of periodically murdering lots of Eastern Catholics, stealing the Church's property, and generally trying to wipe any remnant of Catholicism off the map.

Second, Putin is ex-KGB, along with probably at least a good bit of the Russian Orthodox hierarchy. Old grudges die hard.

Third, in a age of widespread ecumenism (good or bad), Russia has been engaged in some hardcore ecclesiastical aggression. When you throw in the already-existing bad feelings against Catholicism in Ukraine, this all adds up to a bad situation and probably lots of martyrs.

Right now, I hope that a lot of the "traditionalist" Catholics who have been all moon-eyed over Putin as the last great defender of Christianity think a bit on all this and regain their sanity.

I also hope that Pope Francis makes a direct intervention. Sure, the Holy Father doesn't have any divisions to send in, but there might be other stuff he could do. Pope Francis has a lot of good will right now. For decades, we've tried to play nice with Moscow, despite that particular see's cold shoulder. It's time to take whatever stand is possible.

Raise Kiev to the highest ecclesiastical level possible. Make it a patriarchate. Try to demonstrate how serious the Church regards all this. It's not much, but it might be enough to at least spare some of the more overt bloodshed of our brothers and sisters.

St. Josaphat, please pray for Ukraine and the persecuted Church all over the world.

Friday, February 28, 2014

More Dangers From The Pill

And I'm not even talking about the spiritual ones.

Oral contraceptives linked to increased risk of multiple sclerosis

So yet again, we have the pill tied to some horrific health consequences. For those who don't recall the other ones, you can check the links here.

Here's the great line from the above article that really drives home the insanity that holds sway in the realm of chemical self-sterilization:

In a new study, researchers found an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) among women who have taken oral contraceptives. However, the findings do not mean women should stop using birth control, the researchers say.

In other words, "Yeah, we think it might wreck your nervous system, but go ahead and stick with it." We have had nation-wide freak outs over way less. The whole thing is tragically comical.

Again, though, we have to ask: What would it take to break our nation's addiction to the pill?

Evangelii Gaudium, Part Four

Continuing on.

70. It is also true that at times greater emphasis is placed on the outward expressions and traditions of some groups, or on alleged private revelations which would replace all else, than on the impulse of Christian piety. There is a kind of Christianity made up of devotions reflecting an individual and sentimental faith life which does not in fact correspond to authentic “popular piety”. Some people promote these expressions while not being in the least concerned with the advancement of society or the formation of the laity, and in certain cases they do so in order to obtain economic benefits or some power over others.

I wonder if I’m the only guy who thought of Medjugorge while reading this.

Nor can we overlook the fact that in recent decades there has been a breakdown in the way Catholics pass down the Christian faith to the young. It is undeniable that many people feel disillusioned and no longer identify with the Catholic tradition. Growing numbers of parents do not bring their children for baptism or teach them how to pray. There is also a certain exodus towards other faith communities. The causes of this breakdown include: a lack of opportunity for dialogue in families, the influence of the communications media, a relativistic subjectivism, unbridled consumerism which feeds the market, lack of pastoral care among the poor, the failure of our institutions to be welcoming, and our difficulty in restoring a mystical adherence to the faith in a pluralistic religious landscape. 

This is all pretty good stuff. Our disregard for the liturgy fits squarely into the Pope’s last category. At the bare minimum, it acknowledges that there’s a problem. So many prelates seem to deny there is a crisis in the Church at all or offer decidedly non-Catholic remedies for combating it.

At this point, the exhortation diverges into a long discussion of city life, including the following statement:

This challenges us to imagine innovative spaces and possibilities for prayer and communion which are more attractive and meaningful for city dwellers. Through the influence of the media, rural areas are being affected by the same cultural changes, which are significantly altering their way of life as well. 

Here’s an innovative idea. The people I know who live in highly urbanized areas desire peace and quiet and reflection more than just about anything else. I strongly believe that promoting the Traditional Mass in these areas, rather than ghettoizing it, would be a tremendous draw for those who want a refuge from the noise and clamor of the city.

78. Today we are seeing in many pastoral workers, including consecrated men and women, an inordinate concern for their personal freedom and relaxation, which leads them to see their work as a mere appendage to their life, as if it were not part of their very identity. At the same time, the spiritual life comes to be identified with a few religious exercises which can offer a certain comfort but which do not encourage encounter with others, engagement with the world or a passion for evangelization. As a result, one can observe in many agents of evangelization, even though they pray, a heightened individualism, a crisis of identity and a cooling of fervour. These are three evils which fuel one another. 

Let me offer an example of this. This piece was written by the wife of a diaconate candidate. First, let’s look beyond the absurdity of her comparing her selfish frustrations with the process to Christ’s Passion. Second, notice what the primary concern is in all her reflections. Is it the work of God? No. It’s her own feelings and her getting a place at the table. She might as well have just gone around saying “Do you know who I am?”

This is also a phenomenon witnessed frequently among the disco liturgy crowd and anything that reeks of making “me” the most significant element of what the Church does.

80. Pastoral workers can thus fall into a relativism which, whatever their particular style of spirituality or way of thinking, proves even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism. It has to do with the deepest and inmost decisions that shape their way of life. This practical relativism consists in acting as if God did not exist, making decisions as if the poor did not exist, setting goals as if others did not exist, working as if people who have not received the Gospel did not exist. It is striking that even some who clearly have solid doctrinal and spiritual convictions frequently fall into a lifestyle which leads to an attachment to financial security, or to a desire for power or human glory at all cost, rather than giving their lives to others in mission. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary enthusiasm! 

I would disagree with this insofar as it reverses cause and effect. Doctrinal relativism is often at the root of the “lifestyle relativism” the Pope mentions. The Church’s social doctrine is, after all, doctrinal. Consider, though, the LCWR types who are fine with the murder of babies while thinking that our biggest problem is that homosexuals can’t have fake marriages. This is a doctrinal problem first.

81. At a time when we most need a missionary dynamism which will bring salt and light to the world, many lay people fear that they may be asked to undertake some apostolic work and they seek to avoid any responsibility that may take away from their free time. For example, it has become very difficult today to find trained parish catechists willing to persevere in this work for some years. Something similar is also happening with priests who are obsessed with protecting their free time. This is frequently due to the fact that people feel an overbearing need to guard their personal freedom, as though the task of evangelization was a dangerous poison rather than a joyful response to God’s love which summons us to mission and makes us fulfilled and productive. Some resist giving themselves over completely to mission and thus end up in a state of paralysis and acedia… 

83. And so the biggest threat of all gradually takes shape: “the gray pragmatism of the daily life of the Church, in which all appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small-mindedness”.[63] A tomb psychology thus develops and slowly transforms Christians into mummies in a museum. Disillusioned with reality, with the Church and with themselves, they experience a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope, which seizes the heart like “the most precious of the devil’s potions”.[64] Called to radiate light and communicate life, in the end they are caught up in things that generate only darkness and inner weariness, and slowly consume all zeal for the apostolate. For all this, I repeat: Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization!

But again, what is the source of all this? Is it just laziness? If so, where does the laziness comes from? This is all a product of not believing what the Church teaches. The saints evangelized because they wanted to keep people out of hell, including themselves. They loved so intensely that they couldn’t bear the thought of not participating in the Master’s mission or following His command to preach the Gospel and baptize the nations. With this motivation removed, it’s easy to slack off.

84. Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, we are distressed by the troubles of our age and far from naive optimism; yet the fact that we are more realistic must not mean that we are any less trusting in the Spirit or less generous. In this sense, we can once again listen to the words of Blessed John XXIII on the memorable day of 11 October 1962: “At times we have to listen, much to our regret, to the voices of people who, though burning with zeal, lack a sense of discretion and measure. In this modern age they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin … We feel that we must disagree with those prophets of doom who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand. In our times, divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by human effort and even beyond all expectations, are directed to the fulfilment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs, in which everything, even human setbacks, leads to the greater good of the Church”.[65] 

Can we just admit that Blessed John was wrong when he said this?

86. In some places a spiritual “desertification” has evidently come about, as the result of attempts by some societies to build without God or to eliminate their Christian roots. In those places “the Christian world is becoming sterile, and it is depleting itself like an overexploited ground, which transforms into a desert”.[66] In other countries, violent opposition to Christianity forces Christians to hide their faith in their own beloved homeland. This is another painful kind of desert. But family and the workplace can also be a parched place where faith nonetheless has to be preserved and communicated. Yet “it is starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, by the example of their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive”.[67] In these situations we are called to be living sources of water from which others can drink. At times, this becomes a heavy cross, but it was from the cross, from his pierced side, that our Lord gave himself to us as a source of living water. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of hope! 

Notice how contrary this is to the prevailing narrative of religion in society. We are increasingly told that religion is a private matter and not for public discussion and certainly not a basis for cultural transformation. How odd that the Pope’s call on this front has been ignored. What would Nancy Pelosi/Joe Biden do?

More to come...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Our Very Own Humanae Vitae Moment

Prof. Ralph McInerny wrote a book called What Went Wrong With Vatican II? His basic point was that nothing actually went wrong with the Council. The post-conciliar chaos is really more a function of the revolt that occurred after Humanae Vitae. This is something we should pay attention to because there are rumblings of just such another revolt on the horizon.

We've mentioned before about how various parties are attempting to overthrow the Church's moral teaching via a more "pastoral" approach to the situation of the divorced/remarried Catholic. Tancred has been doing a good job keeping track of the scorecard. Despite Cardinal Muller's claims that there are no divisions on this point, I'm afraid the reality of others' statements show that he is wrong.

I can see the upcoming Synod on the Family turning very ugly on this. It will be Humanae Vitae all over again, with whackjobs running around telling the press and the laity that the Church is going to be changing its teaching and all other kinds of insanities. We might even see a formal report coming out on the side of such a change. Like with Humanae Vitae. Then a minority report written by the non-delusional. I would fully expect Pope Francis to uphold the Church's teaching on this matter.

Then all hell will break loose.

I wonder especially about guys like Cardinal Maradiaga, who has no problems taking cheap shots at Cardinal Muller (and maybe even Pope Benedict). He recently made a comment about how one could legitimately criticize the Pope as long as it's done in love. That will be how the firestorm is couched if all this comes to pass. People will "lovingly" trash Pope Francis and explain that he's just confused or misinformed or whatever. He'll just be a nice old man who doesn't understand the times. And then they will revolt and it will be Winnipeg Statements all over the world.

But all the Pope-bashing will be out of love.

Pray for the Pope and for the bishops, especially those who will be attending the Synod.

Pope Francis With A TRIDENTINE Shout-Out!

Per Rorate:

The Second Vatican Council states that to the Bishops "is fully entrusted the pastoral office, that is the habitual and daily care of their flock" (Lumen Gentium, 27). We must dwell more on these two descriptions of the care of the flock: habitual and daily. In our time assiduity and habituality are often associated with daily routine and boredom. So often we try to escape to a permanent "elsewhere". This is a temptation for Shepherds, for all pastors! The spiritual fathers must explain it well, so that we understand it and will not fall. Even in the Church, unfortunately, we are not exempt from this risk. Therefore, it is important to reiterate that the mission of the Bishop requires habituality and daily dedication. I think that in this age of meetings and conferences the decree of the Council of Trent on residency is so up-to-date: it is so up-to-date and it would be nice if the Congregation for Bishops wrote something about this. The flock need to find space in the heart of the Shepherd. If he is not firmly anchored within himself, in Christ and in his Church, he will be constantly buffeted by the waves in search of ephemeral compensation and will not offer any shelter to the flock.

This is pretty awesome. As Rorate points out, though, the jet-setting bishop thing is very much a product of the post-conciliar pandemonium. The Council itself is cited as the reason for all this trekking around, especially among the ecumenical "experts" crowd. We've mentioned events like these in posts before like the ones here.

This would be a great starting point for reforms. Since 90% of all the Vatican's ecumenical activities are utterly worthless, we should be thinking of all the money and resources that could be saved just by eliminating these conferences, seminars, etc. Let's just go the distance and ditch the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue. Anything they were doing that was worthwhile can be transferred to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hilarity Ensues

With Joe Bob Briggs commentary: