Sunday, July 08, 2012

Zing! Talk about homiletic flourish!

Via Fr. Z, "The Curé of Blackfen riffs The Curé of Ars: 'If only your soul was as beautiful as your iPad!'” (WDTPRS, July 7, 2012), Fr. Tim Finigan ("the mighty P.P. of Blackfen, the Dean of Bexley, His Hermeneuticalness") offers a post on the occasion of English people being given the opportunity to venerate the heart of St. John Vianney:
There are various videos and texts related to the visit at the website of the Diocese of Shrewsbury. Bishop Davies is a great devotee of St John Vianney and knows his life and work in depth. In his sermon at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool for a National Day of Prayer for the renewal of parish life and vocations, he recalled an amusing story:
St. John Vianney never set out to ‘please people’ responding to demands like a tin can blown about on the piazza outside. [Great image.] Rather he proceeded purposefully in seeking to please God. This led him very close to all his people and especially close throughout his life to the most difficult and confused of his people – the types of people we might naturally be inclined to avoid. Yet there was nothing of a ‘people pleaser’ in this. The stories are legion of his remarks and sayings which might appeal to Lancastrian plain-speaking. Yet it is hard to know how they were first received such as when he told his congregation that in their dealings with each other most of them were probably thieves! Or that man who brought his fine dog for the Curé to see, who was told with a sigh ‘If only your soul was as beautiful as your dog!’.”

There’s no need to use this quote to have a dig at people with dogs. That gentle jibe of the holy Curé could be applied to our cars, our iPads, our gardens or anything else that we take more care of than our souls. [emphasis and comment Fr. Z's]
[Hat tip to J.M.]


Ralph Roister-Doister


St John Vianney shows us what has been missing from the Church since V2: a sense of eschatological realism.

There is no room for St John Vianney in the post V2 Roman Catholic Church. He is an embarrassment to modern churchmen, a glaring reminder of our crude and unsophisticated roots, before our cosmopolitan nouvelle sophisticates took over. Unfocused cheap flattery is one thing, but if our tender buds of the seminaries, all models of huggy tolerance and catechismal fuzziness, were ever to be exposed to the details of his approach to pastoralism, they would promptly drop a pantsload into their nouvelle pantaloons.

Gramps Vianney is one more relic of the faith, warehoused in a Sunnydale Old Catholic Home with bars on the windows and locks on the doors, and shunned by his modern, forward-looking family of men without chests and women without maternal instincts.

Ralph Roister-Doister


From a biography of St John Vianney, patron saint of Catholic priests:

“On Sundays he neglected himself altogether. His breakfast consisted of a small piece of pais benit, and only at night would he consent to take something more substantial”

"At other times M. Vianney himself cooked, in his famous saucepan, enough potatoes to last him a whole week. When they were boiled he put them in a kind of iron basket, which he suspended from the wall. When he felt the pangs of hunger he took out one or two – to eat three would have been, according to him, “solely for the pleasure of eating.” He ate them cold, even when, toward the end of the week, they were covered with a musty down."

“'My friend, the devil is not greatly afraid of the discipline and other instruments of penance. That which beats him is the curtailment of one’s food, drink, and sleep. There is nothing the devil fears more; consequently nothing is more pleasing to God! . . . . Whilst I was alone . . . it happened at times that I refrained from food for entire days. On those occasions I obtained, both for myself and others, whatsoever I asked of Almighty God.'”

From Wiltgen's history, altogether typical Bishop Johannes Pohlschneider addresses the assembled fathers at Vatican II:

Pohlschneider, bishop of Aachen, Germany, "suggested that the Lenten fast be restricted to Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the morning of Holy Saturday. He gave two reasons: one, that modern men generally did not observe the law 'because of the speed of modern life and widespread nervous tensions,' the other, that many bishops and priests dispensed themselves from fasting on the grounds that it deprived them of the strength they needed to perform their extensive pastoral duties. If bishops and priests did not fast, Bishop Pohlschneider observed, the faithful could hardly be expected to do so."