Saturday, April 30, 2016

What was Cardinal Schönborn thinking?

Edward Pentin, "VIDEO — Schönborn: 'Amoris Laetitia' Needs Serious Theological Discussion" (National Catholic Register, April 12, 2016).

Sometimes the implications of an event don't quite come into focus until you encounter the raw visceral reaction of someone who tells you what he, at least, thinks of it. This was the case when a reader emailed me something responding to Cardinal Schönborn's statement (quoted in the above-linked article) that, in response to the Pope's new document, "There will be a 'big theological discussion.'" The emailer asked: "Is that a promise or a threat?" and then continued:
More 'Theology on Tap!'

The takeaway, again, is that little is certain and nothing black and white.

"With this approach, the sacraments “come into another light...”

Beautiful. Move along, no change of doctrine to be seen here.

It's Vatican II all over again. These men can't get enough of these sorts of things.

For all the veneration of the papacy, you have to stop in disturbed amazement to consider its late 20th century legacy:
  • PAUL VI let go of the liturgy
  • JPII redefined the exclusivity of salvation
  • BXVI redefined original sin
    and now
  • FRANCIS lets go of Indissolubility of Marriage
Seriously, is it just me? You don't have to be a sedevacantist -- I'm not -- to say the Chair of Peter is not empty but increasingly think it might as well be. I guess I should shut up and be grateful we don't have female priests or any unions.
Well, the Apostolic Exhortation has certainly received its share of theological discussion in the seminary community of which I am a part, with no sign of abating. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, but it certainly does strike me as anomalous that so much energy and time should be expended on trying to figure out what the Holy Father said or meant to say.

For the record: Fr. Schmidberger Letter urging SSPX acceptance of regularization

Richard Chonak, "The moment has come to normalize the situation of the Society" (New Liturgical Movement, April 28, 2016) via Rorate:
In February of this year Fr. Franz Schmidberger, rector of the SSPX seminary in Zaitzkofen, Germany, wrote a short essay expressing his reasons, from a personal point of view, for members of the Society to accept a normalization of relations with Church authorities. Here we present an English translation of the document “Thoughts about the Church and the Place of the Society of Saint Pius X in it”.

Under normal circumstances this is a document we would not have published, because NLM has learned that Fr. Schmidberger wrote it as a private communication. He sent it to the SSPX Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and to a small circle of colleagues, including fellow professors at the seminary. He did not authorize anyone to release it on the internet, let alone to claim incorrectly that he had sent it to all members of the Society; but in recent days both of these have taken place without his consent.

Now that erroneous translations of the text and untrue stories about the document are doing a disservice to innocent readers, Fr. Schmidberger has approved the publication of this authorized translation in English, in order to clear away the errors.

Council of Trent Dominican: blind defense of papacy will undermine its authority

Melchior Cano, the great Dominican theologian from the Council of Trent, said: "Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations." [Source]

As Canonist Edward Peters recently noted, Canon 212.3 is relevant here: "According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, [the Christian faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [Code for bishops] their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons."

Remember: "... with reverence toward their pastors." If they say something you think is stupid, suggest that it's "confusing," "infelicitous" or "unfortunate," and suggest a clearer alternative.

Madrid archbishop bans Cardinal Müller from university because new book is "against the Pope"

From the Eponymous Flower (April 28, 2016):
(Madrid) Pope's confidant as a censor? Madrid Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra forbade Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the faith of the Catholic Church, to present his latest book "Informe sobre la esperanza" (State of Hope) at the Catholic University of San Dámaso present in Madrid. The reasoning? Because it was "a book against the pope."


In Madrid, the Spanish capital, the presentation was to take place at the Archdiocesan University San Dámaso, which doubles as a seminary of the Archdiocese of Madrid. But Archbishop Osoro banned the book launch. He wanted "nothing to do with a book against the pope" said Infovaticana.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Just what the German hierarchy has been waiting for

Sandro Magister, "The German Option of the Argentine Pope" (www.chiesa, April 28, 2016): "Cardinal Kasper and the progressive wing of the Church of Germany have gotten what they wanted. On communion for the divorced and remarried, Francis is on their side. He made up his mind a while ago, and has acted accordingly."

Seminary student: the Tridentine Mass "changed my life"

Sacred Heart Major Seminary theology student, Evan Pham, says of the Tridentine Mass that it "changed my life." Here he shares some of his reasons why as he offers tips for newbies. He told me over lunch recently at Ottavia Via in Detroit that he often invites people to the traditional Latin Mass, and when I asked him how he prepares them for the often disorienting first-time experience, he shared with me some of the points in this video. You can find this video at his website, along with some excellent movie reviews, an archive of holy cards he designed, a 'meme museum', as well as his intriguing novel entitled Little Miss Lucifer, which have just begun reading (interestingly, it has its own 'sound track'). He also has a blog. Enjoy.


Fr. Z's calculation of the world's creation off by approx. 123 million years

In a recent post, entitled "Happy Birthday Universe!" (Fr. Z's Blog, April 27, 2016), Fr. Z writes:
On this day in 4977 B.C., the universe [was] created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler ....
He goes on to relate a great many fascinating details about the life and times of Kepler, including the fact that he is sometimes considered the founder of modern science. In his concluding sentence, however, Fr. Z writes:
As for Kepler’s calculation about the universe’s birthday, scientists in the 20th century developed the Big Bang theory, which showed that his calculations were off by about 13.7 billion years.
Now please forgive me, but I take a fiendish delight in responding to such statistics by pointing out glaring errors when I find them. In his case, as any astro-physicist worth his salt knows, the figure cited above is off by a little over 100 million years. The exact figure can be inferred from the epiriometrics of the brilliant research scientist, A.D. Sokal, in his landmark essay, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" (1995), from which we can conclusively show that Fr. Z's figure is off by 123,857,487 years. The critical calculation is:

In light of which we are compelled to conclude that the Big Bang (and, omnia sint paribus, the creation of the world) occurred approximately 13.8 billion years ago, not 13.7 billion -- or, to be exact, 13,823,857,487 years ago at precisely 3:26 in the afternoon, Eastern Standard Time (anachronistically assuming Greenwich Mean Time existed then). I believe it was raining that afternoon.

In the interests of fair disclosure, my 'fiendish delight' in pointing out such errors stems from my studied skepticism regarding the philosophical conclusions inferred by scientists from their empiriometric and empirioschematic calculations, which are often presumptively taken for reality itself, as amply demonstrated by the physicist Anthony Rizzi in his book, The Science Before Science: A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century, and by the Gifford Lecturer and Templeton Prize winning physicist, Stanley Jaki, in Means to Message: A Treatise on Truth. My skepticism also extends to the metaphysical claims either stated or implied in "The Grand Evolutionary Story" reiterated ad nauseam by contemporary textbooks of biology, parts of which Alvin Plantinga famously called "pure arrogant bluster."

So thank you, Fr. Z, for allowing me at your expense to skewer a bit of contemporary 'scientific bluster' with a bit of playful bluster of my own. I suppose you could claim that you covered yourself by the insertion of the cautionary term 'about' since 13.8 billion is 'about' 13.7 billion; and that might be true. Then again, would we really have any conclusive way of knowing whether we weren't off by 6-11 billion years, give or take a few hundred million? Or we could just take Stephen Hawking's word for it that it all happened "about 15 billion years ago."

Monday, April 25, 2016

The pagan maiden and the apostate adultress

I thought of titling this post: "Why apostates are so much more worse off than unevangelized pagans." But then I thought of the words above, whose meaning should soon become apparent.

This is a familiar theme among Chesterton readers who know, for example, his quote wherein he declares: "Paganism was the biggest thing in the world, and Christianity was bigger and everything since has been comparatively small." It was a big theme in his book, The Everlasting Man.

It's not surprising that C.S. Lewis also addresses the issue, as one of my students recently pointed out in a term paper. Quoting from C.S. Lewis and Don Giovanni Calibria, The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis (South Bend, IN: St. Augustin's Press, 2009), p. 90, he writes (first in the Latin, then the English translation):
Hinc status pejor quam illum statum quem habuimus ante fidem receptam. Nemo enim ex Christianismo redit in statum quem habuit ante Christianismum, sed in pejorem: tantum distat inter paganum et apostatam quantum innuptam ed adulteram. Nam fides perficit naturam sed fides amissa corrumpit naturam.

This [present] state is worse than that state which we had before the faith [was] received. For no one from Christianity returns into the state which he had before Christianity, but into a worse one: pagans and apostates differ as much as an unmarried [woman] and an adultress. For faith perfects nature, but faith lost corrupts nature.
Related: Peter Kreeft, "Comparing Christianity & The New Paganism" (

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The satanic underworld of the entertainment industry and politics

Someone was talking about how diabolical influences have infiltrated the music industry, mentioning a few singers' names. I checked out some of their music videos and, whether the symbolism was subtle or overt, I would have to concur. The same is apparently true of large swaths of the movie and entertainment industry. This 'Black Child Production' video [see blow] starts off with some creative use of film clips to enact some of the points made by the narrator. The narrator switches from male to female about a quarter of the way through. But the real kicker comes when she begins referring to specific individuals, groups, and events in the last half of the video [advisory: some explicit sexual language]:

On the one hand, I'm not inclined to believe that the influence of the diabolical is so overt or prevalent as to involve satanic blood sacrifice rituals throughout the mainstream of the entertainment industry. On the other hand, I rather suspect that there are some quarters where well-known individuals are involved in some pretty nasty and evil business.

Just as a test, I picked one of the news articles referenced (at 12:38 on the video), namely "George Clooney’s ‘Astonishing’ Evening in Berlusconi’s Bedroom" (ABC News, October 10, 2011), which begins with this juicy paragraph:
Actor George Clooney is talking about the night he went to Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi’s home - infamous for lavish sex parties – and was invited to the leader’s bedroom. Berlusconi’s bashes have come to be known as “bunga bunga” parties, and Clooney says he got an invite.
I don't make a practice of spending much time in this iniquitous netherworld and its steaming cauldrons of infernal vices and luciferian plots. But I have read enough to know that it has probably infiltrated the circles in which many of our political leaders move. You have surely read about the first President Bush's induction into the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale University. Perhaps you have also read about the Clintons and their trail of dead bodies and unaccountable disappearances in the course of their political rise to power from dubious beginnings in Arkansas.

You may or may not have heard Larry Sinclair's statement before the National Press Club about his cocaine and sex trysts with Barack Obama when he was senator in Chicago, Rev. James Manning's testimony to the same, or the Washington, DC-based investigative journalist Wayne Madsen's report on Obama's involvement in a Chicago gay club called "Man's World," and the convenient deaths of three Chicago gay friends of Obama, one of whom (Donald Young, who was the openly gay choir director at Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ) is claimed by his mother, Norma Jean Young (who worked for Chicago's Police Dept.), to have been murdered to protect secrets of his bisexual lover who became president.

How anyone could be puzzled over Obama's policies while in office is beyond me -- his 'Iran deal', which opens the door to nuclear weapons in the hands of the most notorious promotors of anti-western terrorism in the mideast; his 'evolution' on the issue of gay rights and abandonment of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) in favor of same-sex 'marriage'; his plunging our nation into debt to the point of nearly doubling the debt on the national credit card, now rocketing upwards of $20 trillion; his refusal to acknowledge Islamic terrorism while easily referring to the threat of Christian funamentalist 'terrorism'; ... the list goes on. Whatever one thinks of Dinesh D'Souza, I, for one, consider some of his claims in this short video about Obama pretty compelling, even if he doesn't plumb the spiritual dimension adequately. Americans who re-elected this man to yet a second term are fools, or ignorant, or evil.

So when I listen to NPR and hear polished pundits playing sound bites from Obama and solemnly treating them as 'politics as usual', I get the surreal feeling that I have just stepped into a scene from Last Year at Marienbad. From my point of view, what NPR considers serious reality, I consider facile fiction; and what NPR considers the fetid fever swamps of medieval fantasies about an unseen world of angels and demons, I consider seriously to be the underlying reality of our world. Even on a bad day, J.R.R. Tolkien could tell us more about what's happening in our world than NPR ever could on its best day. He, at least, understood that there are such things as the preternatural diabolical forces represented by Mordor, the corruption of Sarumen, the temptations and delusions of Boromir, and the possibility that rides on them of winning or losing everything.

"Hypocrites!" says Jesus: "You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?" (Luke 12:56)

Tridentine Community News - Benjamin McKinley in St. Vincent de Paul Magazine; historic church moved and rebuilt in new location; TLM Mass times

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (April 24, 2016):
April 24, 2016 – Fourth Sunday After Easter

Benjamin McKinley in St. Vincent de Paul Magazine

Congratulations to St. Benedict Tridentine Community altar server Benjamin McKinley, whose essay, “The Youngest Vincentian”, was published in the St. Vincent de Paul magazine. Benjamin regularly volunteers to help Windsor’s needy by distributing food to the poor. Benjamin follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Tim McKinley, who coordinates St. Vincent de Paul activities at Holy Name of Mary Church.

Historic Church Moved and Rebuilt in a New Location

In 1997, Detroit’s Gem Theatre set a Guinness World Record for being the farthest building relocation of significant size. Originally located across from the Fox Theatre, the Gem was moved several blocks east when the land had to be cleared for the construction of Comerica Park. The building was put up on dollies and rolled to its new site.

Along similar lines, a few years ago there was talk in the Catholic media that the closed St. Gerard Church in Buffalo, New York was going to be disassembled and moved to Peachtree Corners, Georgia, where it would become the new home of Mary Our Queen Parish. Unfortunately, funds have not yet been raised to purchase and move the church, and the building officially remains listed for sale.

Another lower-profile church relocation project, however, has come to fruition: St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Old Mill Creek, Illinois, near the Wisconsin border, has purchased and relocated the front façade of Chicago’s closed St. John of God Church. The nave of St. John of God was not in good condition and therefore had to be replicated rather than moved. Construction of the new St. Raphael Church is nearing completion, and the result is a traditionally-appointed building inside and out.

The interior furnishings came from a different Chicago church: The High Altar, Side Altars, statues, wood carvings, and pews were taken from the closed St. Peter Canisius.

Why go to all this trouble? The project cost around $10 million, as opposed to an estimated $25 million to build new. Of course, saving components of two historically significant buildings has its own merit. Would we not also give serious consideration were the opportunity presented to relocate one of Detroit’s beautiful but struggling historic churches to one of the suburbs? It’s certainly a better option than tearing them down or watching them decay as abandoned structures. These buildings deserve a brighter future.

With architecture such as this, it may not surprise you to learn that the parish holds periodic Latin Masses, albeit in the Ordinary Form. [Photos by Mark Ukena/Lake County News-Sun]

For more information and photos, visit St. Raphael’s appropriately-named web site,

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Mark, Evangelist)
  • Tue. 04/26 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Ss. Cletus & Marcellinus, Popes & Martys)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 24, 2016. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Morality and Taxes

A historical overview of taxation, why past empires were crippled and brought to their knees by overspending and excessive taxation, how our current national debt will impact you very soon. Incredible.

Michael Voris on a Mic'd Up episode discusses the effects of overtaxation on families. Guests include author and radio host William J. Federer, Dr. Walter E. Williams, professor at George Mason University, and Msgr. Owen F. Campion of Our Sunday Visitor. Here: "Morality and Taxes" (Church Militant, April 15, 2016).

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins." These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites. Also please note that St. Joseph's SSPX Chapel in Richmond has moved to Ray Township, at 57575 Romeo Plank Rd., Ray Twp., MI 48096.

**NB: [Update: All St. Joseph's Church Masses have been re-located to St. Josaphat, Detroit, until further notice, due to structural renovations.]

Friday, April 22, 2016

NYC lavender mafia attempts to smear Michael Voris with sins of his gay past to discredit his Church Militant apostolate

Michael Voris has often said that he was saved from a horrible life of sin through the intercession and sacrifices of his mother. Now, having on good authority that the New York archdiocese is collecting and preparing to quietly filter out details of his past 'gay' life with the aim of publicly discrediting him, his apostolate and work in Detroit, he has decided to 'beat the Devil to the punch' and reveal the details. Good for him! May St. Michael defend him.

All this came to my attention through a FB post entitled "Michael Voris: Beating the Devil to the Punch" (AKA Catholic, April 22, 2016). Scroll to the very bottom for Michael Voris' video statement; or see below:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

For the record: a thermonuclear response to Amoris Laetitia

Christopher A. Ferrara, "Amoris Laetitia: Anatomy of a Pontifical Debacle" (Remnant, April 18, 2016), collates reactions on all sides, from Cardinal Burke to Eduardo Echeverria; offers reflection on having to "sift the good from the bad -- again"; then a detailed analysis of Amoris Laetitia, chs. 1-7("Intimations of Subversion"); a penetrating and exhaustive critique of ch. 8 ("An Essay in Subversion"); and, finally, a Conclusion ("Damage Assessment"). Read it and weep.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pope Francis' exhortation to attend to those in irregular relationships, like Trump

A really very clever article by Maggie Gallagher, "Trump's Family Values" (National Review, April 16, 2016):
In his highly anticipated new exhortation The Joy of Love, Pope Francis urges us Catholics to journey with those in irregular relationships and appreciate the good things they can represent.

“I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion,” he writes. “But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness.”

So let me start by attending to Donald J. Trump.

As my regular readers know, I am no fan of Trump’s — indeed, I fall somewhere between #probablyNeverTrump and #NeverTrump on the Republican spectrum. But let me nevertheless say a good word for Trump-family values.

It is true that Trump has discarded two wives, cheated on at least one of them, and (as I have) made a child out of wedlock. But he then married the woman who bore that child, however briefly. He has always supported all of his children financially, unlike many unmarried or irregularly married fathers. And he has managed to create and maintain close relationships with those children despite the barriers to fatherhood imposed by divorce.

They, in turn, are the best part of Donald J. Trump: educated, hardworking, productive, and (in the case of Ivana’s kids, at least) all married with children themselves.

Then something a bit more biting, by Maureen Mullarkey, "Trump: Beau Ideal of Consumer Culture" (Mullarkey: Studio Matters, April 14, 20016).

[Hat tip to JM]