Monday, November 23, 2015

Timely: "The Mass-Clock and the Spy: The Catholicization of World War II"

"Never did American Catholics do evangelization better than in World War II," wrote the correspondent who emailed me the link to this article. Indeed, it's a telling and timely piece, given what lies just over the horizon. Read on: John C. Seitz,"The Mass-Clock and the Spy: The Catholicization of World War II," Church History (December 1, 2014). What follows here are just two excerpts from the Introduction:
At the back of a pocket-sized missal distributed by the National Catholic Community Service (NCCS), U.S. military personnel serving in World War II could find a particularly useful wartime device. The two-page spread centered on an image that would have been vaguely familiar to most U.S. Catholics. The largest feature was a sun-like circle rising and radiating out from a smaller ciborium beneath. In more familiar Catholic imagery the circle appeared sometimes as the sun, sometimes as the Eucharistic host itself. It was typically embossed with the letters "IHS," a Greek-derived abbreviation of the Holy Name of Jesus, or with the Greek letters A[Omega], representing Jesus as Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all. In these familiar forms, the image signaled the centrality and efficacy of the sacrament of communion in the religious life of Catholics. Through communion, received in the form of the Eucharistic bread consecrated and delivered by the hands of an ordained priest, Catholics united themselves with Christ, whose very name was woven into the fabric of the universe. Participation in Holy Communion, which for the properly scrupulous was preceded always by the sacrament of confession, united Catholics with Christ, activated the flow of grace into their lives, and ensured their eternal proximity to God.

Global warfare pressed this imagery into new realms. Instead of a host or the sun rising up, the circular form here took the shape of a clock face. Inside the clock face, instead of the letters "IHS," readers found a world map, including the six inhabited continents viewed from a point high above the North Pole. In each hour segment of the clock face, the names of two different regions were listed. Text below and on the facing page offered instructions if one was "unable to attend Mass because of military service or the absence of a chaplain." Using this "World-Mass-Clock" and the accompanying "Mass-Clock-Prayer" Catholics could join themselves spiritually with the sacrifice of the Mass as it was happening at any given moment, somewhere in the world. "No matter when you look at your clock," the pages explained, "it is early morning somewhere ... and some Priest is offering Mass!" With these pages at hand, Catholics could discover where in the world, at that precise moment, the church was uniting itself with Christ's original sacrifice. In addition to studying the catechism assigned to that week's Mass (found earlier in the booklet), servicemen could recite the "Mass-Clock-Prayer" which began:

Eternal Father, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I wish to unite myself with Jesus, now offering His Precious Blood in [mention name of country] in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

... But Catholics did not rest solely on the assurances provided by these powerful prayers, objects, and actions. Alongside the heavy traffic of sacramentals and stories about their potency, Catholics eagerly disseminated separatist narratives of U.S. Catholic triumph. "Mack," a "twentieth-century G.I.," offered one of these stories for the editors of the NCCS's wartime newsletter entitled Contact....

Well-versed in Catholic expectations for the lay apostolate, Mack riffed on the motto of Catholic Action--a very twentieth century plan for extending Catholic influence in secular democracies--to describe his role as a Catholic in the U.S. military. The main fruit of this experience, he averred, would be relatively slow to develop. Military service was a time to "OBSERVE and JUDGE," a chance for "sizing up what is pagan in our environment." Armed with "a knowledge of what this environment should be," "Contact men"--those lined up with the Catholic approach to the war--could also use their time in the service to forge plans "to change what is into what should be ." "ACT," the implementation phase of the Catholic Action mandate, would have to wait until later, when the hindrances of military life--"army discipline and organization, schedules, breaking up of outfits, fatigue, discouragement"--had been left behind.

In the meantime, "day-to-day living in the midst of the men," what Mack described as life in a "pagan" environment, could be a kind of religious ordeal. Military life, he wrote, is "unconsciously sounding our spiritual depths and ploughing furrows in the very fibers of our being." With war's end, the "days of reconstruction " would begin, and tested and focused Catholics would manifest "a spiritual ripeness hitherto unknown to us" in the form of Catholic Action. Catholics in the military should understand themselves as spies behind enemy lines, immersed in a trying reconnaissance mission on behalf of the church. The enemy was not Germany or Japan, not Nazism or totalitarianism, nor even the lurking menace of communism. The enemy was a wayward America. Catholicism, mobilized through informed and eager lay Catholics, could be America's only hope in a future clouded by indifference, immorality, and paganism.
Read more. Much, much more >>

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sweet as saccharine, clear as mud

Fr. Perrone: (1) join in my prayers for your salvation; (2) speak up at the archdiocesan synod on why local churches are closing

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, November 22, 2015):
The Forty Hours Devotion was well attended last weekend. I was pleased with that because I know this to be a time of grace, of spiritual benefit for the parish generally, and for the individuals and families that made their way to the church to adore the Lord. Sorry if I sounded threatening or self-pitying in last week’s lamentation over a poor turnout the year previous. Perhaps people were becoming spoiled over the easy availability of Eucharistic adoration time and thus dismissing the opportunities given to them (you should know that at one time the Church actually discouraged frequent exposition of the Sacrament lest the people become blasé over this Wonder of wonders); or perhaps they were becoming mindless of the true and real Presence of the incarnate Son of God there and saw no point in making visits to the Blessed Sacrament. My own experience of the Forty Hours has been rewarding: a time of self-abandonment to Christ in as humble manner of outpouring myself before Him as I can muster. In return, I emerge from the time of adoration fortified and refreshed. Those who came to adore the Lord must surely have experienced something of the same.

This thought leads me to a couple of pastoral points to make. The first of which concerns your spiritual welfare, which remains my most important preoccupation, apart from the salvation of mine own soul.

When I make my prayer intentions, I beseech God that He would save the souls of all my family, relatives, parishioners, and friends–all of those to whom I have a relationship in some way. In doing this I attempt to draw upon the pastoral clout I have before God by virtue of the holy priesthood which He deigned to grant me. It’s a kind of bargaining power with the Almighty, for such is the given position of the priest as a mediator between God and humanity. The priest’s particular concern, of course, must first be with those to whom he has some particular relationship of kith, kin, or post. In the last you are represented. I ask the Lord that “none of them be lost, not even one,” an echo of the words our Lord prayed to His Father before the Passion. It’s a bold thing I ask for, I know. As an individual, I’m asking a huge favor: not for the salvation of one or another soul, but for all those the Lord has given me, whom He has put in my path. Were I to ask to possess the entire created universe I would be asking for less than for the salvation even of one soul, and yet there I go about making such an entreaty to God–I who am nothing. There is the priestly office given me–so unworthy–which gives me that right, duty and obligation to pray, to intercede for the spiritual (and temporal) good of those who are ‘mine.’ This is all the more astonishing in view of the fact of my own sinfulness, an objection which Saint Paul anticipated. The priest “is appointed by God to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for those of the people” (Hebrews 5:1-3). Without this assurance I, “beset with weakness,” might not be so daring as to ask so much. I beseech God that the wills of my people (“all those You gave me”) might be conformed to the will of God. Is this foolishness? I continue to pray daily in this way in the hope that I may be granted my prayer. I realize, however, that only you individually hold the key to your salvation, and that no one–not an angel, nor a devil, nor even God Himself–can take possession of one’s soul. This is that fundamental human freedom each one possesses personally, a gift of God which is inviolable. The motive of my writing can thus be discerned. I want you to join me in my prayers for you. Otherwise, my petitioning power will be void. Only you can move that lever that lifts you from your sinful selves unto God. Only you can say that salutary Yes to Him. I will continue to pray for you as I have been doing. Perhaps God will grant my fervent wish. Doing this together is, I would say, invincible.

The other pastoral matter concerns an upcoming Archdiocesan Synod to be held next year. You may already be weary and perhaps wary of synods in view of the rather embarrassing and ineffectual gathering under that name of the bishops in Rome last month. (I have not hesitated to share with you my discontent and disappointment over it.) This local, diocesan synod aims to address a problem that the Archbishop foresees for the local Church. All the bad moves that have been made–that have been enforced–through bad, faulty teaching and preaching, and through deliberately planned catechetical ignorance are now coming up for the payoff. The prospects are, I suppose, that in the not too distant future our parishes will be nearly devoid of worshipers. How can it be otherwise? If our Catholic people now live just like Pagan Everybody Else; and if their children do not even know that the grievous crimes they so frequently commit are mortal sins, and that the Communion they receive mindlessly and unworthily is really, physically the divine Presence of Christ and, further, that Christ Himself is indeed God–if they are ignorant of these most basic things, how then can they be expected to take their places in the pews of our churches? Would they have valid reasons for being there? (I mentioned only some of the grave circumstances that have created this problem. One must also consider the depopulation of Catholics as the inevitable outcome of the practice of contraception by many married Catholic people: more mortal sins committed and unconfessed, more planned ignorance of the people on the part of priests who have withheld the truth about this or who have out-and-out lied to them about this matter.)

I think that our Grotto people ought to speak up at this Synod and do the diocesan church a big favor. I’ll be writing about this again soon to solicit your co-operation. If the diocese is not interested in listening to us, the fringe people, the token 'traditional Catholics,' fine. But maybe we–maybe you–can have an impact on the future of the Church in the archdiocese of Detroit. God’s will be done.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Tridentine Community News - More EF Masses held at seminaries; Mary's Mantle collection; Christmas week bus tour of Chicago churches; TLM Mass schedules

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (November 22, 2015):
November 22, 2015 – Last Sunday After Pentecost

More Extraordinary Form Masses Held at Seminaries

The trend continues for seminaries to expose their students to the Traditional Latin Mass. On Wednesday, November 11, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia hosted a Solemn High Mass with Deacon and Subdeacon in its St. Martin of Tours Chapel. St. Charles Seminary has held Extraordinary Form Masses in the past; what was significant about this particular Mass is that the seminarians requested it, and the rector approved.

On November 13, the Pontifical North American College Seminary in Rome posted the below text and photo on its Facebook page concerning an impressive multi-year initiative:

“Many of our students take advantage of being trained in the rubrics of Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The training is provided by alumnus Msgr. Richard Soseman C’95 (Peoria) who works in the Congregation for the Clergy. Training is done progressively, with different materials presented to the second year, third year, and fourth year students. A dedicated practice chapel in our new building wing provides an excellent location for this training.”

Closer to home, Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary will be hosting a private Mass [exclusively] for members of Juventútem Michigan this week. Sacred Heart Seminary also held a private Mass in the Extraordinary Form a few weeks ago for a select group of seminarians. The celebrant of both of those Masses is Fr. Clint McDonell, a frequent substitute celebrant for the Oakland County Latin Mass Association who began an assignment teaching Philosophy at the seminary this fall. These are the first Tridentine Masses to have been held at SHMS in over 45 years.

Mary’s Mantle Collection

On Sunday, December 6, the Oakland County Latin Mass Association will be collecting gifts suitable for infants, to be distributed at Mary’s Mantle, a home for unwed mothers. Please bring your gifts to the reception which will be held after Mass that day, in the social hall at the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

Christmas Week Bus Tour of Chicago Churches

Prayer Pilgrimages will be holding its annual bus tour of historic churches in Chicago on Monday-Tuesday, December 28-29. Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz will be the celebrant of two High Masses in the Extraordinary Form to be held at the perennially popular St. Mary of the Angels [pictured] and St. John Cantius Churches. Fr. Marcel Portelli of the Diocese of Saginaw will also be traveling with the group and will lead pilgrims on a tour of his alma mater, Mundelein Seminary. In addition to visiting a plethora of beautiful churches, free time is allocated for sightseeing and shopping in downtown Chicago.

Altar servers are needed for this trip; please e-mail if you are available to serve. For further information or to register for the tour, visit or call Mike Semaan at (248) 250-6005.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 11/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Clement I, Pope & Martyr)
  • Tue. 11/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. John of the Cross, Confessor & Doctor)
[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 November 22, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Abp. Lefebvre fined for "racist defamation" of French Muslim community

Here is a fascinating bit of historical trivia that touches the heart of recent developments in France. The International League Against Racism and Anti‑Semitism (the LICRA ‑ The French equivalent of the American Civil Liberties Union) brought a civil lawsuit against Archbishop Lefebvre, accusing him of racism and defamation with respect to the Moslem community for some off-the-cuff remarks he made on November 14, 1989, on the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination (see video below):

At the conclusion of his subsequent trial, he was cleared of the charge of racism but, in a gesture of compromise, he was found guilty of defaming the French Moslem community and fined 5,000 French francs($1,010.), a verdict he subsequently appealed.

In a declaration in Ecône on May 12, 1990 (preliminary to his court case of June 21, 1990), he said, among other things:
For as long as Moslems are an insignificant minority in a Christian country they can live in a friendly way, because they follow the laws and customs of the country which accepts them. But as soon as they are numerous and organized they become aggressive and they seek to impose their laws, which are hostile to European civilization. Examples are abundant. Soon they will take charge of our city councils, and will transform our churches into mosques. We will either have to become Moslem, leave the country or become their captives. This is in the profound nature of Islam. It is not I who am racist in denouncing this very racism.

The pretended defamation is only the statement of obvious facts. Kidnapping of white girls is well known to the police and it still exists today. It is not defamation to denounce the kidnappers of our compatriots. It is to call upon justice and demand the protection of our fellow citizens. If you prevent us from crying out against the nefarious consequences of Islam’s penetration of France and Europe, you render yourselves accomplices to the violence committed in the name of the Koran by Islam in our Christian countries. It is they who have undertaken this procedure against us, a procedure which truly shows the fundamental racism of Islam against the French, against the Jews and against every religion which is not Moslem.

It is not I who am racist because I denounce racism. I lived all my life in the midst of other races ‑ thirty years in Africa, among animists and Moslems. There I strove to bring them both spiritual and material goods ‑ schools, hospitals, etc. They showed their gratitude in decorating me as Officer of the Equatorial Star of Gabon and Grand Officer of the National Order of Senegal, and the French government recognized my overseas services by making me Officer of the Legion of Honor.

To condemn me as a racist because I seek to protect my country which is menaced in its very existence and Christian traditions... this would be to use justice for injustice. This would be the justice at the service of executioners whose victims have at most the right to keep quiet and to perish. This would be the summit of injustice.
Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, lest we think this sort of heinous defamation of Muslims has disappeared from the scene, have a look at this bit of xenophobic slander concerning recent events in the United Kingdom:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why liberal secular Muslims can never tell you what ISIS really wants and why liberal Christians will never understand this

Graeme Wood, "What ISIS Really Wants" (Atlantic: March 2015): 
 Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”
The Atlantic article contains a good video interview with Graeme Wood.
[Hat tip to JM]

Paris, the dying flowers of Christendom past, and light for the dark ages ahead

Two poignant reflections:

Dying Flowers (CM, November 20, 2015) - excerpts:
The outpourings of emotion and remembrances at the scenes of the Paris terrorist massacres are quite telling — piles of flowers and candles marking the specific spots where people gather to reflect. It all looks and sounds incredibly Catholic. But ... just how Catholic is it? 
It has all the outward signs of Catholicism, after all. But just how authentically Catholic is it? It is a curious thing when a nation which has officially abandoned Catholicism still has an almost instinctual Catholic response. But Catholicism is merely a shadow of its former self in the nation known as the Eldest Daughter of the Church. It's a strange balance between rejection and acceptance. In a kind of scaled-down way, it's kind of like the Catholics who show up only for Christmas and Easter. You wonder: Why are they here? It isn't theological or really even spiritual, beyond the most superficial understanding of the term "spiritual." 
The point to note in Paris, as mourners bring by their dying flowers and soon-to-be burnt-out and blown-out candles, some vestige of truth remains, however obscured and lost on the mourners themselves. It is a curious pity; you feel sorry for people who still respond on some foundational level to a tragedy, still respond out of a long-forgotten sense of Catholic identity. These scenes of Paris mourning are a cause of mourning in and of themselves. 
When you see them in poses resembling prayer, you wonder: What are they praying for; do they even know what to pray for? Do they have and hold a conscious thought that some of the souls of the victims may be in excruciating need of prayer in Purgatory? Are they showing up because of some melodrama playing out in their own individual psyches or personality types, the types drawn to drama or tragedy? They are memorializing an event, using Catholic signs and symbols to do so, yet don't really understand why, and have no lasting purpose to what they are doing because they do not understand.
Forming the Resistance (CM, November 19, 2015) - excerpts:
We are currently reduced to living on the fumes of that former civilization [of Christendom], as the last vestiges of it fade away. So what will replace it? Where will we be in 10 years? How will faithful Catholics live in the new Dark Ages? Thankfully, when we look at this vexing question, we do have precedent.  [That precedent is St. Benedict.]
In his 1981 book After Virtue, which we highlighted in yesterday's Vortex, Alasdair McIntyre, a brilliant man, drew some comparisons between the time of St. Benedict and our own time. He says near the very end 
This time, however, the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting for another — doubtless very different — St. Benedict.
 Since McIntyre penned those closing words more than 30 years ago, much has changed in the world, although it would be difficult to view it as surprising given the trajectory of the past 50-plus years. But McIntyre nails it when he refers to need for another St. Benedict. What St. Benedict foresaw was the need for Catholic communities to preserve the Faith from the evil the world was sinking deeper into it. So he withdrew, but he did not retire.  
[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

War and Pastry

The underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, sent me this following message two days ago ... yes, by carrier pigeon:
It seems Atheists are OK, but I surmise the Centurion in the Gospels, who had "great faith" would not be welcome in Church discussions today, he being an advocate of war... [Augustinus, "Francis: No justification for war, even today"]

Neither Republicans who write stuff like this [David French, "No, John Oliver, France Is Not in a ‘Pastry Fight’ with Jihadists" (advisory: foul language)]

... But give Jon Stewart a rosary...

Abortion as beautiful and holy: the demons must be howling

Remember when Simon and Garfunkel sang "Silent Night" to the background of the 7 O'Clock evening news reporting about the Vietnam war, death by drug overdoses, racial rioting, the Richard Speck murders?

Now ABC News has done one better: Daniel Nussbaum, in "ABC’s ‘Scandal’ Main Character Undergoes Abortion Set to ‘Silent Night’," shows how Thursday night's episode of Shonda Rhimes's ABC series Scandal was, in fact, nothing less than an hour-long advertisement for Planned Parenthood, with "Silent Night" sung by a Gospel choir in the background as Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) undergoes an abortion.

Sometimes the work of Satan is so transparent one can only say: "Wow!" What complete and utter fools we are to have allowed things to spin out of control under our very noses. But, then again, we RE-ELECTED the man in the White House who invokes the blessing of "God" on Planned Parenthood, champions sodomite "marriage" in the name of "family-values," opens our borders in the name of "compassion" to enemies of Jews and Christians, and is bankrupting us to the tune of $19 million and running. As I say, the demons must be howling with laughter. They know (better than we) that we deserve every bit of what's coming.

[Hat tip to JM]

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Complacency = death"

Rod Dreher, "The End of Our Time" (The American Conservative, November 17 2015):
A reader sent that cartoon to me. It’s by Joann Sfar, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, and it’s a response to people around the world who are offering prayers for Paris. No sir, Parisians like the atheist Sfar have no desire for prayers. Religion, you see, is the problem. If only everyone would be a thoroughly secular person like Sfar, these difficulties would resolve themselves.
The other day, a musician with a peace sign painted on his piano set up outside the devastated Bataclan nightclub, and played John Lennon’s nihilistic ballad “Imagine”
... I credit the sweetness of the anonymous musician’s spirit, but the more I thought about that gesture, the angrier I grew. Why angry? Because this — and the Sfar cartoon — are emblematic of the decadence and despair and emptiness of the post-Christian West. I keep saying, “You can’t fight something with nothing,” and that’s exactly what “Imagine,” and the Sfar cartoon stand for: nothing. Believe me, I celebrate music! kisses! life! Champagne and joy! too — it’s one of the reasons I love Paris madly — but it is not enough, and it will never be enough.
... Russian novelist Evgeny Vodolazkin ... told me that just as World War I wasn’t really about an assassination in Sarajevo, so too is the West’s current crisis not truly about Islamists who shoot up concert halls. He added that the West has never seen a migration like the current one, with so many masses of people moving from East to West, at once. He described it as “a great historical event.” “Nobody knows how this experiment will end,” he said. “The best thing we can do now is to pray. To tell the truth, I don’t see any way out of this tunnel.”
... Houellebecq [in his recent novel, Submission] depicts a France where people do little more than shop, have sex, and talk about eating, drinking, real estate, and getting ahead in their careers. There is no purpose for individuals other than pleasing themselves, no animating vision for society. This, for Houellebecq, is why the West is dying: people have ceased to believe in their civilization, and do not want to make the sacrifices necessary to continue it — not if it is going to cost them the thing they value the most: individual liberty to choose one’s pleasures.
... As Douthat, Houellebecq, Ferguson, and Vodolazkin all aver, in their different ways, these scattered events that trouble us all have their roots in a fundamental breakdown of civilizational order and confidence. This is about the Western mind, but more importantly, it’s about the Western soul. The breakdown, the crack-up, will be painful, violent, unpredictable, and long-lasting. But it’s coming. In fact, it has begun. I believe that the Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, in his 1923 book The End of the Modern World, in which he prophesied the rise of a “New Middle Ages,” is telling us what is to emerge out of the chaos of our cultural suicide. [Berdyaev writes]:
[F]aith in the ultimate political and social salvation of mankind is quenched. We have reached settlement-day after a series of centuries during which movement was from the centre, the spiritual core of life, to the periphery, its surface and social exterior. And the more empty of religious significance social life has become, the more it has tyrannized over the general life of man....]
... We have been walking this Enlightenment road for far too long, and it has us now in a dark wood.
[Hat tip to J ]

"Recycling the Revolution: 3"

From the editor of Christian Order (November 2015), this provocative piece called "Recycling The Revolution: 3." (Somehow the Beatles' "Revolution No. 9" keeps recycling in my poor head.)

Only this is serious. And it begins with four quotes whose authors (and timeline) are food for thought in and of themselves:
  • Blessed Pius IX (1871): "Believe me, the evil I denounce is more terrible than the Revolution.... that which I fear is Liberal Catholicism, which endeavours to unite two principles as repugnant to each other as fire and water ...."

  • St. Pius X (1910): "[W]hat has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organisation... is now [part] of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world... the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak..."

  • Yves Marsaudon (1964): "[W]e are unable to ignore the Second Vatican Council and its consequences... With all our hearts we support the Revolution of John XXIII... This courageous concept of the Freedom of Thought that lies at the core of our Freemasonic lodges, has spread in a truly magnificent manner right under the Dome of St. Peter's."

  • Cardinal Danneels (2001): "Before Vatican II, in theology, as in other areas, the discipline was fixed. After the council there has been a revolution — a chaotic revolution — with free discussion on everything. There is now no common theology or philosophy as there was before."
Then there's the article ...

[Hat tip to JM]

Monday, November 16, 2015

Is the Year of Mercy about God's forgiveness of sin or international rapprochement?

Someone may reply: "Well, why not both?" And I would counter: "Would it be the same thing we were talking about then? Aren't these, rather, two different things?"

Adfero, "Vatican Secretary of State: Holy Year is open to Muslims!" (Rorate Caeli, November 16, 2015):
The Secretary of the Vatican State, Pietro Parolin, has confirmed that the Jubilee (from December 8th 2015 to November 20th 2016) is on schedule, as the spokesman for the Holy See, Padre Lombardi had already said, and that, in fact, will be open also to Muslims. “In a world torn by violence, it is the right time to launch the campaign of mercy” said the Cardinal in an interview with the French Catholic newspaper La Croix. “It is understandable that there are sentiments of revenge after the attacks, but we really need to resist them. The Pope wants the Jubilee to be used for people to meet each other, understand each other and rise above hate”, explains the Secretary of the Vatican State.
Okay, I get that. It's possible that those who have lost loved ones to Muslim terrorists might turn the other cheek in a Christ-like manner and forgive those who perpetrated this horror in an overture intended to win them to Christ and conversion to Holy Mother Church. It's possible, if uncommon.

It's also possible that the Vatican could be inviting sinners to flee the wrath of God to come by turning in repentance to the God of all mercy who is willing to forgive the contrite sinner no matter what the sin or the crime. That's possible too, if not very obvious in anything said by the Vatican Secretary of State.

But is either of these things really the meaning of the Year of Mercy? I'm sorry to sound like a skeptic. But the language just sounds much more like a public policy initiative, an invitation to dialogue, to seek mutual understanding, to "rise above hate."

This is, of course, something perfectly desirable; but is this the essential meaning of God's mercy in Holy Scripture? I've just been reading in the Old Testament the account of how Moses had the Levites slay about three thousand of the Children of Israel who refused to repent after their idolatrous celebration around the image of a golden calf.

God did not appear too eager to simply let unrepentant rebels off the hook under the blanket invitation of mercy -- a detail notably confirmed by the fact that Moses immediately went back up Mt. Sinai to the Lord to try to make atonement for the sins of his people.

It seems that the Mercy of Holy Scripture comes at a considerable cost, an important detail nobody seems to eager to talk about publicly.

Then again, I could be wrong. Just my two cents.

Solemn Tridentine Mass at St. Charles Borromo Seminary

Fr. John Zuhldorf, "Solemn Mass in Extraordinary Form at a major American seminary" (Fr. Z's Blog, November 15, 2015):
I received word via email… the Traditional Latin Mass has “returned” to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

This is an exceptionally good development. They should should have it every week, at least.

Here are a few snaps from their flicker feed HERE.

My correspondent wrote that this is the… :
Feast of St. Martin of Tours, in our Martin of Tours chapel. The seminarians have been asking the rector for a TLM, so he agreed!

Fr. Rosica: "'Allahu akbar' was never a call to violence & destruction"

Say WHAT???

Phil Lawler, "Father Rosica on Islam: 180º from reality" (, November 16, 2015):
"Allahu akbar" was never a call to violence & destruction.

That astonishing quote comes from the Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language attaché of the Vatican press office, in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

What is “astonishing” about the statement? Simply that it is so clearly wrong, so blatantly at odds with the facts. Does Father Rosica expect his readers to forget the many times in recent years when we have heard those words, ”Allahu akbar,” invoked precisely as a celebration of violence and destruction?