Sunday, November 30, 2014

For the record: Archbishop Athanasius Schneider on the Synod

"Against Pharisees" (Polonia Christiana, November 5, 2014).

The entire interview is well worth reading; but here are a couple of excerpts (emphasis added):
During the Synod there had been moments of obvious manipulation on the part of some clerics who held key positions in the editorial and governing structure of the Synod. The interim report (Relatio post disceptationem) was clearly a prefabricated text with no reference to the actual statements of the Synod fathers. In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character. Thanks be to God and to the prayers of the faithful all over the world that a consistent number of Synod fathers resolutely rejected such an agenda; this agenda reflects the corrupt and pagan main stream morality of our time, which is being imposed globally by means of political pressure and through the almost all-powerful official mass media, which are loyal to the principles of the world gender ideology party. Such a synod document, even if only preliminary, is a real shame and an indication to the extent the spirit of the anti-Christian world has already penetrated such important levels of the life of the Church. This document will remain for the future generations and for the historians a black mark which has stained the honour of the Apostolic See. Fortunately the Message of the Synod Fathers is a real Catholic document which outlines the Divine truth on family without being silent about the deeper roots of the problems, i.e. about the reality of sin. It gives real courage and consolation to Catholic families. Some quotations: “We think of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh.


The Church and the world do urgently need intrepid and candid witnesses of the whole truth of the commandment and of the will of God, of the whole truth of Christ’s words on marriage. Modern clerical Pharisees and Scribes, those bishops and cardinals who throw grains of incense to the neo-pagan idols of gender ideology and concubinage, will not convince anyone to either believe in Christ or to be ready to offer their lives for Christ.

Tridentine Community News - "The Heroic Act of Charity": offering to spend time in Purgatory on behalf of others

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

Tridentine Community News (November 30, 2014):
On this last Sunday of November, the month of the Holy Souls, it is fitting to mention one of the greatest acts of spiritual kindness one can offer in this earthly life, the “Heroic Act of Charity”. This is a solemn offering to God of all of the Indulgences that you will gain during your lifetime, as well as those that others will apply to you after your death, to the Souls in Purgatory. A somewhat frightening thought, one who makes the Heroic Act effectively offers to spend time in Purgatory on behalf of others, as he renounces all opportunities to remit temporal punishment for himself. Yet writers have maintained, as seen below, that one need not fear a lengthy Purgatory if one makes this most generous commitment.

The following is an explanatory passage about the Heroic Act, excerpted from Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saintsby Fr. F.X. Schouppe, SJ, pp. 265-268:
This act consists in ceding to them [the Holy Souls in Purgatory] all our works of satisfaction, that is to say, the satisfactory value of all the works of our life and of all the suffrages which shall be given to us after our death, without reserving anything wherewith to discharge our own debts. We deposit them in the hands of the Blessed Virgin that she may distribute them, according to her good pleasure, to those souls which she desires to deliver from Purgatory.

It is an absolute donation in favour of the souls of all that we can give them; we offer to God in their behalf all the good we do, of what kind so ever, either in thought, words, or works, all that we suffer meritoriously during this life, without excepting anything that we may reasonably give them, and adding even those suffrages which we may receive for ourselves after death.

It must be well understood that the matter of this holy donation is the satisfactory value of our works, and in no way the merit which has a corresponding degree of glory in Heaven; for merit is strictly personal, and cannot be transferred to another. order to dissipate all subsequent fear which might arise in the mind, we add three remarks:

1. This act leaves us perfect liberty to pray for those souls in whom we are most interested; the application of these prayers is subject to the disposition of the adorable will of God, which is always infinitely perfect and infinitely loving.

2. It does not oblige under pain of mortal sin, and can at any time be revoked. It may be made without using any particular formula; it suffices to have the intention, and to make it from the heart. Nevertheless it is useful to recite the formula of offering from time to time, in order to stimulate our zeal for the relief of the holy souls by prayer, penance, and good works.

3. The Heroic Act does not subject us to the direful consequences of having to undergo a long Purgatory ourselves; on the contrary, it allows us to rely with more assured confidence on the mercy of God in our regard, as is shown by the example of St. Gertrude.

Venerable Denis, the Carthusian, relates that the Virgin, St. Gertrude, had made a complete donation of all her works of satisfaction in favour of the faithful departed, without reserving anything wherewith to discharge the debts which she herself might have contracted in the sight of God. Being at the point of death, and, like all the saints, considering with much sorrow the great number of her sins on the one hand, and, on the other, remembering that she had employed all her works of satisfaction for the expiation of the sins of others, she was afflicted, lest, having given all to others and reserved nothing for herself, her soul, on its departure from this world, should be condemned to horrible suffering. In the midst of her fears our Lord appeared to her and consoled her, saying: “Be reassured, my daughter, your charity towards the departed will be no detriment to you. Know that the generous donation you have made of all your works to the holy souls has been singularly pleasing to Me; and to give you a proof thereof, I declare to you that all the pains you would have had to endure in the other life are now remitted; moreover, in recompense for your generous charity, I will so enhance the value of the merits of your works as to give you a great increase of glory in Heaven.”

Formula of the Heroic Act

O Holy and Adorable Trinity, desiring to cooperate in the deliverance of the souls in Purgatory, and to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cede and renounce in behalf of those holy souls all the satisfactory part of my works, and all the suffrages which may be given to me after my death, consigning them entirely into the hands of the most Blessed Virgin, that she may apply them according to her good pleasure to those souls of the faithful departed whom she desires to deliver from their sufferings. Deign, O my God, to accept and bless this offering which I make to Thee at this moment. Amen.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 12/01 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Feria of Advent)
  • Tue. 12/02 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Vivian, Virgin & Martyr)
  • Fri. 12/05 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]
  • Sun. 12/07 2:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Second Sunday of Advent)
    - Initial First Sunday High Mass at Holy Name of Mary Church
    - Windsor Masses on other Sundays of the month continue to be held at St. Alphonsus Church at 2:00 PM
[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 Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 30, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tridentine Masses coming this week to the metro Detroit and East Michigan area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Is it possible for a traditional Catholic who is sincerely seeking the Lord to get a positive word of encouragement from the Holy Father? Oremus pro invicem!

John Allen, Jr., "Does Pope Francis have an enemies list?" (Crux, November 4, 2014):
... many on the Catholic right can’t help but suspect that the recent preponderance of conservatives who’ve found themselves under the gun isn’t an accident. Some perceive a through-the-looking-glass situation, in which upholding Catholic tradition is now perceived as a greater offense than rejecting it.

How to explain these disciplinary acts?

One possibility is that Francis genuinely wants to hobble the traditionalist constituency, and is using every chance to accomplish it. If so, then Francis doesn’t owe anyone an explanation, because his moves would be having precisely the intended effect.

Another, however, is that the pontiff's motives aren't ideological.... The speech Francis delivered at the end of the recent Synod of Bishops would seem to lean in the second direction, as he tried to signal sympathy for both the progressive and traditionalists camps....

If that's the case, Francis might need to find an occasion to explain in his own voice why he’s going after the people and groups that find themselves in his sights. Otherwise, the risk is that a good chunk of the Church may conclude that if the pope sees them as the enemy, there’s no good reason they shouldn’t see him the same way.
Does the Holy Father seem to have a problem with the rules-following, precept-observing ordinary Catholic faithful? Some are apparently wondering.

On the one hand, to the homosexuals, he famously said, "If someone is gay and seeking the Lord, who am I to judge?" To the atheist, Scalfari, he said "God's mercy has no limits. If you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience." To the Argentine woman in an irregular marriage, Jacquelina Lisbona, he said that she should feel free to receive Holy Communion.

On the other hand, the Holy Father turned around, and (in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium), blasted the "self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ... observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past ... [a] supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline [that] leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism." Elsewhere (in his homily at St. Martha's House on March 18, 2014), he declared: "They disguise themselves ... as good people: they make themselves up like little holy cards, looking up at heaven as they pray, making sure they are seen—they believe they are more righteous than others -- they despise others." Yet again (in his homily at St. Matha's on November 19, 2014), he said of those who have nothing to reproach themselves about, who say "I have a good family, people do not gossip about me, I have everything I need, I married in church ...I am 'in the grace of God', I am alright," that these are no more than "Christians of appearance ... they are dead!" This "state of mind - [the Lord] warned - is a state of sin, feeling spiritually comfortable is a state of sin"!!!

Meanwhile, quite apart from any excellent homiletic points that might be made about Pharisees, or the ingratitude of the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son, or the lukewarm Christians of Revelation 3:16, many traditional Catholics (not merely those branded as "traditionalists") seem to be wondering whether it is impossible for those who are not homosexuals, public adulterers, or atheists, but simply faithful Catholics trying to work out their salvation amidst the trials and vicissitudes of life, to get a positive word of encouragement from their Holy Father. Perhaps he would benefit from our prayers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

New book: Peter Kwasniewski, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis

Peter Kwasniewski, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church(Angelico Press, 2014):
SINCE THE TIME OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, the Catholic Church has experienced an unprecedented crisis of identity, symbolized and propelled by the corruption of the greatest treasure of her tradition: the sacred liturgy. The result has been confusion, dismay, devastation. To the surprise of some, however, the same half-century has witnessed a growing counter-movement of Catholics who find in the Church’s traditional liturgy a perennial witness to the orthodox faith, a solid foundation for the interior life, an ever-flowing source of missionary charity, and a living embodiment of the true Catholic spirit.
In this book, Peter Kwasniewski presents a fearless critique of the path of liturgical novelty and a ­detailed apologia for liturgical tradition in all its beauty, richness, and profundity, addressing such topics as ­solemnity, sacredness, the language of symbols, contemplation, participation, the symbiosis of lex orandi and lex credendi, silence, music, worship in Latin, and Gregorian chant. He confronts the humanism, rationalism, utilitarianism, and modernism so prevalent in the liturgical reform, assesses the prospects and limitations of a “Reform of the Reform,” and reflects on the great gift of Summorum Pontificum. In the end, Kwasniewski argues for a zealous recommitment to Catholic Tradition in its fullness, starting with divine worship and embracing the whole realm of faith and morals, including integral Catholic social teaching.
Evidently, there is an all-encompassing crisis in the Church, which the Extraordinary Synod unveiled to a global audience. Unexpectedly a resurgence is taking place, with the usus antiquior or classical Roman Rite at the very heart of it. To those who have loved the traditional Mass all their lives, those who have newly come to it, or those who simply wish to learn more about the issues, this book offers abundant matter for reflection.

Praise for Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis:

“I heartily recommend Peter Kwasniewski’s new book for those struggling to come to terms not only with what happened to the liturgy of the Catholic Church, but with why those changes have had such disastrous consequences. As he shows in one aspect after another of the Mass, the changes have taken us further away from that inner transformation of the worshipper which is a secondary purpose of the liturgy, after the worship of God.”
— JOSEPH SHAW, President of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales
“To come out of the present crisis we need to restore the liturgy in all its sacredness. Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis is a very important work that leads us to meditate in depth on the permanent value, theological centrality, and beauty of the traditional liturgy of the Church.”
— MSGR. IGNACIO BARREIRO, Executive Director of HLI’s Rome Office
“Peter Kwasniewski is one of a handful of 21st-century Catholic authors really in touch with our tradition who can, at the same time, carefully explain what is at stake in both the Catholic intellectual world and the culture as a whole. He is devastating in delivering his points, which he makes without wasting a word.”
— ROGER A. MCCAFFREY, President of Roman Catholic Books
“Combining deeply human insight with supernatural faith, Prof. Kwasniewski presents a compelling case for the continuing necessity of the traditional Latin Mass for the Church’s life and mission. Without questioning the validity of the modern rite, he illuminates in many ways how the older liturgy more clearly expresses the Faith and more richly nourishes the faithful.”
— FR. THOMAS KOCIK, author of Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate: Reform or Return
“The topics of these essays are all of vital importance to our appre­ciation of the Church’s liturgy. With an abundance of wit and learning, Dr. Kwasniewski offers invaluable encouragement towards a greater love and greater understanding of our liturgical tradition.”
— GREGORY DIPIPPO, managing editor of New Liturgical Movement
“The author presents a well-argued, documented case that the present crisis in the Church will not be overcome until there is a return to the traditional Latin liturgy, a revival of the true social teaching of the Church, and a restoration of the study of St. Thomas Aquinas in our seminaries and colleges.”
— FR. KENNETH BAKER, Editor Emeritus, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

About the Author

PETER KWASNIEWSKI has taught and written on a wide variety of subjects, especially the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the Church. After teaching at the International Theological Institute in Austria, he joined the founding team of Wyoming Catholic College, where he currently serves as Professor of Theology and Choirmaster. For twenty-five years Dr. Kwasniewski has also been a director of choirs and scholas, a cantor, and a composer. He writes regularly for The Latin Mass and several popular Catholic weblogs.

New book on Archbishop Fulton Sheen highlights his character

A post by Francis Phillips on the Catholic Herald "Books Blog" (October 30, 2014) reviews a "revelatory new book [that] will please those anxious to see Archbishop Sheen's canonisation," Mgr Hilary C Franco's Bishop Sheen: Mentor and Friend(New Hope Publications, 2014). Excerpts:
... in the 1950s, when Sheen was making his memorable TV series, Life is Worth Living, he was criticised by a famous American psychiatrist, Karl Menninger, for stating that “beneath a complex is a sin.” Fulton Sheen would have no truck with any ideology that ignored fundamental Christian teaching: that we are sinners and to be truly healed we require God’s mercy.

... Franco repeats one well-known story of an incident when Sheen was spending some time at St Patrick’s, Soho Square. He was praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament (as he did for an hour, every day of his priestly life) when he heard the sound of someone vomiting outside the church. It turned out to be a young, very drunk female model – a lapsed Catholic. Overcoming her reluctance to talk by promising he wouldn’t ask her to go to confession, Sheen invited her into the church and helped her to become more presentable. Then he took her round the church, pointing out its devotional features.

As they went down one aisle they passed a confessional and Sheen, without speaking, gently but firmly propelled the young woman inside. That moment became the significant encounter of her life; she made a full confession, mended her ways and finally became a nun. What priest in today’s atmosphere of suspicion of the cloth coupled with insistence on individual rights would dare do as Sheen did?

Mgr Franco’s book is also revelatory of what happened to the Church in the US after Vatican II. When Sheen became Bishop of Rochester, New York, between the years 1966-1969, he saw at first hand the malaise within the Church: mass defections from the priesthood and religious life and defective seminary selection and training. Indeed, he once refused to ordain several young men whom he saw were not suited to the priesthood. He realised that, if ordained, they would only cause trouble in the Church at a later date. Franco also relates that Sheen was deeply troubled by the calibre of his fellow-bishops: “He saw the weaknesses of a good number of bishops, weaknesses which undermined their authority as successors of Christ’s apostles. At this critical time [1970], he found bishops who were avoiding problems and difficult decisions, delegating their authority to others, failing to teach and discipline, listening to bad advisors and demonstrating apathy. “So many are afraid of being unloved” he told me.” It sounds a prophetic comment on the Church today.
[Hat tip to JM]

Pope's new appointee to pontifical council for Christian unity sees papacy as obstacle to ecumenical progress

Sandro Magister, "Ecumenism Rewritten by Enzo Bianchi and Alberto Melloni" (www.chiesa, November 3, 2014): "The leaders of the 'school of Bologna' have a very ambitious new project in the works: a history of the movement for Christian unity aimed at a thorough reform of the Catholic Church, starting with the dismantling of the papacy in its current form. They believe they have an ally in Pope Francis."

Friar Enzo Bianchi, effectively the undisputed leader of the "school of Bologna," is founder and prior of the inter-confessional monastery of Bose, and was appointed adviser of the pontifical council for Christian unity by Pope Francis on July 22, 2014.

[Hat tip to N.C.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2012 Rite of Canonization discarded

For the record: interesting details HERE.

Thanksgiving: Catholics did it first (facing East, no less)

Christine Niles, "Catholics Did It First" (Laudem Gloriae, November 16, 2011):
If you're anything like me and don't take kindly to celebrating a holiday commemorating a group of Calvinists who set up a Puritan theocracy in New England known for persecuting Catholics, then you can rest easy; the protestants were not the first to celebrate Thanksgiving in this country--Catholics were.

Saint Augustine, Florida is the oldest settlement in the United States, founded in 1565 by Spanish Catholic explorers. On first sighting land on August 28, the feast of St. Augustine, they named the city after him. On September 8, the Nativity of Mary, they came ashore with great fanfare--to the astonishment of the natives. A Mass of Thanksgiving was held, after which a communal feast was celebrated with the local Seloy tribe. It was the first communal thanksgiving celebration in the first permanently settled European colony on American soil.

Others say the date of April 30, 1598, is also significant: Spanish settlers from Mexico set up camp in the American Southwest, held a Mass of thanksgiving, and named the land New Mexico in honor of God and of their king, Philip II. A feast was held, with Franciscan priests blessing the food before everyone ate their fill. At the end of the meal, plays were enacted depicting scenes of Native Americans upon first hearing the Catholic faith.

But what about Plymouth Rock and Pilgrims, etc?

Queen Elizabeth had little patience for Catholics, but even less for Calvinists, who complained the Church of England remained too papist. In their desire to complete the Reformation and "purify" religion of popish trumperies, the Puritans broke from the Anglican Church, rejected the Book of Common Prayer, and preferred the anti-royalist Geneva Bible to the King James version. They instituted an independent congregationalist ideal that upheld the notion of the common priesthood of all believers, and thus granted an equal say among congregants in the election of the minister (some claim the roots of American democracy lie here). All of this naturally brought down on them the wrath of the Crown, and persecution commenced. A number of Puritans fled England and sought refuge in Holland, where they lived for a dozen years, before deciding to leave for the New World. After meeting another group of Puritans in Southampton, all boarded the Mayflower on September 16, 1620. Sixty-five days later, they sighted Cape Cod. The communal meal we know of as "Thanksgiving" took place in 1621 with about ninety Native Americans, and lasted three days.

After the Catholic Spanish were defeated by the British and driven out of the (largely Protestant) colonies, it became more expedient and attractive to focus on the 1621 date marking the arrival of the Pilgrims to celebrate this national holiday of thanksgiving--and Americans have done so ever since, entirely obliterating from national memory any influence from earlier Spanish Catholic settlers.

But don't let such revisionist history fool you; Catholics have as much claim to this celebration as anyone, if not more. And as all good Catholics know, eucharistia is Greek for "thanksgiving"--so be sure to leg it to Mass that day and pay your respects to the Giver of all good gifts.

Multicultural Christmas gifts for the Co-exist crowd

Matthew Archbold, "Multicultural Christmas Sweater for the Co-exist Crowd" (Creative Minority Report, November 21, 2014) relates the following item from The Daily Mail:
A spokesperson for the company said: 'For us, the festive season is a time for celebration and togetherness. And we think that now more than ever, the world could use a little more unity.

'Which is why this year, British Christmas Jumpers has made the Multicultural Christmas Jumper.

'It is a Christmas jumper for modern Britain.'
Further, he quotes Weasel Zippers as saying that it's perfect for those who have Coexist bumper stickers.

Then, of course, there are come-backs like this one making use of the logos of firearm manufacturers that might make a nice complement.

[Hat tip to JM in part]

Pope Francis appoints strong conservative to head CDW

As indicated in yesterday's Vatican bulletin, Pope Francis has appointed Robert Cardinal Sarah as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

As noted by Rorate Caeli, Cardinal Sarah had "distinguished himself as one of the strongest conservative voices at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops this year. 

Read more>>

In other news, as Christine Niles noted yesterday, Archbishop Bruno Forte remains a synod organizer for next year: 
"The traitor bishop who did untold damage by inserting those scandalous pro-gay paragraphs in the Midterm Relatio will be a synod organizer--along with the rest of the same crew, plus Cdl Napier (a good man).

"Not demoted, kicked out, or disciplined for his betrayal, but instead left in a position of power and prestige--while the great Cdl Burke gets a public smackdown."
Perhaps, though I remain open to the possibility that the "God of surprises" may have a propitious surprise for us in the offing in this regard.

In any case, par for the course at the moment seems to be something like "one step forward, one step back."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another prayer request

Please pray for a 43-year-old pregnant mother who has been married 18 years, has no children, and has had two miscarriages.  She is not five weeks pregnant and dearly hopes and prays for a "miraculous" safe and healthy delivery.  Thank you in advance for your intercessions for her.  Her name is Kelly.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Pope Benedict's Big Edit."

Old news, for the record: Dale Price, "Pope Benedict's Big Edit" (Dyspeptic Mutterings, November 18, 2014):
It appears that Pope Benedict XVI did not care at all for Cardinal Kasper's attempt to press-gang him into supporting the latter's assault on indissolubility. 

How do we know that? According to the largest newspaper in his homeland, the Pope Emeritus has removed his previous (1972) support for giving communion to civilly-remarried divorcees from the official collection of his theological works. Instead, he now favors a revised annulment process. The editorial framing notes this development with disapproval, calling it "political."

For those who have made politics a substitute religion, I imagine it is.

For those who care about the Catholic teaching on marriage, this is big news. And a most welcome note of support.

[Update, 11/19/2014: Father Zuhlsdorf has more detail about the story, including the fact Pope Benedict addresses his change of mind in the introduction.]

Never go full osterich, son

Dale Price, "The problem with letting a smile be your umbrella?" (Dyspeptic Mutterings, November 13, 2014). After a brief discussion of Cardinals Burke, Müller, Pell in the context of Vatican politics, Price asks:
Still, why should you care?

Number 1, "Vatican politics" gives you your bishop. Cupich, remember. In other words, "Personnel is policy." If it's "clericalism" to worry about who your shepherd is going to be, then we should all be clericalists.

Second, there's a trend here, and it's pretty much all bad:

Pope Francis has made statements against the two tendencies of progressivism and traditionalism, without however clarifying what these two labels encompassed. Yet, if by words he distances himself from the two poles which confront each other in the Church today, by facts all tolerance is reserved for “progressivism”, while the axe falls upon what he defines as “traditionalism”.

Precisely. If you're a solid progressive, you get high-profile invites to significant Church events even if you're a coddler of abusive priests. [Read more about the dreadful Danneels in the reliably rad-trad Tablet.] Sadly, it appears that mercy is only for those of confirmed progressive bona fides. Whereas demotions, removals and defenestrations of entire orders are reserved only for those with the odor of Tradition.

But I'm sure none of that would ever percolate down to the local level, right?

[Hat tip to JM]

"Jesus, Girls, and Marcus Mariota"

Carl E. Olson, "A walk on the lighter side: 'Jesus, girls, and Marcus Mariota...'" (Catholic World Report, November 22, 2014), for what it's worth.

[Hat tip to JM]

Bernard Chazelle on the "Cosmology" of Bach's music

Bernard Chazelle, "Discovering the Cosmology of Bach" (On Being, November 13, 2014):
Bernard Chazelle is Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University,  a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and a member of the European Academy of Sciences. He's authored an extensive collection of essays on music for A Tiny Revolution.
Chazelle has an original take on what music works in us — especially the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Just as mathematicians talk about discovering rather than inventing great equations, so, he says, Bach set out to “discover” the musical rules behind the universe. After hearing this conversation, you may never listen to any piece of music — whether Bach or Jay-Z — in quite the same way again.
[Hat tip to M.W.]

The ends of impurity

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, November 23, 2014):

Hard to believe it. I drove past a Catholic Church last week and Behold! there on the front lawn were life-size plastic nativity figures set in place. While I annually rail against preempting Christmas in the commercial world, this act, by a church no less, arouses wonderment that can’t be matched by the secularists. Has the whole world gone mad? Our thoughts at this time of the end of the Church Year ought to be on the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. Advent opens next Sunday, but it is not the Christmas season.

I find myself becoming ever more upset over the loss of souls in the deluge of impurity that’s squeezing the spiritual life out of more and more people. I’m beginning to wonder whether chastity even has a chance in our world. The media, the entertainments, the internet abuse, the conversations of people, their immodest manner of dress and filthy speech–these are becoming suffused with sex to the point that its normal and only permissible expression, in valid marriage, is almost not even referenced. The relentless push of the gay agenda (as it’s been called) makes me believe that perversion is becoming the accepted norm in the USA. I wonder how this could possibly be so since human nature itself is so obstinate in asserting normality and since conscience is an inescapable reality for everybody. The idea then hit me that there must be a line, a trajectory of sexual expression which begins with normalcy but which moves downward, from lesser sins of impurity (though all of them are mortal sins) to the stranger ones, and then on to the perverse, and finally to violence and even murder, perhaps with demonic worship (and possession) being the end of the line. All along the way there would be as a result, a progressive madness–literally speaking, that would begin to take over the person. This hunch–too primitive to call a theory–is that anyone is potentially capable of moving along this line of sin, from normalcy to beastly brutality and to ultimate irrationality. According to this view, it would not then be a question of whatever tendencies one claims to have gotten from birth which determine his life’s direction, but rather of the degree of willful daring that one has to venture down this ‘road’ away from uprightness. In other words, I challenge the claims that are often made about abnormal tendencies as inherited from birth. I’m proposing rather that everyone’s nature can incline him to venture away from the norms of goodness towards sin, more and more, depending on his boldness to transgress the just limits imposed by nature. This is another way of asserting the condition of fallen human nature due to original sin. Anyone could be a potential pervert if he would only let himself go far down enough, that is, to abandon right reason to be bold and wicked enough to experiment with evils’ fascination. If I am right about this, there would be no such thing as a sexual compulsion or a proclivity to sinful activity but only the absence of the moderating and restricting regulation of one’s will to develop virtue. This hypothesis takes away the call for us to pity those whose proclivities are wayward and the demand for us to be accepting of any forms of deviancy as permissible, and even legally protected. No one has the right to transgress the laws of nature that God implanted in our souls, and therefore no one should cultivate a false compassion for those who choose to sin. The only right attitude towards sinners is regret over their deliberate sinfulness and the hope that God may give them the actual grace to see the error of their ways and to reform their thinking and their conduct. 

Without the development of the virtues from our youthful years which curb sinful tendencies of all kinds, we are all prone to be sinners–prone, I say, not destined by an irresistible force. But because family life is fast eroding and because Catholic teaching and practice is dwindling away, and because education in morals is not well imparted, the result is that more and more people will be traveling down this ‘line’ from normality to depravity, coming to a stop at whatever place he would dare not venture further. Surely, I hope this will not happen to everybody, but I see that it’s happening more and more–the ever increasing usage of pornography propelling the movement along.
We must make up our minds to be very good Catholic people–with the help of God.

Fr. Perrone

Prayer request

Please pray for my Japanese "sister," Noriko, who is suffering from cancer, undergoing radical chemo therapy and expecting surgery thereafter. She is the sister of my deceased adopted Japanese brother, Yoshiro ("Thomas"), whom we met for the first time during my sabbatical in Japan last September, with her brother and other sister.

There is no Christian faith in her family background. Like most Japanese, their lives are largely secularized, with bits of Buddhism and Shintoism in their ancestry. I see an opportunity for God's grace here, and I've told her and her family that we will be praying for her healing. Please of your kindness, assist me in these intercessions.

Extraordinary Community News - EF priest training in Alabama, De Profundis, Mass times

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

Tridentine Community News (November 23, 2014):
Extraordinary Faith Priest Training in Alabama

The priest training side mission of the Extraordinary Faith television show project continues to bear fruit: The week of November 10, we partnered with Nick Hosford and Joseph Cheney of Una Voce Northern Alabama and Fr. Bryan Jerabek of Holy Rosary Church in Birmingham for our largest Tridentine Mass class yet:

An amazing seven priests from the Diocese of Birmingham took us up on our offer of training in the Extraordinary Form, including the Vicar General and Chancellor of the diocese. Some came with no experience, others to round up knowledge they already had. Despite the large number of students, we were able to have many dry run Masses and one actual First Mass.

If one diocese in Alabama could assemble this many priests, imagine how much clergy interest could be drummed up in other dioceses, too. Clearly there are many opportunities for additional classes elsewhere; the challenge is primarily to invest the time to organize such efforts. [Pictured is Fr. Tom Woods preparing for a practice Mass]

De Profúndis

The Offertory Antiphon that is repeated on the concluding Sundays of the Liturgical Year is the De Profúndis, taken from Psalm 129. This selection is associated with the penitential season of Lent as well as with the month of November, the month of prayer for the Souls in Purgatory.

One of the more memorable selections in our choir’s repertoire is Antonio Salieri’s setting of the De Profúndis [YouTube]. The piece begins softly, then gradually builds towards a crescendo in the concluding Glória Patri. This increasingly insistent tone, reminiscent of the buildup in Ravel’s Bolero, compellingly conveys man’s utter dependency upon God’s Mercy.

Holy Mother Church has enriched the praying of the De Profúndis with a Partial Indulgence when said as an Act of Contrition, especially in preparation for Confession. The text is as follows:
De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine:
Dómine, exáudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendéntes,
in vocem deprecatiónis meæ.
Si iniquitátes observáveris, Dómine:
Dómine, quis sustinébit?
Quia apud te propitiátio est:
et propter legem tuam sustínui te, Dómine.
Sustínuit ánima mea in verbo ejus:
sperávit ánima mea in Dómino.
A custódia matutína usque ad noctem,
speret Israël in Dómino.
Quia apud Dóminum misericórdia,
et copiósa apud eum redémptio.
Et ipse rédimet Israël
ex ómnibus iniquitátibus ejus.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saécula sæculórum. Amen.

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark our iniquities:
O Lord, who shall abide it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness;
and by reason of Thy law I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even unto night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
Christmas Day Mass

Through the kind permission of Sr. Bridget Bearss, RSCJ, Head of School at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, we will have Christmas Day High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Academy Chapel at the usual time of 9:45 AM.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 11/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. John of the Cross, Confessor & Deacon)
  • Tue. 11/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Holy Name of Mary (St. Catherine, Virgin & Martyr)
  • Sun. 11/30 2:00 PM: High Mass at St. Hyacinth (First Sunday of Advent) – Celebrant: Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz
[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 Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 23, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lisa Ling's "Called to the Collar," featuring our own seminarians

Many of you may find this video interesting, featuring a notable exception to the lamentable declining number of priestly vocations: in the Diocese of Lansing, there has been a consistently high number of vocations over recent years, with the seminarians coming through Sacred Heart Major Seminary and going on be ordained in their home diocese. Some inspiring stories here about some men "close the the heart," as they say at Sacred Heart; like Fr. Todd and Fr. Gary, the identical twins who both heard the call to the priesthood but initially kept it a secret from each other.

Watch their answers to Lisa Ling. Some are notably clever, sometimes amusing, Ling's questions during the interviews often seem perfectly positioned to invite a teachable moment. There's even a shot of Ling having a beer with our seminarians inside O'Berg's, the seminary pub.

On the whole "death with dignity" thing

From Guy Noir: "A Protestant sermon on Euthanasia that is essentially Catholic moral theology.

"Well-done; and far more connecting in its directness than a polite interview with Rev. James Martin, I daresay."

John Piper, "We Are Not Our Own: On God, Brittany Maynard, and Physician-Assisted Suicide" (Desiring God, October 31, 2014).

[Hat tip to JM]

"Canonizing the Second Vatican Council"? -- the Vindication of Paul VI

[Advisory & disclaimer: See Rules 7-9]

In an essay from this past spring, "Paul VI and John Paul II on the Council and Its Interpretation -- and Fatima" (Saint Louis Catholic, April 29, 2014), the article's author writes [added emphasis is his]:
I've been struck in the last several days by the observation of many that by the canonizations and beatification of this year that Pope Francis was in effect "canonizing the Second Vatican Council". This effort has been obvious to me for some time, but for some reason the phrase kept sticking with me last weekend.

Therefore, I was more than usually struck by comments I recently read from these popes themselves about the Council they are being used to "canonize", and of its consequences.

This first passage is from Paul VI [during his 1967 pilgrimage to Fatima], and I actually feel very sorry for him-- his worry and disillusionment come through. And note he comments about the Council's interpretation and then speaks of Fatima:
... The ecumenical council has reawakened many energies in the bosom of the Church.... What an evil it would be if an arbitrary interpretation, not authorized by the Magisterium of the Church, were to transform this spiritual renewal into a restlessness which dissolves the Church's traditional structure and constitution, substituting the theology of true and great teachings with new and partisan ideologies which depart from the norm of faith, that which modern thought, often lacking the light of reason, neither comprehends nor accepts, finally transforming the apostolic anxiety of redemptive charity into an acquiescence in the negative forms of the profane mentality of worldly customs. What a disenchantment, then, would be caused by our effort at a universal approach!

This thought carries our memory at this moment to those countries in which religious liberty is practically suppressed and where the denial of God is promoted... We declare: the world is in danger. Therefore we have come by foot to the feet of the Queen of Peace to ask for the gift that only God can give: peace.... Men, think of the gravity and the greatness of this hour, which could be decisive for the history of the present and future generation. The picture of the world and of its destiny presented here is immense and dramatic. It is the scene that the Madonna opens before us, the scene we contemplate with horrified eyes."

-- from the Homily of Paul VI, at Fatima, May 13, 1967 (emphasis added [by SLC])
St. John Paul II also echoed these thoughts fourteen years later:
We must admit realistically and with profound suffering that Christians today feel lost, confused, perplexed and also disappointed; there are diffused ideas in contrast with the truth as revealed and always taught; there are diffused true and proper heresies in the field of dogma and morals [...] the liturgy has been altered; immersed in intellectual and moral relativism and therefore in permissiveness, Christians are tempted by atheism, by agnostics, by agnosticism, by a vaguely preached illuminism and by a sociological Christianity, deprived of definite dogmas and moral objectivity. It is necessary to begin all over again.

The Final Solution: No Jews, Not One

One of the greatest crimes against humanity was perpetrated in meeting of just over an hour in a Berlin suburb in a villa at 56–58 Am Großen Wannsee -- an exemplification of what Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil" -- horrific, diabolical evil -- and how it can occur under conditions of business as usual among common bureaucrats.

A very good film, entitled Conspiracy (2001), directed by Frank Pierson, and starring Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich and Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann, is obligatory viewing. Michael Voris draws parallels to spiritual battles looming in our own day, about which we do well to bear in mind that spiritual battles often spill over into the material world through portals of political power.

In case you missed it: an interesting correspondence between Ross Douthat and Fr. James Martin

"James Martin and Ross Douthat on Pope Francis, the Synod and the Demands of Law and Mercy" (America, November 18, 2014).

Granted, it's an online conversation between a New York Times religion columnist and the Culture Editor of the Jesuit magazine America. Yet there are some provocative moments. For example, this, in which Douthat responds to an earlier correspondence by Martin:
Dear Father Martin,

I’ll start with your provocative question of whether some matters can be too dangerous to even discuss, where I think the answer is no and yes: Mostly no in the casual context in which you and I are debating, but absolutely yes when the person encouraging the discussion has supreme teaching authority in the church. Would it be advisable, for instance, for the pope to invite a discussion among the faithful on whether to strike ten stanzas from the Nicene Creed? Or whether to discard transubstantiation in favor of a Zwinglian understanding of communion? Or whether to strip the Gospel of John from the canon? Or—to pick some debates from the not at all distant past—whether to integrate theories of racial and eugenic hierarchy into Catholic moral teaching? Read more >>
[Hat tip to E. Echeverria]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to the metro Detroit and East Michigan area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dust up between Jamie K. A. Smith and Eduardo Echeverria over religious epistemology

Jamie K. A. Smith, author of Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (2006), has authored another book in his series echoing the title of Edward Albee's 1962 play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" -- namely, Who's Afraid of Relativism?: Community, Contingency, and Creaturehood (2014).

Sacred Heart Major Seminary Professor, Eduardo Echeverria, who is well-versed in both continental and analytical traditions of philosophy, has published an article-length critical review of this book in the latest issue of Calvin Theological Journal, as Smith reveals in his blog, where he offers his own response to Echeverria, entitled "Responding to a Common Critique of 'Who's Afraid of Relativism?'" (Fors Clavigera, November 12, 2014). Smith's post features both Echeverria's full critique as well as Smith's own response, entitled, with deliberate irony: "Echeverria's Protestant Epistemology: A Catholic Response" (formally, Echeverria is the Catholic and Smith the Protestant).

Predictably, Smith's "response" in turn provoked yet another response by Echeverria, this one posted on the blog of the Tyndale University College and Seminary site, "A Response to James K. A. Smith, by Eduardo Echeverria" (Every Thought Captive).

The chief questions at issue in the debate concern religious epistemology and whether some sort of realist epistemology is still viable, as Echeverria holds, or not, as Smith insists. Smith has clearly drunk deeply at the well of post-modern philosophers of the sort he's been writing about and teaching for upwards of the last two decades, while from Echeverria's perspective of the perennial philosophy, Smith's well appears more like a shallow puddle. See for yourselves.

[This article is permanently archived at Philosophia Perennis]

2 convert to Catholicism after hearing Lutheran Bach

An elderly independent scholar told me recently at lunch that he knows of two Catholic converts whose journey into the Catholic Church was sparked by listening to the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) by Johann Sebastian Bach, a Lutheran.

Those of us who have fallen under the spell of Bach's music can readily appreciate it's unspeakable profundity and beauty. How it could lead one to Catholicism is not immediately apparent, particularly given the contemporary state of Catholicism in the world today, as attested in a heart-rending story by Jennifer Mehl Ferrara, "Becoming Catholic: Making It Hard" (First Things, January 1999). But for those versed in the history of sacred music and who understand something of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, it's quite possible to see how one might see historical Catholicism in certain respects as the font of beauty in Christian tradition.

I've quoted Karl Barth before, who said: "It may be that when the angels go about their task praising God, they play only Bach. I am sure, however, that when they are together en famille they play Mozart." Yes, indeed. However Barth's saying can be inverted as well to read: "It may be that when the angels are together en famille playing music for themselves, they play Mozart. I am sure, however, that when they play for God, they play only Bach."

"Visiting a Crowded Room in the Field-Hospital" ... a Laser Diagnosis

Pat Archbold, "This 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' is a Band-Aid to a Self-Inflicted Wound" (NCR, November 17, 2014) [emphasis from JM]:
I used to be a big fan of the “Hermeneutic of Reform in Continuity,” or as commonly shortened, the “hermeneutic of continuity.” But I think that perhaps its day has passed.

For those unfamiliar, a hermeneutic is a certain way of interpreting a text. It is a lens, if you will, which allows you to interpret a text beyond just the words on the page.

Pope Benedict XVI famously contrasted "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture" with "a hermeneutic of reform in continuity." The Pope criticized "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture" which views the documents of Vatican II as a break from all that had come before, as if Church teaching was being created anew. The Pope rejected this interpretation and instead called for "a hermeneutic of reform in continuity." In short, we must view the letter of the documents in light of and in continuity with all the magisterial teaching that came before it.

Of course, that a hermeneutic is necessary to properly understand the documents of Vatican II is the cause of many of the debates of the last fifty years. Moreover, it is truly necessary to have such a hermeneutic because certain few passages of several documents, read at face value, seem potentially to be in contradiction to previous teaching.

That a hermeneutic of continuity is necessary to properly interpret the documents of Vatican II, its use is necessary and proper, even if lamentable.

But I think it is fair to say that such hermeneutics are merely a Band-Aid to a self-inflicted wound, a wound of ambiguity. But the common usage of ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ extends its use beyond as just an interpretive lens of the council.

Today, it has become a crutch and a cudgel. It is a crutch in that the hierarchy of the Church no longer feels obligated to clarity in its communications, but regularly unitizes and embraces ambiguity out of laziness or even possibly sometimes with more nefarious motives. The bottom line is there is no understood obligation on the part of the magisterium to teach and communicate in the clearest and most unambiguous way possible.

Rather, too much communication in recent years has gone beyond mere ambiguity approaching clear contradiction, leaving it up to those few still concerned with continuity to develop a lens suitable to a proper catholic understanding. If you have to squint, turn your head left 45 degrees, and stand on one foot to view a modern church communication as Catholic, well then you had better do it bub. In this way, the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ is a rhetorical cudgel used to beat anyone who dares to notice any discontinuity.

"O, for heaven's sake": Guy Noir on the wisdom of Mighty Joe Young

I received a strange missive from my Atlantic seaboard correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye, today. It went like this:
"O, for heaven's sake."


There was a Synod on the Family, a Bishop's Conference, and now a Marriage Conference in Rome much ballyhooed across the board. The latter looks to have had some strong spoken affirmations. Rick Warren spoke! A Mormon spoke! Who knows who else got the spotlight. Oh yes, Francis spoke! And he too was good, even if as usual you need a Catholic code book to follow some of it all. Even so, I have to say I found Mighty Joe Young's comment over at CWR [in response to the article on Bishops & the Media] to be quite on point. In this case I can't help but feel exhausted by it all and concluding that now we are probably "Organizing Ourselves to Death."

Young writes:
O, for heaven's sake. How many more Committees will it take before it dawns on the Bishops they must discharge their Duties to Teach, Rule, and Sanctify?

There is a greater chance that one will be hit by falling space debris than one will hear a sermon condemning contraception.

It was over a decade ago that the USCCB publicly confessed that they had not been teaching the faith and they promised to do so in the future and here we are today.

Lord have mercy.
The family is basic. To get family life right, though, we now need programs and policies and postage stamps and papal symposiums? Good grief. Vatican II prolixity is now the expectation and norm. Despite the fact so few have the attention span or analytical prowess to process it all. Who cares as long as it all makes us feel better. Even as we gear up for more and speedier annulments. And a new and inclusive insistence that Gay is OK, as long as sex is kept out of it. None of that makes at the least bit of sense without mental gymnastics, but all of it feels very, very "nice."

"Speak English please ..." Pope Francis complies, sort of ...

Mark Tooley writes: "Francis challenges anti-life Western secularists good and hard."

Two excerpts from the Holy Father's words:
Do not fall into the trap of being swayed by political notion. Family is an anthropological fact — a socially and culturally related fact. We cannot qualify it based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history. We can’t think of conservative or progressive notions. Family is a family. It can’t be qualified by ideological notions. Family is per se. It is a strength per se. I pray that your colloquium will be an inspiration to all who seek to support and strengthen the union of man and woman in marriage as a unique, natural, fundamental and beautiful good for persons, communities, and whole societies.
... And, again:
We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, who created things this way. When so many times in my life as a priest I have heard objections: “But tell me, why the Church is opposed to abortion, for example? Is it a religious problem?” No, no. It is not a religious problem. “Is it a philosophical problem?” No, it is not a philosophical problem. It’s a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem. “But no, modern thought…” But, listen, in ancient thought and modern thought, the word “kill” means the same thing. The same evaluation applies to euthanasia: we all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other. And this is to say to God, “No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.” A sin against God the Creator! Think hard about this.
[Hat tip to JM]

Bill Murray, St. Vincent, and the Latin Mass

Go figure. Rod Dreher, "Bill Murray Misses The Latin Mass" (The American Conservative, November 20, 2014):

Dreher writes: "If you didn’t already love Bill Murray, here’s something sure to make you repent: check out this excerpt from a Guardian piece on him and his new film":
His parents were Irish Catholics; one of his sisters is a nun. This conspicuous religion adds to his broad church appeal (there’s a citation from the Christian Science Monitor on his golfing memoirs). You don’t need to ask if his faith is important to him. He talks about how 19th-century candidates risk not getting canonised because the church is keen to push ahead with the likes of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. “I think they’re just trying to get current and hot,” he smiles.

One new saint he does approve of is Pope John XXIII (who died in 1963). “I’ll buy that one, he’s my guy; an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I’m not sure all those changes were right. I tend to disagree with what they call the new mass. I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages. The shape of it, the pictures, are the same but the words aren’t the same.”

Isn’t it good for people to understand it? “I guess,” he says, shaking his head. “But there’s a vibration to those words. If you’ve been in the business long enough you know what they mean anyway. And I really miss the music – the power of it, y’know? Yikes! Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” Instead, he says, we get “folk songs … top 40 stuff … oh, brother….”
Dreher concludes: "Sit quoque cor nostrum beatum!

"And may the heart of the reader who sent this item to me also be blessed."

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Pharaoh speaks: so let it be written, so let it be done

Defying both the Congress and the voting booth, Pharaoh Ramses Obola issued an amnesty decree that will provide an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants with the exact benefits Congress rejected, in violation of federal law. No matter: Pharaoh is confident that he can count on the predictable indifference of the majority of his subjects. Are they naive enough to think Pharaoh is motivated by compassion? Pharaoh, the baby-killer? Pharaoh, who buys the complicity of African-Americans with baubles and cell phones and allows them to sink yet deeper into poverty? Yes, of course: the happy-clappy self-congratulatory "enlightened" people who elected him.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

For the record: Cardinal George: Pope Francis, "What are you doing here?"

Cardinal George, interviewed by John L. Allen Jr., "Chicago’s exiting cardinal: 'The Church is about true/false, not left/right'" (Crux, November 17, 2014) [emphasis added]:
Crux: Until the Synod of Bishops in October, most mainstream folks in what we might loosely call the ‘conservative’ camp seemed inclined to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. Afterwards that seems less the case, with some people now seeing the pope in a more critical light. Is that your sense as well?

Cardinal George: I think that’s probably true. The question is raised, why doesn’t he himself clarify these things? Why is it necessary that apologists have to bear that burden of trying to put the best possible face on it? Does he not realize the consequences of some of his statements, or even some of his actions? Does he not realize the repercussions? Perhaps he doesn’t. I don’t know whether he’s conscious of all the consequences of some of the things he’s said and done that raise these doubts in people’s minds.


Crux: You’ve now mentioned twice things you’d like to ask the pope. It sounds to me as if you’d really like to have some face time with him.

Cardinal George: I would. First of all, I didn’t know him well before he was elected. I knew him through the Brazilian bishops, who knew him well, and I asked them a lot of questions. Since the election, I haven’t had a chance to go over for any of the meetings or the consistories because I’ve been in treatment and they don’t want you to travel. I haven’t been to see him since he was elected.

I’d just like to talk to him. It’s less important now, because I won’t be in governance, but you’re supposed to govern in communion with and under the successor of Peter, so it’s important to have some meeting of minds, some understanding. Obviously, I think we’re very different people. I always felt a natural sympathy with Cardinal Wojtyla, with John Paul II … a very deep sympathy, on my part anyway. He had that capacity to do that with thousands of people. With Cardinal Ratzinger, there was a distance but also a deep respect. I don’t know Pope Francis well enough. I certainly respect him as pope, but there isn’t yet an understanding of, ‘What are you doing here?’
[Hat tip to N.C.]

Who are the real "Promethean Neo-Pelagians" today?

One of our astute readers recently pointed out that the confusion over recent statements about "self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagians" might be allayed a bit by referencing the following reflections on the issue by a reputable Catholic priest, posted by Adfero, "Confused how some Catholics can be labeled 'Pelagians'?" (RC, August 4, 2013).  [Adfero's introduction (in blue), the priest's reflection (in red)]  The first part of the reflection reviews the historical heresy known as "Pelagianism."  The balance of the article is devoted to noting contemporary instantiations of "Pelagianism" that come from some perhaps unexpected quarters:

Recently, there's been a lot of fingerpointing at traditional Catholics. Some of it is the same old, same old (insert stale Pharisees joke here). Some of it, however, is very new and very confusing. 

Some Catholics have recently been identified -- more than once -- as "Pelagians." 

This will undoubtedly bolster the morale of other Catholics while, yet again, making life next to impossible for the traditional-minded parish priest who is, now more than ever, being accused by his flock of putting himself "above the Church" by his devotion to reverence in the liturgy and traditional Catholic teaching.  

Below, you will find a very interesting retort (notes) from a Catholic priest, who is in full communion:
11th Sunday after Pentecost 
“by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace in me has not been fruitless.”
Recently, there has been some mentioning of the ancient heresy called Pelagianism. I have heard this term used a number of times in recent months and it seems some confusion has surrounded its employment. So, without passing any judgment on those who are using the term, let us take some time this Sunday to look into this ancient heresy. If we do this well, we might be surprised at how relevant this matter really is today.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dangerous illegal immigrants invading ... Canada! (Hilarious!)

Fr. Z, "It’s time to build camps! Dangerous illegal immigrants invading!" (Fr. Z's Blog, November 16, 2014):

In Grand Marias, MN, there is a Restaurant called, fetchingly, “South of the Border”.  Not a lick of Tex-Mex in sight.  It’s pretty funny.

Apparently the Canadians up there in Canadia are having their own border problems.   A friend sent this from the The Manitoba Herald (sorry, no link):
The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party and the fact Republicans won the Senate are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.
Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

The Pope of Pentecostal "Mere Christianity"

From some weeks ago, a meeting between Pope Francis and the heirs of "bishop" Tony Palmer, the Pentecostal pastor friend of the Pope who recently died in a motorcycle accident. In the video you see the Holy Father sitting beside the Mr. Palmer's widow and a number of other gentlemen dressed as bishops.

The video is somewhat plodding and a bit painful to watch, but as the accompanying post suggests in Spanish, in terms of the claims asserted it is quite significant: the differences between Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant are minimized -- minor details to be left to the theologians. What counts is their common Christian baptism. Ecumenismus in excelsus. No "self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagians" here, evidently. Source: Otro pellizco (November 14, 2014; the video was published originally on October 22, 1014)

Related: "Pope Francis and the Future of Charismatic Christianity" (Musings, February 21, 2014).

[Hat tip to N.C.]

Extraordinary Community News: News, Prayers, Mass Times

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

Tridentine Community News (November 16, 2014):
St. Cecilia Chant Workshop & Mass on November 22

Next Saturday, November 22, Detroit’s St. Cecilia Parish will host two special events: First is an all-day Gregorian Chant Workshop, starting at 9:00 AM and taught by Sacred Heart Major Seminary Music Director Dr. Ronald Prowse. Registration is open to those of all ages and experience. More information is available on the Facebook event page:

Immediately after the workshop at 5:30 PM will be the first Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form to be held at St. Cecilia in over 40 years. Participants in the workshop will sing for this Mass, which will be celebrated by Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz.

St. Cecilia is the Patron Saint of music, and November 22 is her Feast Day. It is eminently fitting that these musical events take place at a parish named in her honor, on her day.

St. Hyacinth Mass on November 30

Detroit’s St. Hyacinth Church will host a Tridentine High Mass on Sunday, November 30 at 2:00 PM. The celebrant will be Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz, and music will be led by Archdiocese of Detroit Music Director Joe Balistreri. St. Hyacinth is one of our region’s best preserved, cleanest, and most elaborately decorated historic churches...well worth a visit.

As an aside, it was not that long ago that it would have been unimaginable that the two top music officials in the Archdiocese would be leading Tridentine Mass music events in two successive weeks. The cause of traditional liturgy has indeed come a long way over the past decade.

Prayer Before a Meeting

A reader requested that we print the Prayer Before a Meeting, which we often pray before gatherings of one of our local Latin Mass Communities. The Church encourages use of this particular prayer by enriching it with a Partial Indulgence. The Latin original is taken from the Enchirídion Indulgentiárum, while the English is from the official translation in the Manual of Indulgences.
Ádsumus, Dómine Sancte Spíritus, ádsumus peccáti quidem immanitáte deténti, sed in nómine tuo speciáliter congregáti.

Veni ad nos et esto nobíscum et dignáre illábi córdibus nostris.

Doce nos quid agámus, quo gradiámur et osténde quid effícere debeámus, ut, te auxiliánte, tibi in ómnibus plácere valeámus.

Esto solus suggéstor et efféctor judiciórum nostrórum, qui solus cum Deo Patre et ejus Filio nomen póssides gloriósum.

Non nos patiáris perturbatóres esse justítiæ qui summam díligis æquitátem. Non in sinístrum nos ignorántia trahat, non favor infléctat, non accéptio múneris vel persónæ corrúmpat.

Sed junge nos tibi efficáciter solíus tuæ grátiæ dono, ut simus in te unum et in nullo deviémus a vero; quátenus in nómine tuo collécti, sic in cunctis teneámus cum moderámine pietátis justítiam, ut et hic a te in nullo disséntiat senténtia nostra et in futúrum pro bene gestis consequámur praémia sempitérna. Amen.

We have come, O Lord, Holy Spirit, we have come before You, hampered indeed by our many and grievous sins, but for a special purpose gathered together in Your name.

Come to us, be with us, and enter our hearts.

Teach us what we are to do and what ought to concern us; show us what we must accomplish, in order that, with Your help, we may be able to please You in all things.

May You alone be the author and the finisher of our judgments, Who alone with God the Father and His Son possess a glorious name.

Do not allow us to disturb the order of justice, You who love equity above all things. Let not ignorance draw us into devious paths. Let not partiality sway our minds or respect of riches or persons pervert our judgment.

But unite our hearts to You by the gift of Your grace alone, that we may be one in You and never forsake the truth; as we are gathered together in Your name, so may we in all things hold fast to justice tempered by mercy, that in this life our judgment may never be at variance with You and in the life to come we may attain to everlasting rewards for deeds well done. Amen.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 11/17 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop & Confessor)
  • Tue. 11/18 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Holy Name of Mary (Dedication of the Basilicas of Ss. Peter & Paul)
  • Sat. 11/22 5:30 PM: High Mass at St. Cecilia, Detroit (St. Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[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 Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 16, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]