Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Francis: Facts + Fears Moving Forward"

Our correspondent, Guy Noir, writes in recommendation of Ross Douthat's article, "Will Pope Francis Break the Church?" (Atlantic, May 2015), and calls Ross Douthat's article
A masterful mash-up of three biographies, and an irenic marshaling of words that nonetheless confirms the instincts of many: Francis is a genial, aging Jesuit who believes, yes, but has also lived such a varied life, witnessed so much Catholicism that seems in spirit so unChristian, and finally followed the reigning progressive-moderate theology to its logical conclusions. And so he's inevitably become a Vatican version of a disarming, retirement-aged Barrack Obama. Once you see it, you can't not — all the explanations and conservative Catholic spin to the contrary.
Is that a fair characterization of Douthat's article? Is it a fair characterization of the pontificate of Pope Francis? This isn't the first time I've heard such parallels drawn, even by well-known conservative Catholic colleagues. I hardly know what to say. Douthat is a thoughtful, respected journalist, but we also do need to read widely and carefully.

"After all that," says Noir, "read Mullarkey if you can." He refers to Maureen Mullarkey's "Notes on an Idol" (First Things, April 21, 2015), in which she says, among other things:
"The mission of the Church is to keep man mindful that he has another life to live. When the Church maneuvers to be counted a player among the principalities and powers, the subversion of Christian truth and charity has begun."
Finally, Noir asks, echoing the title of Douthat's article: "Can a successor of St. Peter break the Church? I don't know. But he most certainly can subvert its mission and contribute to its deformation."

We Catholics do have an extensive historical list of "anti-popes" and "bad popes," true. I think an acquaintance with that history bolsters our confidence that the Church can weather just about any storm; but I also do know that we are not absolved by our faith in that tenet from our own responsibility in defending and supporting and promoting the Catholic Faith in our own lifetimes.

Tridentine Community News - Office Building Chapels, 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 26, 2015):
Office Building Chapels

Not every Catholic worship site is a full-fledged parish. Most of us are aware of chapels in schools and universities, including our own Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel. Some shrine churches are not parishes, for example St. Albertus Church and the Divine Mercy Center in the Archdiocese of Detroit, and the Shrine of St. Joseph in St. Louis, Missouri. There are also non-parish churches located in office districts which exist to serve local workers, such as St. Peter’s in the Loop, Chicago ( Along these lines, some of the Catholic world’s better kept secrets are chapels improbably located inside of office buildings, a few examples of which follow:

Ave Maria Chapel at Domino’s Farms, Ann Arbor: Inside the sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Domino’s Farms complex, adjacent to the studios of WDEO-AM, is a chapel where Mass is offered four times each day. One of landlord Tom Monaghan’s many Catholic projects, the chapel originally served the employees of Domino’s as well as the once-nearby Ave Maria University. Today it is open to all. Confessions are offered there, and it is not uncommon to see students from the University of Michigan lined up in the corridor of the office building awaiting their turn. (

TACOM Chapel, Warren, Michigan: St. Hyacinth Church Tridentine Mass organizer Mike Smigielski supplied us with this photo of a chapel inside the tank plant, where Holy Mass is offered on Wednesdays. It’s not entirely clear how or why this chapel was established, but a dedicated team of volunteers keeps it running. The TACOM Chapel is not open to the public.

St. Francis Chapel, Boston: Perhaps the busiest office building chapel in North America, this one is located in a retail storefront on the ground floor of the enormous Prudential Center office tower and mall. It is open for daily Mass, Confessions, and adoration. (

Queen of Life Chapel, Irvine, California: One of many outside-the-box projects of attorney, hotelier, and Catholic philanthropist Tim Busch, this chapel is located inside Busch’s law firm. Originally holding one Mass per week on Thursdays at 11:50 AM, the chapel now hosts Mass Monday-Friday, weekly Adoration, and even an Anglican Use community on Sundays. It is open to the public. (

You might be wondering: Do any such chapels offer the Traditional Latin Mass? That’s hard to know, given that many of these chapels don’t make much of an attempt to publicize their existence. However this writer can testify to the existence of one such chapel: In the early 1990s, on the lower level of the Arco Tower in downtown Los Angeles, the St. Bernardine Chapel was the location of one of L.A.’s then-indult Tridentine Masses, in addition to hosting weekday Masses in the Ordinary Form. The St. Bernardine Chapel closed later in the decade, most likely due to the high rents in the district.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter Canisius, Confessor & Doctor)
  • Tue. 04/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Paul of the Cross, Confessor)
  • Fri. 05/01 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Joseph (St. Joseph the Workman) – First Friday
[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 26, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Fr. Perrone on the Importance of Intellectual Catechesis, Sacred Tradition, & Prayer in Knowing Christ

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, April 26, 2015):
A few things converge in my mind, leading to the subject matter here.
In our home school classes on Wednesdays we are attempting a bold enterprise: a course in Christology. That would be quite an undertaking for anybody. For high school students, it’s a near impossibility. I knew that in proposing the study in the first place but I wanted to see how far we could go. The central problem in general is that theological study, especially of the Catholic kind, presumes a grounding in philosophy and familiarity with its terminology. This is not something easily to be had and cannot be compensated for by improvised explanations of the moment. In musical terms, it would be like attempting to play a piano concerto when one had not first learnt the fundamentals of piano technique. One can, without the preliminary studies, grasp some things, but a great deal must be left undone. Was it then a foolish attempt to have a course in Christology for high schoolers? My purpose was to make known some of the complexity involved in trying to grasp divine things–in this case, the study of Christ–to expand the mind, if you will. Religious studies in a number of parishes are reduced to reading bible stories and to some sentimental aspects of religion (usually religious enthusiasm). This is a great impoverishment because the mind seeks to understand, and in the Catholic tradition there is a great deal to be understood. The Church would have a lot to impart to questing minds about many things in our faith. Too often, however, our kids are not taught even the basics of the faith in catechetical instruction, an omission which leaves them high and dry when they mature and begin to ask the deeper questions about faith only to find little or nothing in their mental store to lead them to a an understanding. The result is proved by the stats. Kids drop out of going to Mass and often leave the Church on account of the conjunction of two factors: 1) the awakening of adolescence, which causes an interior rebellion against the moral teachings of God and the Church leading to question the force both of their consciences and the moral authority of anyone, parents or priests, over them, and 2) the lack of solid religious instruction in the basics of the faith that should have been implanted in them in their youth through catechetical instruction.

Another matter which stirred me to write is reading a critical review of a very prominent Protestant theologian’s work on Christ. He makes some very basic errors where a good grounding in the Catholic tradition would have led him to truth. Here we see that the stored wisdom of Mother Church would have been a guiding light to the unfortunate man had he been well prepared to approach the daunting subject of Christ with the advantage of a Catholic background. 

The third influence pressing upon my mind to write is the experience of Christ that can be gained only through prayer. Where human ignorance is necessarily presumed in trying to grasp, comprehend, encompass God—an impossibility in the full sense, since God must remain beyond the capabilities of any finite intelligence—and where the dizzying experience of concupiscence tends to divert one from the paths of humble submission to God, the discovery of the Person of Christ through prayer secures a personal possession of Christ that can’t be had by religious instruction and moral discipline alone. Prayer is the indispensable means for spiritual maturity. One who does not pray is lost, both in the sense that he is consigned to meandering through life without the security of God’s friendship and in the ultimate sense of everlasting confusion in the next life.

The conclusion is inevitable. Unless one prays with humility, regularity, with perseverance, and with love for Christ, he can neither know Him in any deep sense nor remain in a state of grace. Possession of Christ is a need that is satisfied through the sacraments and through personal prayer. If you’re not doing these things, you will be lost, mentally, morally, and eternally.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Masses coming to metro Detroit and east Michigan this week

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

On disadvantages of the Novus Ordo Mass in Africa

Joseph Shaw, "The Extraordinary Form and Sub-Saharan Africa" (Position Paper No. 25) (Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce, April, 2015), via Rorate Caeli:
Catholics of the older generation often tell me that at the time of the introduction of the reformed liturgy, it was frequently justified as being necessary for 'the missions'. This paper points to a number of difficulties with the idea that the reformed liturgy is particularly suited to Africa.
Shaw also addresses the problem of inculturation on his own blog in a post entitled, "The Traditional Mass and Africa" (LMS Chairman, April 25, 2015):
[O]bviously, the Novus Ordo is bound to be more suited to the cultural conditions of Africa... right?

Wrong. The reality is that, unfortunatly, the Novus Ordo looks very much like ... aspects of modern European culture which have been arriving in Africa since colonial times, which are not respectful of authentic African culture. Alongside Hollywood films and consumerism, the Novus Ordo reflects the passage through European thinking of Rationalism and Romanticism. Insofar as one can see it as a good response to the cultural situation of modern Europe - and this is presumably the idea - then its attempt to make Catholicism less shocking and uncomfortable for people who don't understand the concept of the supernatural and instinctively reject the idea of tradition, it is addressing a situation totally removed from the situation in Africa. For most African Catholics, it is an answer to a question which is not being asked....

What the Church needs, in fact, is a form of worship which is clearly not pagan, but which still answers the spiritual needs of people who feel the pull of paganism. A liturgy which creates a sense of the sacred, of entering into the mysterium tremendum. What can too easily happen is just the opposite: a 'banal on-the-spot-product' (as Pope Benedict described it) with pagan ceremonies inserted into it at intervals, as we have all seen with Papal liturgies. African Catholics could be forgiven for thinking, in a liturgy like that, that it is the pagan stuff which is powerful, which connects with the transcendant, with the spirit world, and not the Christian stuff. That, obviously, is a disaster, even leaving aside the whole question of liturgical abuses.

What I would like to emphasise finally is that, however narrow-minded some of the missionary priests of old might have been (and by no means all of them were narrow-minded), having a totally Catholic but spiritually impressive liturgy like the Traditional Mass can today give priests and people the confidence to incorporate African customs into the life of the Church, without exposing themselves to the polemics of the Evangelicals or to any kind of syncretism. It is a great sadness that Africans should feel they have the abandon their indiginous names, music, or art, in order to become Christian: this is something Pope Paul VI spoke firmly against in 1967: 'an African man, when initiated into the Christian religion, is by no means forced to repudiate himself'. Cultural self-repudiation has never been the Church's demand of converts. The Traditional Mass is not part of the problem with inculturation, but part of the solution.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.
The Una Voce Position Paper (first referenced above) is actually the much more substantial article of the two, so please don't neglect to read it, if the subject interests you.

One recalls the massive success in Africa of the Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, from 1932 until he ran afoul of Rome after Vatican II.

In 1948 he was appointed by Pope Pius XII as his Apostolic Delegate of Dakar, he oversaw the Catholic Church in 18 African countries. By 1959, his territory of apostolic work had expanded to 12 archdioceses, 36 dioceses, and 13 Italian Apostolic Prefectures including Morrocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Central African Republic, Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia, Cote d'Ivorie, Benin, Togo, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Madagascar, Le Reunion. One can find more on his testimony of the Catholic Faith's effect in Africa here [disclaimer: Rules 7-9]; and all of this took place well before the advent of the Novus Ordo in 1970.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

D. G. Hart and Ross Douthat: Should the tail of Papal biography wag the dog of Church policy?

D. G. Hart, "Should Biography Be So Important?" (Old Life, April 22, 2015):
Ross Douthat’s article on Pope Francis reflects the smarts, insights, and courage that characterizes almost everything the columnist writes. His conclusion about a potential disruption of the church by the current pope is again refreshing, especially coming from a conservative, since most converts and apologists hum merrily the tune of “nothing changes, we have the magisterium.” Douthat recognizes that this ecclesiology makes it almost impossible for conservatives to stop a progressive-led disruption:
In the age of Francis, this progressive faith seems to rest on two assumptions. The first is that the changes conservatives are resisting are, in fact, necessary for missionary work in the post-sexual-revolution age, and that once they’re accomplished, the subsequent renewal will justify the means. The second is that because conservative Catholics are so invested in papal authority, a revolution from above can carry all before it: the conservatives’ very theology makes it impossible for them to effectively resist a liberalizing pope, and anyway they have no other place to go.
But the first assumption now has a certain amount of evidence against it, given how many of the Protestant churches that have already liberalized on sexual issues—again, often dividing in the process—are presently aging toward a comfortable extinction. (As is, of course, the Catholic Church in Germany, ground zero for Walter Kasper’s vision of reform.)
Contemporary progressive Catholicism has been stamped by the experience of the Second Vatican Council, when what was then a vital American Catholicism could be invoked as evidence that the Church should make its peace with liberalism as it was understood in 1960. But liberalism in 2015 means something rather different, and attempts to accommodate Christianity to its tenets have rarely produced the expected flourishing and growth. Instead, liberal Christianity’s recent victories have very often been associated with the decline or dissolution of its institutional expressions.
Which leaves the second assumption for liberals to fall back on—a kind of progressive ultramontanism, which assumes that papal power can remake the Church without dividing it, and that when Rome speaks, even disappointed conservatives will ultimately concede that the case is closed.
[Hat tip to JM]

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Synod. A letter almost from the ends of the earth"

Sandro Magister (www.chiesa, April 24, 2015) relates an open letter from Australia and Papua New Guinea, written by theologian Paul A. McGavin: "Holy Father, do not limit yourself to listening but say also what you think, in the assembly and outside. And then decide.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Bach's music is like Escher's drawings and Gödel's theorem

Years ago I remember reading Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braidwhich compares Bach's music to Escher's drawings and Gödel's mathematical reasoning. You may remember Echer's drawings, like the one below, where the water at the bottom of the waterfall flows "downstream" until it reaches the top of the falls again:

What he does with the mathematics of Gödel may be of particular interest to mathematicians and philosophers of mathematics and meta-theories of theories, but my particular interest was in what Hofstadter did with Bach's "Musical Offering" (Das Musikalische Opfer), or that part of it known as the Crab Canon (canon cancrizans). From a mathematical point of view, what Bach does is simply breath-taking. First, he plays through the melody in the trebel clef, then plays it backwards, then he plays the same sequence simultaneously forwards and backwards, then transposes the trebel and base clefs, and so on. What is remarkable is how everything fits together. As I visualize it, it must have been like playing a chess game and anticipating not one or two moves of your opponent alongside your responses, but perhaps one or two hundred. Bach might have made a hell of a chess player.

But just today I discovered this video of Bach's "Crab Canon" visualized on a Möbius Strip such as Escher might have drawn. Watch it. Follow the notes and what Bach does at each step. It's simply mind-numbing. And ethereally beautiful.

Here's what Colin Marshall says about it in his post, "The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visualized on a Möbius Strip" (Open Culture, February 2013):

"Michigan Priest Urges Parishioners to Arm Themselves"

Concealed Pistol License Classes Held on Parish Property - via Church Militant, April 22, 2015)

ANN ARBOR, April 22, 2015 (Detroit Free Press) by Patricia Montemurri—An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL).

In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get concealed pistol licenses because of recent crime in the area. During a Palm Sunday mass last month, Fride announced that the parish would be holding the CPL class.

"I didn't think people spoke like this anymore. Ever."

Our underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, sent the following (emphases his):
Compare this exchange to the memorable lines of America's leading Bishop:"Good for him," Dolan said. "I would have no sense of judgment on him," Dolan continued. "God bless ya. I don't think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo.'"
Read on...

The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage” (March) is a clear articulation of the importance of marriage in Christian theology and the need for churches to remain faithful to Christian teaching. But for all that it gets right, the piece contains one line of argument that Christians should be on guard against. The authors write, “Christians have too often been silent about biblical teaching on sex, marriage, and family life.” It goes on, “In a few matters, we do not speak with one voice: We hold somewhat different views about the morality of contraception, the legitimacy of divorce, and clerical celibacy.” ­Finally, later: “An easy acceptance of divorce damages marriage; widespread cohabitation devalues marriage. But so-called same-sex marriage is a graver threat, because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.”

Taken together, these quotes represent a dangerous line of argument, because same-sex marriage cannot be abstracted from the wider background of marital collapse enabled by widespread divorce and contraception. This is true both as a matter of principle and of prudence.

As a matter of principle, any argument against same-sex marriage that invokes the reproductive end of sex necessarily implicates contraception. Contraception frustrates reproduction no less than homosexual sex does. Therefore, to say that the morality of contraception is merely questionable but the morality of homosexual sex is clear is internally incoherent. And it’s not just pure logical consistency at stake, either. The Christian intellectual tradition has the sweep and grandeur of the Cathedral of Notre Dame; it is a space of cavernous beauty and monumental profundity. Anyone who takes even a step inside is immediately struck by the sense that something important happens here. You cannot separate the discussion of gay marriage from the full scope of Christian sexual ethics without limiting this sweep and grandeur.

As a matter of prudence, prioritizing the wrongness of same-sex marriage over divorce or contraception (or even masturbation) only serves to reinforce the claim that Christians are motivated by some kind of anti-gay animus when they defend traditional marriage laws. The best defense against that charge is an equally vocal concern for all the threats to marriage, and all varieties of sterile sex.

Many of the leading writers on gay marriage have spoken well about the need to limit no-fault divorce, and are clear about their moral opposition to contraception. Indeed, “The Two Shall Become One Flesh” makes several gestures in the direction I outlined above. For instance, the authors write, “Christians are implicated in this decline. Evangelicals and Catholics are more likely to divorce than they were fifty years ago. Moreover, Christians have adopted to no small extent the contraceptive mind-set that in society at large has separated sex from reproduction and so weakened the centrality and attraction of marriage.”

But these statements coexist with the ones I quote at the start of this letter, and that creates an ambiguity that has bedeviled the marriage movement. The authors contend that Christians have often been silent on marriage. When it comes to gay marriage, this is simply not true. The debate over gay marriage has consumed the nation for several years, and there has been no lack of Christian voices expressing the Christian view. That Christians are “anti-gay” seems to be one of the few “facts” this country knows about us. But when it comes to divorce and contraception, we have not always raised clear objections. The uneasy relation this document bears to those issues does not really correct that silence. It dances around it.

Amateur Brain Surgeon's analysis of Eucharistic Prayer II

Commenting on Fr John Hunwicke's otherwise unexceptional article, "How to enjoy Eucharistic Prayer II" (Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment, April 22, 2015), Raider Fan (A.K.A. Amateur Brain Surgeon) writes in The Nesciencent Nepenthene (April 22, 2015):
It would be comforting to learn that late in life, Annibale Bugnini, had a moment like Alec Guinness had in the movie, Bridge on the River Kwai:

What can I say? The man has a twisted sense of humor. [Laughing ... ] Unfortunately, so do I.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Four characteristics of the new intolerance

I found some good insights in Mary Eberstadt's article, "The New Intolerance" (First Things, March 2015), which is an adaptation of the first annual First Things Lecture. Here are some excerpts:
The first fact is that the new intolerance isn’t just a Christian problem. It’s an everybody problem....

... as someone wrote about the forced resignation in April 2014 of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich: “When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance.” Thank you, Andrew Sullivan.

... You don’t have to be a card-carrying theist to question what’s going on out there, after all—and that’s exactly the point. In fact, much of what’s known today about the post-revolution world, ironically enough, has been mapped over the decades by people without any religious agenda whatsoever.

The new intolerance ... penalizes people who are a clear net-plus for society, people who spend their days helping the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, caring for the cast-off, and otherwise trying to live out the Judeo-Christian code of social justice. More and more, those people are also witnesses to a terrible truth: The new intolerance makes it harder to help the poor and needy.

I met one such witness last year, a young woman who works for Catholic Charities. She is every inch the kind of paragon who puts the rest of us to shame—someone pulled closely into the Church’s orbit by the sheer gravity of her desire to help the poor.

Much of her time now, she said sadly, is spent not where she wants to be, in soup kitchens or hospitals or nursing homes or with destitute immigrants. (Her particular archdiocese is half Spanish-speaking, and its humanitarian work among immigrants there is critical.) Why not? Because her days are spent largely on countering legal and other maneuvers by activists intent on closing Catholic Charities’ foster care and adoption services—for the sole reason that Christian teachings about the family infuriate sexual ­progressives.

This witness said, “I know the time is coming when we’ll either close our doors, or decide to keep up our work regardless—in which case we’ll end up in jail. But who will take care of the children? Not the people who have sued us out of existence—they’ll move on. Who will take care of all those kids?”

To repeat: The new intolerance is bad for the poor, and concern for the poor is not just some boutique Christian quirk—at least, it isn’t supposed to be. Everybody who cares about social justice ought to deplore the new intolerance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fr. Perrone: Post-Holy Week house keeping & ruminations

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, April 19, 2015):
All the great days are now behind us: Holy Week, Easter Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday. Although the Church is still in high spirits throughout the greater Easter season, yet it would be expected that one should feel a liturgical slump. For sure, there are some peak days ahead, such as Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi and the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, not to mention our own local celebration of First Holy Communion and May crowning. The break with the sharp winter temperatures and the warmth of the sunshine add to this feeling of release and repose after a season of hard work with harsh temperatures.

It is only now that I can begin to feel this pleasant change. I say this because there is about the span of a month’s time when I so immerse myself in liturgical things that I have to drop almost everything else. In other words: one week before Holy Week preparations are made; then comes the Great Week itself with Easter; what follows is a week of restoration to order, putting things back in place, noting corrections to be made for next year’s celebrations. After Divine Mercy Sunday I look over the large stack of parish work that has lain on my desk, growing ever higher by the day, and I began to make up for the “lost” time.

I write this not because you want to know what I do behind the scenes, but so that you can be a little understanding of why it may be that I cannot set meeting times and answer many messages, respond to mailings and make appointments during this time. I’m catching up on many things (not to mention the necessities of the dread tax time) so that there can be a return to normalcy. I appreciate your understanding and patience.

You will note that the church front porch and steps are being repaired and rebuilt. There had been a growing problem for the last few years. We thought it would be a relatively easy fix-up. It turned out to be a major project. After some eighty years and more one should expect that some repairs of our church would be needed. As it is, the church structure is remarkably sound (I’m told) and it is obvious that no effort or expense was spared when constructing the church, the reason for its durability as well as its admirable quality.

You will notice that there are other areas of the church plant which need attention. There’s so much here of land and aging buildings. We do our best to keep things serviceable while awaiting a time when more substantial restorations can be done. Another area for you to exercise patience.

We were pleased to have four new members of the Church brought in at the Easter Vigil Mass. While that may be a somewhat small number of converts in comparison to what suburban parishes accomplish, it is for us a good number. The more important thing, however, is that, after having interviewed them and questioned them on the faith, these converts give good indications that they will be worthy members of the Church. Christ is alive not only in Himself but also in His members who live in His grace and who represent Him to the world. This is so badly needed today when the Catholic voice is being stifled by the ungodly din of the worldly and the depraved. I have high hopes for these new Catholics (not to put too great a burden of expectation on them) that they will inject their newfound enthusiasm for the faith back into the body of the Church. This is an encouragement for all of us as well as our joy for them.

We have for several years been blessed with two extraordinary ladies–both named Mary–who have done laundry for us priests on the one hand and for the church linens on the other. Both of them have had to retire from this work (one only temporarily, it is hoped). This leaves us with a need for a couple of ladies to step in, those who may have the extra time to devote to it. Should you know of some such person, or should you yourself be she (how awkward that sounds!), do pluck up the courage and speak to the pastor or to his more kindly disposed associate priest.

Fr. Perrone

The Idols of Environmentalism

Maureen Mullarkey, "Notes on an Idol" (First Things, April 21, 2015):
... Growing mightily all the while is the cult of environmentalism, a burgeoning state religion summarized in the catechism of sustainable development. It is the ascendant idol of our time, as magnetic—and totalizing—as the Leninist-Stalinist doctrines were to Milosz’ contemporaries.

.... There is little need to wait for the climate encyclical to know which way this trolley is headed. On its website, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences announces an April 28th conference: Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: the Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity. Its mission statement is steeped in the received wisdom that enchants today's collective mind....

... The Vatican's slouch toward salvation-by-ecology did not begin with Pope Francis. Daniel Stone, writing in National Geographic in 2013 stated that one lasting legacy of Benedict XVI, dubbed the “Green Pope,” was how he steered the global debate over climate change: ” . . . the pontiff has made environmental awareness a key tenant of his tenure.” In Caritas in Veritate (2009), Benedict signaled his hope for a “world political authority.”

... The mission of the Church is to keep man mindful that he has another life to live. When the Church maneuvers to be counted a player among the principalities and powers, the subversion of Christian truth and charity has begun. The true object of Green globalism is not human needs, but those of the planet. The culture of death wears many guises. Among them are the anti-humanist assumptions of environmentalism.

Yesterday's Gospel reading (John 6: 28-29) hovers over this discussion:
Then they said unto him: What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God: that you believe in him whom he hath sent.
All the rest, with its time-bound, tragic burdens, is the work of man. And men of good will, in their God-given freedom, differ in definitions of the common good and in means to achieve it. Turning stones into bread is not a work for the Pontifical Academy.
[Hat tip to Dr. M. Latkovic]

Related - Despite media spin, Pope Benedict XVI expressed 'GRAVE MISGIVINGS' about modern environmentalism

Monday, April 20, 2015

In case you were wondering

HERE is the reality in which I daily live my life (see below); and I post this because I sometimes get the impression that at least some readers may sometimes received the wrong impression from the tone of many of my posts.

I recently posted the following on Facebook (yes, I sometimes descend into that nefarious pit of hell to preach to the prisoners inside). Just in case you were wondering ...
The Catholic Faith is just so utterly BEAUTIFUL !!! There are so many disturbing things in the Church and in the world that I sometimes need to stop myself and let people know that the ultimate reality in which I live is so untroubled, peaceful, and saturated by God's grace that they would probably be surprised, in view of my frequent laments.