Today's Gospel is grounded in the story of The Deluge, the Great Flood. The story of which, by the way, is going to be a movie with Russell Crowe as Noah. Here's the preview for those who haven't seen it yet:
Anyways, let's take a look at what Jesus says in today's reading:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left."
This is one of several Biblical allusions to the Ark and its connection with salvation typology. It's spelled out a bit more by St. Peter:
Long before, they had refused belief, hoping that God would be patient with them, in the days of Noe. That ark which Noe was then building, in which a few souls, eight in all, found refuge as they passed through the waves, was a type of the baptism which saves us now.
1 Peter 3:20-21
Let's unwind this a bit more, especially in light of the whole "Will Many Be Saved?" question and the general reluctance of people to consider the possibility of damnation.
First, I want to point out for any "Rapture" types that like to reflect on this verse that the ones getting "carried away" are the wicked, not the righteous. The righteous, Noah in this case, are the ones left behind. This is what Jesus says, which carries a bit more weight than Tim LaHaye.
Now that that is out of the way, let's look at the story itself. We know that God sent the Deluge because mankind was so wicked. We also know that He spared Noah and his clan because of Noah's faithfulness. Whether or not his family was equally faithful, we don't know specifically, but there is evidence on both sides.
We know that God is willing to spare the multitude of the wicked for the sake of the righteous. Sodom and Gomorrah would have been fine if Abraham could have found ten virtuous folks. Moses successfully pled the case of the Israelites to God in order to prevent their destruction. God is good and merciful like that. In the case of the Deluge, there obviously weren't enough of the faithful to warrant a withholding of God's justice. The result is a Sodom/Gomorrah-style purging.
Now, if we believe that a people can be so wicked that God would be willing to destroy whole cities or nations, is it not reasonable to think that such people were wicked enough to be in hell? After all, God didn't use fire and brimstone even on the Nazis.
Even ignoring the parallels between the Ark and the Church, we clearly see those saved in the Ark as a type of God's elect who are preserved from destruction. The rest are condemned. Which is the greater number?
I'm not posting this as direct speculation on the number of the elect or reprobate. I do think that it is an indication that people should take salvation more seriously.
I find many who believe in the Deluge as a literally global phenomenon and have no trouble with the idea of God destroying thousands or millions of people as a consequence of their wickedness. What they don't do is take it to the next level. What was the final destination of that multitude? Since they are classed as universally wicked, hell is at least on the table for them, right?
"Yes," some might say, "but God only destroyed their bodies. He didn't give them the eternal punishment of hell by sending the Flood."
Well, yeah, He actually did. Again, if we can agree that the wicked go to Hell, and we know all these people were wicked, what does that mean? It means that God's justice in allowing evil people to perish in their wickedness, even if that would be 99.9999% of the world, is perfectly just and keeping with God's goodness (if we believe the Bible, at least).
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Today's Gospel is grounded in the story of The Deluge, the Great Flood. The story of which, by the way, is going to be a movie with Russell Crowe as Noah. Here's the preview for those who haven't seen it yet:
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I saw this on Creative Minority Report:
The owner of the last remaining abortion facility in Mississippi told reporters last week that she believes God wants her to be a part of the abortion industry.
“I feel like God wants me to do this job,” Diane Derzis, owner of Jackson Women’s Organization, told the Associated Press in a report published on Saturday.
Derzis operates several abortion facilities in the south, including one in Columbus, Georgia and Richmond, Virginia. She also owned New Women, All Women in Birmingham, Alabama until the facility was ordered closed this past August by a federal judge.
“I thank God every day I had that abortion,” she told reporters, noting that she herself had an abortion as a newlywed because she did not want to have any children. “It was not a great experience, but you know what? I had a safe abortion. And that’s what counts.”
Holy freaking smokes. I wonder if she's ever stopped to wonder who her god is.
Here's a hint.
Boniface at Unam Sanctam has done a marvelous series of posts on the recent controversy about whether or not hell is empty. I am linking to the posts in sequence:
Fr. Barron and Mark Shea and Balthasar are Wrong
Hell and the Sensus Fidelium
Balthasar and Denial of the Ordinary Magisterium
Spe Salvi and Universal Salvation (a topic we briefly referenced here in our post on Ralph Martin's book Will Many Be Saved?)
Read the posts. Read the Martin book. They provide a lot of clarification on a critically important issue for which the waters have been unnecessarily muddied for way too long.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Remember that previous bit about German bishops looking to ok sacrilege and how Archbishop Mueller explained that it couldn't be done?
Turns out the bishops don't give a crap.
A German bishop has said that the country’s episcopal conference will move forward with plans to allow Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, despite clear disapproval from the Vatican.
Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Stuttgart told a lay group, the Central Committee of German Catholics, that the German bishops have already drafted new guidelines for the reception of Communion by divorced/remarried Catholics, and hope to vote their approval to those new rules in March 2014. Bishop Fürst said that the German hierarchy is responding to demands from the faithful. “Expectations are great, and impatience and anger are greater still,” he said.
Demands from the faithful? So that's where we get our morality from now? What the "faithful" demand?
First, if they were faithful, they wouldn't be making such a demand.
Second, this is a perfect example of how authority has been completely relinquished by the folks who are supposed to be the shepherds in favor of the applause of man.
Not that I'm expecting formal degradation for these guys, but something is going to have to be done. The above report neglects Cardinal Marx's involvement that we mentioned previously, which has the potential to complicate things even further. Heretics and schismatics have often gotten by through patronage by powerful members of the Curia. Cardinal Marx is now about as high as one can get. Higher than +Mueller? We'll see.
I sincerely hope that this isn't a replay of Wittenberg, with Germany leading the way into schism, but it seems to be heading in that direction. Everyone please pray for the intercession of St. Boniface in stamping out this weed that has grown up in the German Church.
The pic is of St. Boniface cutting down the pagans' sacred tree.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Differences of opinion in the application of principles can sometimes arise even among sincere Catholics. When this happens, they should be careful not to lose their respect and esteem for each other. Instead, they should strive to find points of agreement for effective and suitable action, and not wear themselves out in interminable arguments, and, under pretext of the better or the best, omit to do the good that is possible and therefore obligatory. First, I haven't read it yet. I'm going to and will post thoughts, but I don't have any specifics right now.
Second, having not read it, I am confused at how a document on evangelization is getting so much publicity on points relating to economics. I'll see what the deal is when I read it, but until then, let us recall that (a) the press knows nothing about the corpus of Catholic social teaching, (b) the desire of people to interpret the entire meaning of this document in light of circumstances in the United States is ridiculous, and (c) in these types of matters, Catholics should always bring to mind the words of Blessed John XXIII:
Differences of opinion in the application of principles (regarding social justice and economics) can sometimes arise even among sincere Catholics. When this happens, they should be careful not to lose their respect and esteem for each other. Instead, they should strive to find points of agreement for effective and suitable action, and not wear themselves out in interminable arguments, and, under pretext of the better or the best, omit to do the good that is possible and therefore obligatory.
Bl. John XXIII, Mater et Magistra
Third, there has been a lot of emoting, almost hysteria, over the reports on what the Pope said/allegedly said. Given the track record of such reporting, I'm about 99.9% sure this is all a bunch of crap. To make a point, though, I direct you to this prior post, specifically the remarks about Honorius and Benedict IX. Or you can just think of Pope John XXII. If the Pope says something that sounds off, as John XXII did, what is the proper course of action? Well, unless it's binding the Church to error or unveiling himself as a formal heretic, what do you think? If someone brings it up to you, just tell them that you can't really comment because you aren't sure what the Pope meant in light of prior teaching, but that whatever he meant, there can't be a contradiction. If there is, then he either didn't mean that, or he's wrong.
For the moment, I think everyone should chill out and take time to read what he wrote.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
A couple of more Pope Francis stories that will get zero mainstream circulation have hit.
First, the Scalfari interview that we previously mentioned was removed from the Vatican website now turns out to have been the result of shenanigans on the part of the interviewer. Here's the Register's take. Here's my favorite part:
“I try to understand the person I am interviewing, and after that, I write his answers with my own words,” Scalfari explained.
He conceded that it is therefore possible that “some of the Pope’s words I reported were not shared by Pope Francis.”
In other words, "I talk to the person and then I write down the stuff that I would have said." Holy smokes. This guy is allowed to be a journalist? He and Dan Rather are probably huge pals.
Here's hoping (again) the Pope has gotten a huge wake-up call regarding his dealings with the press, whether he thinks they are friendly or not.
On a different note, Pope Francis sent a letter to Cardinal Brandmuller that has a couple of distinguishing characteristics.
First, it gives another example of Pope Francis giving his views as those of a "hermeneutic of continuity" guy.
Second, not only does he throw in with the "continuity" view, he mentions Pope Benedict as a touchstone of such a perspective.
Third, the letter is written in commemoration of the Council.
No, not Vatican II. TRENT.
You are definitely not going to hear the Distorter or America or any of the other McBrienesque publications mentioning that Pope Francis dropping lines like:
Graciously hearing the very same Holy Ghost, the Holy Church of our age, even now, continues to restore and meditate upon the most abundant doctrine of Trent.
Thank you, Holy Father, for getting this stuff out there. It was greatly needed.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Here are some snips from a recent address that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gave to the Global Forum sponsored by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. I confess that I have no idea how big of a deal this organization is.
I do know that His Eminence is kind of a big deal, so his remarks merit some examination.
What is at the centre of our concern is the human person, man and woman. The human person is the object of the attention of political and religious leaders. Each one of us is a citizen and a believer. All of us belong to the same human family. It means that we share the same dignity, we are confronted by the same problems, we enjoy the same rights and we are called to accomplish the same duties.
But unfortunately, we have to recognize that too often: we judge people on their appearance or on their ‘production’, even though every human person is much more than how he or she appears or is able to produce; we reduce the human person to an object (I am thinking of all the problems raised by bio-technology), while the human person transcends his/her material dimension;
Nothing really to see here. These are all legit concerns, despite the fuzziness of the central concern being man rather than God. He brings up big issues, though, which deserve our attention and which popes have been ringing the alarm bells on for a while.
Interreligious dialogue teaches us: to be careful not to present the religion of the other in a bad light in schools, universities, the mass media and, in particular, in the religious discourse; not to demean the religious convictions of the others, especially when they are not present; to consider diversity – ethical, cultural, vision of the world – as richness, not as a threat.
What does this mean? Taking for granted that Catholicism is the One, True Faith, as Catholics are obligated to believe, this necessarily means that other religions are false. How are we to view this diversity of religions as anything other than bad, much less "richness"?
How does Sacred Scripture treat of false religions? What do the Fathers and Doctors of the Church say about such things?
I'm not saying that we go around degrading other people. After all, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar," according to St. Francis de Sales. That doesn't mean that we have to heap empty praises on these other religions either or label their existence as positive. This would be impossible, as it would mean that God has affirmatively willed for there to be mechanisms that deceive people about who He is and what He does.
The whole Inter-Religious Dialogue thing has always bothered me. Seeing comments like this don't make it any better.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The Anglican Death March continues. While not on the prowl for brains, they are looking for women bishops. In an odd twist, if they had more brains, they would have noticed that such a thing is impossible. It's been a long time coming for the Anglos. We had mentioned last November how women bishops had been voted down again, despite Archlayman Welby's push to get it done.
Per Zenit, this just might be Welby's year:
The Church of England's ruling body has voted in favour of proposals which could allow the ordination of women bishops next year.
Members of the general synod passed a motion with a majority of 378 to eight, with 25 abstentions.
It paves the way for endorsement of women bishops alongside a "declaration" by bishops setting out guidance for parishes which reject female ministry, the BBC reported.
Last year, the synod failed to agree on the legislation by just six votes.
Of course, this is really just an argument over who gets to wear the mitre when they are invited for dress-up on Sundays. The Anglican Communion ceased to have any doctrinal substance a long, long time ago.
Once it’s fully approved, the motion would go before the House of Lords. British Prime Minister David Cameron is a firm backer of the proposal and believes it will ensure the Church of England of “its place as a modern church, in touch with our society.”
Cameron actually seems to think that Anglicanism still means something and that it deserves to have its status enhanced by such politically correct hufflepuffery. How sadly delusional.
Parts of the Anglican Communion already have women bishops but as the Church of England is considered the "mother church" of the ecclesial community, the move is seen as more significant, especially in terms of ecumenism.
Yeah, it's significant all right. It will go a long way into killing any further faux rapprochement between Catholicism (and Orthodoxy for that matter) and Anglicanism. On the bright side, such ecclesiastically seismic events as this are often successful in waking people up. Perhaps we'll see some more ordinariates arising when this particular bit of poo hits the fan. God brings good out of evil.
Meanwhile, the Barque of the Tudors sinks ever lower into the mire of its heresy and schism.
St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, please pray for these poor souls.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
And were suddenly silenced.
Have you noticed a drop-off in papal coverage lately? After all the trou-dropping over how the Holy Father will be a shoe-in to lead the Catholic Church out of the bondage of Her Catholicism, things have gone quiet. You had one story about Pope Francis hugging a guy with a disfiguring disease, but the steady flow of "controversial" statements has dried up.
Well, let's look at what the Vicar of Christ has been up to, mostly per Zenit:
First, he dropped a letter to Archbishop Marchetto about how he appreciates His Excellency's work on the history of Vatican II. In doing so, the Pope mentioned that he is a believer in the hermeneutic of continuity (you know, that thing that Pope Benedict was big on). Since much of +Marchetto's work has been to refute the so-called Bologna School and their interpretation of Vatican II (aka- "Vatican II changed all that"), this is a pretty big deal.
Second, reading from the same script as Cardinal Sarah's recent comments, Pope Francis dropped the following comments in his homily. Apologies for not being able to find the whole thing at a single source:
Recalling the first reading from the first book of Maccabees, Pope Francis highlighted “perverse roots” of worldliness that were exemplified by those who broke the Law of the Covenant. They abandoned their own traditions in favor of those of the Gentiles in order to enthusiastically “negotiate” their beliefs which the Pope called “a spirit of adolescent progressivism.”
“They believe that to go forward in any type of choice was better than to remain in the habits of fidelity,” he said, adding that they negotiated the faithfulness of God to His people.
“This is called apostasy, adultery.” They are not, in fact, negotiating a few values; they negotiate the very essence of their being: that faithfulness of the Lord.”
The Holy Father stressed in his homily that this apostasy is a fruit of the devil, who wants the move the people of God towards this spirit of worldliness. This spirit, in turn, progresses. The people begin to pick up the habits of the pagans, and ultimately, the King orders everyone to abandon their customs under pain of death.
“It is not the beautiful globalization of unity of all Nations, each one with their own customs, instead it is the globalization of hegemonic uniformity, it is the single thought. And this sole thought is the fruit of worldliness,” the Pope said.
Not only that, but Catholic Culture says he included a reference to Robert Hugh Benson's classic novel, Lord of the World, which freaking rules even when not being quoted by a pope:
“Still today, the spirit of worldliness leads us to progressivism, to this uniformity of thought” … Negotiating one's fidelity to God is like negotiating one's identity, Pope Francis said. He then made reference to the 20th-century novel Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson, son of the Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson, in which the author speaks of the spirit of the world that leads to apostasy “almost as though it were a prophecy, as though he envisioned what would happen” …
Finally, per Rorate, Pope Francis made one of his famous phone calls. This time, it was to Mario Palmaro, a noted Catholic of the "traditionalist" stripe. The Holy Father thanked Mr. Palmaro for some criticisms he had recently thrown the Sovereign Pontiff's way.
None of these fit the media narrative for the Pope, which is why all such stories will be buried in the pile with tales of excommed heretics and attacks on the Culture of Death.
Just take it as another cautionary note on how you can't get real Church news from the usual suspects.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Most probably don't recall, but he was our Dream Team pick for heading up the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
"We involuntarily breathe in fully teachings, which are against the people, and produce a new politics, which has an effect of erosion, obliteration, destruction and serious aggression, slowly but constant, especially on the person, his life, his family, his work and interpersonal relationships. We do not even have the time to live, love and worship. This is an extraordinary challenge for the Church and the ministry of charity. The Church also speaks out against the various forms of suffering, of which the victims is man," said the cardinal...
How extraordinary to see such brave comments attacking the inhuman and secularized version of "social justice" that is so often promoted as true charity. Especially in light of so many to promote global anti-Christian organizations as the solution to the world's problems.
May God grant His Eminence many years!
Friday, November 15, 2013
The "interview" that Pope Francis did with atheist Eugenio Scalfari, in which Mr. Scalfari didn't even take notes and somehow magically came up with extremely secularized commentary from the Holy Father, has been removed from the Vatican web site.
How something of such dubious veracity was allowed to remain in circulation for so long is amazing. Kudos to whoever it was at the Holy See who finally got a clue and took it down.
Things are probably about to get rough for them. They just released a statement re-affirming their opposition to the HHS mandate. Given that we are currently in the thrall of a ruler who doesn't deal with variant beliefs in a respectful or decent way, I don't expect for there to be any kind of niceties here.
St. Charles Borromeo, pray for them and all of us.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
From this Zenit interview:
At this point of the interview, several news agencies joined us. A Vatican Radio correspondent asked about the challenges of the family in the Orthodox world, and His Eminence answered:
“They are the same as for the Catholic world,” due “to the influence of the destruction of values that happens under the influence of the modern liberal ideology. They seek to persuade young people that the family, between a man and a woman open to the generation of children, is an obsolete concept.”
Let's ignore for a second his previously expressed views that Stalin's liquidation of the Church in Ukraine was an ok thing to do. Considering that Orthodoxy tends to be fine with multiple divorces and faces a growing trend of approval towards contraception (all the way up to folks converting so they can have their pill and Divine Liturgy too: google the Torodes for an example), it's weird to hear a comment about the defense of the family and openness to life.
There has been a lot of press about efforts in Freiburg, Germany to allow re-married divorced Catholics to desecrate the Eucharist by receiving Holy Communion. Archbishop Mueller, to his credit, squashed this idea, as Tancred reports.
However, a new wrinkle has emerged. Cardinal Marx of Munich, one of the Holy Father's Super-8 cardinals, has chimed in and doesn't sound to happy about it. Per Tornielli:
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, who is a member of Francis’ eight-member advisory Council of Cardinals openly criticised Müller’s article, stating: “The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cannot stop the discussions." He also said Müller’s article was like a “fence” around Francis’ “field hospital” of mercy, an image Francis used to describe the duty the Church has towards the many wounded in today’s modern society.
In other words, His Eminence feels that the last 2000 years of Church teaching have been contrary to mercy and, I'd guess, simple charity as well. Remember that, folks. When your patron saint considered the idea of marriage, whether for themselves of others, and how it truly was a commitment for life, they were being mean.
It will be interesting to see if there are repercussions from this. The CDF post held by +Mueller is typically regarded as the most powerful in the Curia, outside of the SecState. Whether or not he's in a position to take on a Super-8 member, who knows? Or maybe it will just blow over or maybe they'll just snipe from the corners of the room?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Just when you thought you'd seen everything, we get the latest promotional efforts for Obamacare, courtesy of Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, two Colorado nonprofits trying to get the young and hip crowd to sign up for insurance plans on the exchanges. I hope someone investigates whether or not any federal grant money was used to pay for this crap.
Yes, ladies! You can finally out-fornicate your insurance-carrying friends!
All that was missing here was having the Whores in the City or Desperate Housewhores casts as the models for the ads. We can all be happy that, in the name of having the masses pay for unlimited contraceptive access, that we have lowered the cultural bar even further.
Monday, November 11, 2013
I wanted to offer this bit from First Things in response to frequent questions we get about Catholic unity, schism, etc. I'll just reproduce the first couple of paragraphs to get you started:
October was not a month of especial cooperation in the global Eastern Orthodox communion. Protesting the appointment in March of an archbishop for Qatar by the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Antioch withdrew its participation from “all the Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops abroad.” The Antiochian Patriarchate claims sole authority over the small Gulf state though at present it has no parishes of its own there. The assemblies affected by this decision include the canonical episcopal council in North America, which counts several Antiochian bishops among its officers.
Meanwhile, following a visit to Indonesia by Serbia’s Patriarch Irinej, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore expressed dismay that “the Church of Serbia never informed the local canonical Orthodox Metropolitan.” This comes after a series of incidents over the summer in which its sister see in Hong Kong unilaterally excommunicated clergy of another legitimate Orthodox jurisdiction serving in the Philippines.
There are other instances mentioned in the article. Ah, if only there was some way, some other party, who had the jurisdiction to sort through all of these canonical and ecclesiological messes. Sure, we Catholics have our number of dissenters and crypto/open schismatics, but at least we have a proof for discerning who they are. When you've only got point of reference (the papacy), things get a lot easier. Oddly enough, I have met Orthodox folk who would agree to the Pope having such authority, though they disagree that his jurisdiction is immediate in all cases.
Still in all, it gives a good picture of why Orthodox claims are untenable. The Church has four marks. Promoting an ecclesiology that destroys the mark of unity can't be done. And so we are where we are. I close with a snippet from the Formula of St. Hormisdas, the adoption of which ended the Acacian Schism back in the early 6th century.
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers. For it is impossible that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," [Matthew 16:18], should not be verified. And their truth has been proved by the course of history, for in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept unsullied...
Following, as we have said before, the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions, we endorse and approve all the letters which Pope St Leo wrote concerning the Christian religion. And so I hope I may deserve to be associated with you in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides. I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries. But if I attempt even the least deviation from my profession, I admit that, according to my own declaration, I am an accomplice to those whom I have condemned. I have signed this, my profession, with my own hand, and I have directed it to you, Hormisdas, the holy and venerable pope of Rome.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Try talking to one of our brethren that lives in Israel. Unless its pandering to the Hagees of the world in an effort to Judaize Christianity, garner political influence, or keep the tourist industry up, there isn't a lot of charity from the Holy Land.
Consider the following from Zenit:
Latin Patriarch Deplores Israeli Demolition of a Church Property
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has protested against Israel’s demolition of a Church-owned property in East Jerusalem, saying it was a breach of international law and an act of vandalism that eroded chances for peace.
“This act is against the law, against justice and against humanity, against any ideology upon which peace can be built and increases segregation and hate,” Patriarch Fouad Twal told journalists at the site of the demolition Nov. 5.
Israeli security forces and bulldozers arrived at the house early Monday morning claiming it had been built without a permit, according to its residents, a Muslim family of 14. The family is now residing in a tent belonging to the Red Cross.
Patriarch Twal said the property, located on the south eastern edge of the city close to Bethlehem, was built before 1967 when Israel seized East Jerusalem from the Arabs in the Six-Day War.
Archbishop Twal said the patriarchate did not receive prior orders for the demolition. “This is holy land and always will be, and the interior ministry, the [Jerusalem] municipality and Israeli organisations knew it belonged to the patriarchate,” he said.
A quick google search about Christians being spit on all the time will probably yield you plenty of references to that particular habit.
Or how about this gem of a guy as reported by the Christian Science Monitor?
Ovadia Yosef, an ultra-orthodox Sephardic Israeli rabbi whose popularity among religious Israelis, particularly those whose families came to Israel from the Arab world, led to the creation of the Shas movement and a hard lurch right in Israeli politics, is being praised throughout Israel after his passing today.
Hundreds of thousands of his supporters took the streets of Jerusalem to mourn. Former Israeli President Shimon Peres visited with Mr. Yosef at his hospital bedside just hours before he passed, tenderly kissing his hand and forehead, according to The Jerusalem Post. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement issued by his office, spoke of his "profound grief" and said that "the Jewish People have lost one of the wisest men of his generation."
For instance, in 2010 he said in a weekly Saturday night sermon that the sole purpose God put non-Jews on earth was to be servants to Jews.
"Goyim (gentiles, non-Jews) were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel," he said, according to the Jerusalem Post. "Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created." An "effendi" is a lord, or a master, in Arabic.
Yosef also favored the large number of ultra-Orthodox men who eschew modern education, focus only on Torah study, and are exempted from military service in Israel while largely subsisting on government handouts.
It was his comments about non-Jews that were the ugliest. In 2010 he said of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the people he leads that "all these evil people should perish from this world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians."
On Arabs in general, he said in 2001, "It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable." In 2009 he said of Muslims "their religion is as ugly as they are."
Oh, and just for laughs, here was the reaction of the US Ambassador to Israel when our good friend Ovadia passed away.
“Rav Ovadia Yosef was a spiritual leader to hundreds of thousands, if not more, a great learner [of Torah] and a wise and learned man, a father to an impressive family and an important contributor to the society and politics of the state of Israel,” US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro says in a statement released in Hebrew.
“Today in Jerusalem and all across Israel, his supporters and followers mourn him,” he added. “To them, and first and foremost to his beloved family, I send my condolences. May his memory be blessed.”
Yep, we were fortunate to have a pal like him.
Anyways, just thought it was worth pointing out given how much of Protestantism has fallen under the unfortunate spell of Judaizing and how we so often hear about how Israel is our ally.
Monday, November 4, 2013
I'd like to start this post by recalling some words from yesterday's Gospel:
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over."
And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."
What is the significance of Zacchaeus's actions? Just that he came down from the tree and had Jesus over to his house?
No. It is the fact of his repentance that is the bigger deal.
Why is this a point for modern reflection?
It's because mercy has become a bit of a buzzword lately. The Holy Father has mentioned it frequently, and it's attracted a lot of attention as media types swarm to declare how revolutionary this kind of talk is and how he's changing the image of the Church from a severe, inflexible institution into one that proclaims mercy and forgiveness.
First off, the media reaction as though talk of mercy is some kind of novelty is pretty hilarious when you consider things from Blessed John Paul II making a whole feast day dedicated to the Divine Mercy or, you know, writing a whole encyclical devoted to the topic.
Second, we have to look at the concept of mercy being proclaimed by the secular world and compare it to what we see from Zacchaeus in Luke's Gospel. The difference is striking.
Zacchaeus acknowledges that he did something wrong. He vows to make amends, and Christ praises him for this. In absolute opposition to this, modernity envisions mercy as a declaration that nothing was done wrong in the first place. This, of course, leaves no room whatsoever for repentance.
It also brings up the question of what possible relevance a message of mercy can have in a world that knows no concept of sin. Can there even be such a thing? I suggest not, as the mercy craved by the world is "forgiveness" by the legitimization of sin. To phrase it in different terms, if everything was legal, we'd have no crime, and hence no need for punishment. On the same note, if everything was embraced and welcomed as moral, there would be no correction or condemnation.
Until we acknowledge our imperfections and vow to make our amends, mercy has no meaning for us. If I'm ok, and you're ok, then what need have we of God?
Man, the world is a scary place.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
I'll wait for the 14 year olds to stop giggling.
Ok, here's a recent article from the BI in support of Humanae Vitae.
It's not so weird that such an article might appear. It's that in a society that claims to value logic and reason so much that we don't see more such articles.That's really all it takes to see that Paul VI (and the centuries of popes and even Protestants before him) was correct.
Consider this snippet:
Today's injunctions against birth control were re-affirmed in a 1968 document by Pope Paul VI called Humanae Vitae. He warned of four results if the widespread use of contraceptives was accepted:
- General lowering of moral standards
- A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
- The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men.
- Government coercion in reproductive matters.
Does it really take a slide-rule and a PhD to figure out that all this has come to pass?
A couple of things on this note.
First, have you ever read Humanae Vitae? If not, why not? It's not long at all. Give it a few minutes of your time.
Second, are you familiar with the historical Protestant perspective on contraception? Check out Godly Seed by Dr. Allan Carlson. Regardless of religious affiliations, this is a must-read book for any Christian as it will at least force to the surface questions of how what was so widely believed could be so quickly shelved.
Third, what are the arguments against the above two views? Some sort of outmoded "there are two many people" argument from The Population Bomb? How tenable are these views now? Or is it simply based on the notion of "people should do whatever they want"? If this is the case, how is this different from just a simple "non serviam"?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Check out this video at the New Liturgical Movement where Jeffrey Tucker mentions the importance of chant and the Latin Mass to his conversion. Thanks to Haskovec for the tip.
The sad thing is how many people find just discussion of the Latin Mass to be offensive.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
I saw this over at Rorate and immediately went into "What the?" mode.
Dear friends, last evening you celebrated a solemn Mass of thanksgiving at the tomb of Saint Peter, beneath the great inscription which reads: Hinc una fides mundo refulget; hinc unitas sacerdotii exoritur. By enabling the vast numbers of the Catholic faithful throughout the world to pray in a common language, your Commission has helped to foster the Church’s unity in faith and sacramental communion. That unity and communion, which has its origin in the Blessed Trinity, is one which constantly reconciles and enhances the richness of diversity.
This is from Pope Francis's speech to the ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy). Which is weird.
Common language? Unity? Wasn't the ICEL a product of the destruction of a common liturgical language and subsequent disunification of liturgical forms?
I admit to having no idea what the last sentence means. I do feel that there is, at a minimum, about ten tons of irony in the Holy Father's comments.
For comparisons to an earlier mode of thinking on the value of a common liturgical language, allow me to direct you to Blessed John XXIII's Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, the most ignored and forgotten magisterial document perhaps in the entire history of the Church.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I am the Lady of the Rosary.
"I have many petitions from many people. Will you grant them? "
Some I shall grant, and others I must deny. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended!
"And is that all you have to ask?"
There is nothing more.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
This kind of needs to be pointed out given all the fanfare over this "historic" and "unprecedented" (allegedly) papacy that we are seeing unfold. First, I must present a very simple question to everyone regarding the media trou-dropping that is sweeping the world with regards to excerpts (and sometimes not even that if we're talking about Scalfari) of papal comments.
Why are the media extolling these comments from Pope Francis?
The answer is obvious. They like them because they regard them as not Catholic. This is made even more apparent when one considers the Holy Father's comments that are, shall we say, less susceptible to interpretation in such a manner. Was there any media reaction to the Pope's comments on celibacy and consecrated virginity? Of course not. People were too busy taking random comments by Archbishop Parolin out of context. When the latest public excom came down the pipe, was there any national outlet reporting? When the Pope blasted the Culture of Death, was there a flood of coverage? Nothing of the kind. We were still hearing about "who am I to judge?" and similar items.
Let it be stipulated then that the only thing that makes Pope Francis newsworthy or favored among the press is the extent that he can be made to appear not Catholic or even hostile to Catholicism.
Using that as a preface, we should consider what the potential ripple effects of this kind of coverage for the Pope might mean. And I'm not talking about for Catholics either, as that should be pretty self-evident by now.
Simply put, these easily distorted comments from the Pope are poison to genuine ecumenism.
The last few popes have mentioned the Orthodox as the ecumenical priority and rightfully so. Without addressing whether this was followed up by action, consider this article by Rod Dreher. For Mr. Dreher, the perceived lack of clarity and solidity in Pope Francis's comments confirms his decision to leave the Church. It's the lack of grappling with the issues of stuff the Four Last Things, the "faithful" of laity and clergy that actively promote immorality, etc. that led him to leave.
All this put the moral unseriousness of the American church in a certain light. As the scandal raged, one Ash Wednesday, I attended Mass at my comfortable suburban parish and heard the priest deliver a sermon describing Lent as a time when we should all come to love ourselves more.
If I had to pinpoint a single moment at which I ceased to be a Roman Catholic, it would have been that one. I fought for two more years to hold on, thinking that having the syllogisms from my catechism straight in my head would help me stand firm. But it was useless. By then I was a father, and I did not want to raise my children in a church where sentimentality and self-satisfaction were the point of the Christian life. It wasn’t safe to raise my children in this church, I thought — not because they would be at risk of predators but because the entire ethos of the American church, like the ethos of the decadent post-Christian society in which it lives, is not that we should die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ, as the New Testament demands, but that we should learn to love ourselves more.
Flannery O’Connor, one of my Catholic heroes, famously said, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” American Catholicism was not pushing back against the hostile age at all. Rather, it had become a pushover. God is love was not a proclamation that liberated us captives from our sin and despair but rather a bromide and a platitude that allowed us to believe that and to behave as if our lust, greed, malice and so forth — sins that I struggled with every day — weren’t to be despised and cast out but rather shellacked by a river of treacle.
Kind of says it all. And Mr. Dreher isn't the only one. We've mentioned before how actions many Catholics are comfortable with, such as the Pauline Mass, are huge ecumenical stumbling blocks for the East. This kind of stuff is huge too.
It's a big deal for Protestants as well. Take Russell Moore's description of one of the Holy Father's interviews as a "theological train wreck." I live in a heavily Baptist area. The only thing Catholics have for outreach to many here is an unshakeable commitment to certain moral laws. When those are called into question, there is nothing left.
I mention all this because so many love to talk about ecumenism but have no concept of what it means. For too many, it means stripping away the supernatural and turning the Church into an Anglican NGO. This reinforces the need for clarity and brevity in the Pope's public speaking. The Church's enemies have their agenda. We know what they are going to do. It's nothing new. It is only reasonable to give them as few opportunities to do so as possible. Souls are at stake.
Just remember. When the world applauds, there is a very strong chance that Christians will be turning their backs.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Which was far more productive than anything else we've seen in the last several decades:
White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.
Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.
They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.
St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.
King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.
The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)
Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.