Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why indifference to "gay marriage" will hurt you

A pro-gay friend on Facebook challenged his opponents, in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision, to "Name one vulnerable person who has been harmed by the fact that a handful of people now have tax breaks and visitation rights." The next day, another friend responded by posting the following article, which is well worth the read: Matt Walsh, "Yes, Gay Marriage Hurts Me Personally" (The Blaze, June 30, 2015):
I received a lot of feedback this past weekend about my piece responding to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling. Many people seemed to take exception to my radical position that men and woman can conceive children. They didn’t explicitly disagree with that theory, but they did deny the one single conclusion that inevitably stems from it, which is that the union between a man and a woman is special and different.

Most of the comments, emails and messages I read this weekend eschewed the process of even attempting to debate that point and skipped right to the insults. Here’s a quick sampling:
Angel: You’re an idiot.

Jonathan: Hi, kill yourself. Thanks

Jim: You’re a f**king clown. That drivel you wrote on the Blaze is the biggest piece of sh*t since Atlas Shrugged. You call yourself a journalist? You’re a f**king mope living in a vacuum of fear and hate. SMFH.

Nikki: I kind of really hope Matt Walsh burns in hell. And that’s really mean to say. But good lord he’s an awful human..

Annie: I’d like to let you know that you are a privileged piece of trash and everything that comes out of your mouth is complete and utter bullsh*t.

Bella: the Supreme Court matters more than some bigot with a sh*tty blog and ugly kids. Try again

Anthony: Oh Matt, you are a perfect assh*le… Take your worthless version of the bible, and set yourself on fire. That would make my Sunday:)

Marc: Matt Walsh is a F**king MORON!

Steven: F**k you, you f**king worthless douche.

Maria: Matt you really are a piece of sh*t.

Brian: The world would be so much better off with you.

Matthew: Go f**k yourself, Walsh. You not only are a bigot, but you ignore facts and twist and distort truths to make your false point. It’s a common tactic I see from people like you. Equality wins out, bigot.

Remember, #LoveWins.
There’s nothing like being called a bigoted pile of garbage in the first sentence and being told in the next that love has won. Indeed, you know love has emerged victorious when a bunch of liberals are screaming in your face, calling your children ugly, and urging you to kill yourself.

Progressivism, as we’ve seen, is a bubbling cauldron of vile, hideous hatred. They dress it up in vacuous, absurd little symbols and hashtags and bright colors, yet the elites who drive the gay agenda are not out to spread love and happiness, but hostility and suspicion. And the obedient lemmings who blindly conform, with rainbows in their Facebook photos and chanting whatever motto they’ve been assigned, don’t really understand what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. The fact that this is the same ideology to come up with vapid slogans like #LoveWins is an irony too bewildering to comprehend.

When our culture was grounded in Christian principles, we used to think of love in the way that St. Paul described it: Love is patient, love is kind, love does not boast, love is not self-seeking. Now in this progressive dystopia, love has suddenly become something that tells you to drink battery acid and die. The difference is slight, but noticeable.

But I wasn’t especially troubled by the progressive lynch mob and their vulgar, wretched, hateful “love.” I’m used to it. I’ve been more concerned by the large number of self-proclaimed Christians and conservatives who’ve repeatedly informed me that the whole gay marriage issue isn’t important. “It won’t affect us,” they tell me over and over again. It’s not relevant to our lives. We aren’t hurt by it. Who cares? It’s all good. Whatevs, man. There are matters more urgent than truth and morality and the future of the human race. Like, what about the economy and stuff?

I’m not proud to say it, but I feel an immense disgust for these Apathetic, Weak, Oblivious, Scared, Distracted, Impotent, Frivolous, Christians And Conservatives (AWOSDIFCACs for short). I’m not saying disgust is the correct emotional response, but I admit I experience it. I can deal with liberals. They’re just wrong about everything. Fine. That’s simple. But AWOSDIFCACs know and understand the truth, yet yawn or shrink away in fear.

The “it doesn’t affect us” mantra has become one of the more common, and absolutely the most damaging, idea circulating through the ranks of the defeatists. It’s a gross and ridiculous lie, one which accomplishes the impressive feat of being wrong in two different ways. It’s wrong when it says we should only care about things that have an impact on our lives, and it’s wrong when it says gay marriage will have no impact on our lives.

Monday, June 29, 2015

In a SCOTUS vote this close, dissenting opinions are worth reading

We've been hearing expressions such as "grand slam" and "home run" used to describe the June 26th Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing sodomite so-called "marriage" in our land. (One might just as well conclude that the SCOTUS had just ruled that a dog's tail must now be called a fifth leg.)

While the homophiles are rejoicing at their victory, it's easy to lose sight not merely of the fact that the SCOTUS doesn't determine metaphysical realities, but that this was no landslide. Like Obama's last victory in the national presidential election, which has allowed him to continue wreaking havoc with our historical values, it was nevertheless a close victory.

Why is this important? Because, despite the vice-grip that the revolutionaries have on our media and entertainment industry, it tells us that virtually half of the country is not at all enamoured of the direction our administration and court is taking our country. In other words, there are still a goodly number of people with some measure of what used to be called "common sense" left.

One of the most colorful opinions among those who dissented from the SCOTUS ruling on Obergefell is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s. Chris Field has a cheery little post entitled "12 Must-Read Quotes From Scalia’s Blistering Same-Sex Marriage Dissent (The Blaze, June 26, 2015), in which Scalia is quoted as saying that the SCOTUS itself is now a "treat," that the majority of the nine SCOTUS lawyers are "our new rulers," that their decision is a "naked claim to power," "pretentious" and "egoistic," that the five majority judges "think they know it all," that their reasoning is "profoundly incoherent," that the SCOTUS effectively and tyrannically "ends" healthy public debate on the issue, that the decision was a "judge-empowering" one rather than a citizen-empowering one, that it "violated" a key principle of law, that it effectually "overthrows the government," and brings us as Americans "one step closer to being reminded of our impotence."

Of course the homophile media and their cheering supporters are having their day in the sun, and, if they took the time to read Scalia's dissenting opinion, they would surely laugh it to scorn. Yet we, too, who find the SCOTUS decision abominable can also take some delight in laughing at how brilliantly Scalia skewers his opponents, not with mere ad hominem derision, but with profound insights into the nature of this decision supported by razor-sharp wit.

Other have recognized this wit too, and Stephen Colbert has apparently invited Scalia onto his show, although the Catholic comedian bends over backwards a little-too far in trying to be all-things-to-all-people.

Hear, hear! "It's time for Catholic prelates to speak as true Catholics"

Rosso Fiorentino
The Marriage of the Virgin
Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence

"RORATE EDITORIAL: It's time for Catholic prelates to speak as true Catholics" (Rorate Caeli, June 29, 2015):
Since the promulgation of Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States on the definition of State-defined marriage, a growing number of U.S. Catholic prelates have been issuing their own statements about this abominable decision by five justices of the Court (two of whom are baptized Catholics, including the majority opinion's author himself). Some forthrightly condemned the decision's injustice and immorality. Others restated Catholic doctrine clearly, but without the forcefulness clearly warranted by the situation. Others offered decidedly lukewarm, limp-wristed statements that repeated a minimum of orthodox doctrine in as inoffensive and unconvincing a manner as possible, while tacitly accepting elements of the new secular orthodoxy and undermining what resistance towards it is left among Catholics.

The most symbolic statement was that of the new Archbishop of Chicago, Blaise J. Cupich, as lukewarm and limp-wristed as can be imagined. Let no one be fooled: behind the façade of equanimity, this statement represents capitulation, pure and simple:

Precisely because a one-page statement cannot include everything that needs to be said, what Archbishop Cupich has chosen to say assumes greater significance. He has chosen to say precisely the things that will not only help our adversaries but also whet their appetites further. By repeating (without qualification or refutation) the claim that this decision is about "equal rights for all citizens" and "the political demands of equality," and that this is all about "civil marriage," Archbishop Cupich concedes key grounds to the homosexuals and their drive to fence off public life for themselves and their faithful servants. This makes him complicit in the exile of Christian principles from public life and the reduction of the Church to a merely private institution, content as long as its sacraments are untouched, and as long as it is graciously permitted to keep its beliefs. 

Indeed, he says nothing about the grave harm that "gay marriage" has inflicted and will inflict on religion and society as a whole. We say "religion" because we have no illusions about where the "gay marriage" juggernaut will end. Homosexual activists will not be content with civil "marriage" -- they will not be content until they have managed to defile even our sanctuaries with their perverse "nuptials."
It is all the more distressing, then, that in the middle of the vitriol and genuine hatred being poured out by the "gay lobby" against Christ and His Church, Archbishop Cupich chooses to focus on lecturing Catholics to "respect" homosexuals.

By putting the bulk of their efforts into lecturing the Catholic faithful about the need to be "welcoming," "respectful," "charitable" and "kind" towards the homosexual lobby, not a few prelates and clerics play right into the homosexual playbook. It is even more heart-rending that many "conservative" and "traditionalist" clerics, perhaps due to fear, are joining the bandwagon of niceness by distancing themselves from "harsh" Catholics, whose only "harshness" lies in using language that would have been mild and normal for Catholics until the 1960's.

By legitimizing the false homosexual narrative of "victimhood" by "harsh, uncharitable and cruel" Catholics and other Christians, they implicitly concede that the homosexuals have the right to define who is the victim and who is the oppressor. This will only make it harder, if not virtually impossible, for our brethren to continue standing up to the new "orthodoxy" that the American State now wishes to impose. 

For the "gay lobby," any statement of Catholic orthodoxy is by definition "hateful" and "harsh." Any sign of opposition against their demands is a form of "bigotry" that must be dealt accordingly with increasingly stringent legal measures -- with the next most likely step being the stripping of tax exempt status for religious institutions.

The homosexual lobby will not be content with anything less than the full rejection of Catholic doctrine on sexuality and the acceptance of their beliefs as the new, fabulous orthodoxy. They will exploit any sign of weakness, any sign of surrender, as openings to press more and more outrageous demands, secure in the knowledge that our side has little real stomach left for a fight. 

The reality is that in the past few decades, Catholics have rendered great respect to homosexuals and the followers of various erroneous if not perverse ideologies and doctrines, to the extent of sacrificing the militancy that the defense of the truth rightfully requires. If the Church had fought homosexual pseudo-marriage with half the militancy with which it used to resist godless ideologies only a few decades ago, not a single Western country with an appreciable number of Catholics would have legalized this perversity -- at least not without Catholics first daring genuine martyrdom in vast numbers.

And yet, faced by one defeat after another, the only solution that so many Catholic prelates -- including Pope Francis -- can see is to insist on avoiding "hurtful" and "offensive" language even more. In the infamous words of the Synod of 2015's Instrumentum Laboris #78, language that is "clear and inviting, open, which does not moralize, judge or control" is the demand of the Church, not just on the Church.

This is the language of a Church that refuses to fight, refuses to stand up for its Faithful, and that will sooner rather than later find itself thrust back into the catacombs. The Church will now be in the closet.

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Shock: What St. Peter Damian, a Doctor of the Church, says about homosexual habits

Randy Engel, "St. Peter Damian's Book of Gomorrah: A Moral Blueprint for Our Times - Part I"

This is only Part I of a two part series on St. Peter Damian (1007-1072), a Doctor of the Church [click here for Part II]. In our climate where sodomy has now become the "new normal" and yet another "sacrament" of our Culture of Death (like baby-killing, since Roe v Wade in 1973), I think we do well to remind ourselves of how the Church has regarded homosexual practice in her past, defining it as one of the sins that cries out to heaven for vengeance. Engel writes:
It appears that whenever Holy Mother Church has had a great need for a special kind of saint for a particular age, God, in His infinite mercy, has never failed to fill that need....

Among St. Peter Damian's most famous writings is his lengthy treatise, Letter 31, the Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), containing the most extensive treatment and condemnation by any Church Father of clerical pederasty and homosexual practices. His manly discourse on the vice of sodomy in general and clerical homosexuality and pederasty in particular, is written in a plain and forthright style that makes it quite readable and easy to understand.

In keeping with traditional Church teachings handed down from the time of the Apostles, he holds that all homosexual acts are crimes against Nature and therefore crimes against God who is the author of Nature.

It is also refreshing to find an ecclesiastic whose first and primary concern in the matter of clerical sexual immorality is for God's interests, not man's, especially with regard to homosexuality in clerical ranks. Also, his special condemnation of pederastic crimes by clergy against young boys and men (including those preparing for holy orders) made over nine hundred years ago, certainly tends to undermine the excuse of many American bishops and Cardinals who claim that they initially lacked specific knowledge and psychological insights by which to assess the seriousness of clerical pederastic crimes.

Upon a first reading of the Book of Gomorrah I think the average Catholic would find himself in a state of shock at the severity of Damian's condemnation of clerical sodomical practices as well as the severe penalties that he asks Pope Leo IX to attach to such practices.

One of the main points of the Book of Gomorrah, is the author's insistence on the responsibility of the bishop or superior of a religious order to curb and eradicate the vice from their ranks. He minces no words in his condemnation of those prelates who refuse or fail to take a strong hand in dealing with clerical sodomical practices either because of moral indifferentism or the inability to face up to a distasteful and potentially scandalous situation.

... Damian decries the audacity of men who are "habituated to the filth of this festering disease," and yet dare to present themselves for holy orders, or if already ordained, remain in office. Was it not for such crimes that Almighty God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and slew Onan for deliberately spilling his seed on the ground? he asks. Quoting St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (Eph 5:5) he continues, "... if an unclean man has no inheritance at all in Heaven, how can he be so arrogant as to presume a position of honor in the Church, which is surely the kingdom of God?" [15]

... According to Damian, the vice of sodomy "surpasses the enormity of all others," because:
"Without fail, it brings death to the body and destruction to the soul. It pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the mind, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, and gives entrance to the devil, the stimulator of lust. It leads to error, totally removes truth from the deluded mind ... It opens up hell and closes the gates of paradise ... It is this vice that violates temperance, slays modesty, strangles chastity, and slaughters virginity ... It defiles all things, sullies all things, pollutes all things ...

"This vice excludes a man from the assembled choir of the Church ... it separates the soul from God to associate it with demons.... Unmindful of God, he also forgets his own identity. This disease erodes the foundation of faith, saps the vitality of hope, dissolves the bond of love. It makes way with justice, demolishes fortitude, removes temperance, and blunts the edge of prudence.
(emphasis added)
... Hear, dear reader, the words of St. Peter Damian that come thundering down to us through the centuries at a time in the Church when many shepherds are silent while clerical wolves, some disguised in miters and brocade robes, devour its lambs and commit sacrilege against their own spiritual sons;
"... I would surely prefer to be thrown into the well like Joseph who informed his father of his brothers' foul crime, than to suffer the penalty of God's fury, like Eli, who saw the wickedness of his sons and remained silent. (Sam 2:4) ... Who am I, when I see this pestilential practice flourishing in the priesthood to become the murderer of another's soul by daring to repress my criticism in expectation of the reckoning of God's judgement? ... How, indeed, am I to love my neighbor as myself if I negligently allow the wound, of which I am sure he will brutally die, to fester in his heart? ... "So let no man condemn me as I argue against this deadly vice, for I seek not to dishonor, but rather to promote the advantage of my brother's well-being. "Take care not to appear partial to the delinquent while you persecute him who sets him straight. If I may be pardoned in using Moses' words, 'Whoever is for the Lord, let him stand with me.' (Ezek 32:26)"
[Footnotes omitted in this post are present in the original]

Tridentine Community News - Evening Prayers, Prayers from the Daily Roman Missal, Prayers from the Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook, Mass schedules

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (June 28, 2015):
Evening Prayers

Our June 7 column provided some suggestions for prayers to be prayed in the morning. This week we’ll consider some appropriate prayers to be prayed at the end of the day. Improvised prayers are certainly appropriate as well, particularly prayers of thanks for specific favors received. The examples we present are oriented towards adults; children perhaps should focus on the thanksgiving aspect of evening prayers.

Prayers from the Daily Roman Missal

The seventh edition of Midwest Theological Forum’s Latin/English Daily Roman Missal (an excellent missal for the Ordinary Form), published in 2011, contains a useful section on Evening Prayer. It is excerpted below, along with more traditional wordings of the prayers they recommend:

Brief Examination at Night

Make a brief examination of conscience before going to bed at night. Two or three minutes will suffice.
  • Place yourself in the presence of God, recognizing His strength and your weakness. Tell him: “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.”
  • Ask your Guardian Angel for light to acknowledge your defects and virtues: What have I done wrong? What have I done right? What could I have done better?
  • Examine your conscience with sincerity: Did I often consider that God is my Father? Did I offer Him my work? Did I make good use of my time? Did I pray slowly and with attention? Did I try to make life pleasant for other people? Did I criticize anyone? Was I forgiving? Did I pray and offer some sacrifices for the Church, for the Pope, and for those around me? Did I allow myself to be carried away by sensuality? By pride?
  • Make an Act of Contrition (below), sorrowfully asking our Lord’s pardon.
  • Make a specific resolution for tomorrow:
    - To stay away from certain temptations.
    - To avoid some specific faults.
    - To exert special effort to practice some virtue.
    - To take advantage of occasions for improvement.
  • Pray three Hail Marys to the Virgin Mary, asking for purity of heart and body.
Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.

Short Acceptance of Death

O Lord my God, I now at this moment, readily and willingly accept at Thy hand whatever kind of death it may please Thee to send me, with all its pains, penalties, and sorrows.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I sleep and take my rest in peace with you.
Prayers from the Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook

The Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook contains an entire chapter of Evening Prayers, of which the below are examples:

Act of Adoration and Thanksgiving

Almighty and eternal God, I adore Thee and I thank Thee for all the benefits I have received this day and all the days of my life, through Thy infinite goodness and mercy. Give me light to know my faults and grant me grace to be truly sorry for my sins.

Here examine your conscience on the faults of the day; on the offenses against God and against your neighbor; and on the commandments of God and of the Church; and particularly with regard to your predominant passion, and in reference to your promises and good resolutions. If you have sinned grievously, resolve to go to Confession at the first opportunity. Meditate for a few moments on eternity, death, judgment, heaven, and hell, mindful of the admonition of the Holy Spirit: “In all thy works, O man, remember thy last end and thou wilt never sin.” Make an Act of Contrition.

A Night Prayer by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Jesus Christ, my God, I adore Thee and I thank Thee for all the graces Thou hast bestowed on me this day. I offer Thee my sleep and every moment of this night, and I beseech Thee to keep me free from sin. Therefore I place myself in Thy most sacred side and under the protecting mantle of our Lady, my mother. May Thy holy Angels help me and keep me in peace, and may Thy blessing be upon me.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 06/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Ss. Peter & Paul, Apostles)
  • Tue. 06/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Commemoration of St. Paul, Apostle)
  • Fri. 07/03 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. 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 June 28, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]


"SSPX Superior-General after Vatican visits of their Seminaries: 'Francis has kept his promises to us, he sees us as Catholic'" (Rorate Caeli, June 29, 2015).

Bishop Fellay declares: "[W]e have no choice but to think that [Pope Francis] does consider us Catholic." Again, after Cardinal Brandmüller and Bishop Athanasius Schneider's visit to a number of SSPX seminaries, Fellay says: "There is no doubt that their conclusion after this first closer contact was that we are a work of the Church."


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Raining on the parade: Randy Shilts on "gay" denial

I am afraid there is a lot more public denial than our friends in the "gay" community would like to admit -- palpably so amidst the current jubilation over the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex so-called "marriage" in this land.

Joseph Sciambra has an interesting post, entitled "Dead Gay Journalist Randy Shilts on Homosexual Denial and the Future of AIDS" (June 25, 2015). He points out that Randy Shilts, who died of AIDS in 1994 at the age of 42, remains a controversial figure in the gay community. While he was a proponent of "gay rights," he was not a blind or dogmatic ideologue. Most controversially, says Sciambra, in his celebrated book And the Band Played On,a detailed retelling of the early struggle to uncover the mysterious AIDS virus, Shilts laid some of the blame for the AIDS epidemic on the rampant sexual hedonism practiced by gay men. Sciambra writes:
During a 1987 interview with famed journalist and author Randy Shilts, a reporter asked for his opinion concerning the AIDS crisis, Shilts said: “I hate to be the one to say it, but I don't think our gay leaders are going to tell us. The fact is that we're not in the middle of the epidemic, we're at the beginning.” He continued: “I don't think that civil liberties are the most important thing. The gay political leadership is misguiding us by always talking about civil liberties. The most important thing for most gay men...is going to be just keeping sane in the face of all this suffering, because what I do know is going to happen is that we are going to be facing an incredible amount of untimely death...We need to begin gearing ourselves for it psychologically as human beings."

... Now, over 20 years since his death, much of what he said has proven true: the needless suffering and excruciating deaths endured by thousands of gay men during the 1990s; the continuing obsession among gay leaders with one civil liberties battle after another: from gays in the military to same-sex marriage; and the collective homosexual inability to cope with the psychological effects of AIDS. Today, although much fewer die of the disease, HIV infections are rampant within the gay male population: Overall, gay men — account for more than half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States (59%, or an estimated 712,500 persons) and approximately two-thirds of all new HIV infections each year (66%, or an estimated 31,400 infections). Only, gay men continue to construct successively larger and more elaborate worlds of fantasy and make-believe: so far, the biggest of them all – the myth of male homosexual monogamy; hence the current push for the universal acceptance of same-sex marriage; a day-dream that seems only held together by the promise of Truvada (the wonder drug touted by the gay press, which can be used as a pre-exposure prophylactic). In every case, the rhetoric of victory over discrimination proves more appealing than that of depression and disease. But, this goes part and parcel with a psychology of avoidance – to imagine things as they are not: a disease free gay world of middle-class domesticity; and oftentimes for the younger set: a complete immersion in sexual freedom and perversity – as if the 1970s never ended, and, the party didn’t get interrupted by AIDS; in both cases, this way of thinking is delusional and ultimately deadly. (emphasis added)
Rated G (General Audiences):

True Israel and the Jews

The question of the Church's relationship to the Jews, the Mosaic covenant, and the New Covenant (New Testament) with Christ at its foundation, is an ongoing one among Catholics and other Christians. I remember hearing a very bright Lutheran student of mine, who went on to work for First Things and then to become a woman pastor of a Protestant denomination, once say in class that Jews ought to be excepted from those whom we as Christians seek to evangelize. The assumption seemed to be that they were already "God's people," already, in effect, "saved." Something like this also seems to be assumed by some Protestants of a more evangelical stripe, who see the nation of Israel as "God's chosen people" today, even if they should be evangelized and come to know Jesus. This raises all sorts of questions about supersessionism, about what covenants obtain today, etc., which I don't plan to go into here.

A recent combox debate in this blog raised the issue again, however; and so I simply post for your consideration this piece by our pugnacious and irascible friend, once known as "Amateur Brain Surgeon" (my favorite appellation), and now known as "Raider Fan," "Raider Fan won't shut up but he will put up (1)" (The Nesciencent Nepenthene, June 27, 2015), which begins with this provocative declaration:
It is possible for a country, France, to suffer a revolution and commit Regicide and yet still be able to recover much of its tradition at some point in its future but a country, Israel, which commits Deicide has committed national suicide and can never recover even the tiniest portion of its tradition; it's only hope is to corporately confess that Jesus is the Messias and convert to Catholicism, the new Israel.
There is, of course, this beautiful promise of Scripture: "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son" (Zechariah 12:10), which is cited by the Apostle John (19:37). Nearly one third of Pascal's Pensees is devoted to prophecies of the Messiah of this sort.

June 26, 2015: America moves to criminalize God's law on marriage

Canonist Peters on SCOTUS decision ... and more!

Edward Peters, "Two thoughts re the Supreme Court decision on 'same-sex marriage'" (In the Light of the Law, June 26, 2015):
So, the US Supreme Court, relying on what Justice Scalia has called “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie”, has ruled that two persons of the same sex can marry. The only relationship on earth limited to two people of the opposite sex has been gutted of its core identity by our highest judicial body. Words fail. Of course, the Court has not yet reached the end of its marriage line, for yet to come are “marriages” between siblings, parents and children, groups of people, and so on, but come they will, for the corner was turned today, much like the corner was turned on abortion back in 1973—in another ruling never righted. The Court might, of course, from time to time, get some other cases correct, but it clearly cannot be relied upon as a repository of judicial, or even logical, good sense in tumultuous times. The loss is a grievous one for the American body politic. Anyway, I make here two points especially for Catholics.

First, we need to recall that the State has long recognized as married some persons who are not married, namely, when the State allows divorced persons simply to remarry. We have lived with persons in pseudo-marriage for many decades; so now the pool of such people is larger. The pastoral challenges in consequence of this latest decision are greater as will be the sacrifices needed to meet them. But so far—and this is a key point—State power has not been applied to try to force Churches or their faithful to treat as married those who, by doctrine or discipline, are not married. This brings me to my next point.

Second, Catholic doctrine and discipline can never, ever, recognize as married two persons of the same sex, and any Catholic who regards “same-sex marriage” as marriage is, beyond question, “opposed to the doctrine of the Church” (Canon 750 § 2). I am sorry so many Catholics apparently think otherwise and I recognize that many who think that Church teaching on marriage can and should change, do so in good faith. But they are still wrong and their error leads them, among other things, to underestimate how non-negotiable is the Church’s opposition to the recognition of same-sex unions as marriage. The Church (and for that matter our nation) will have great need of Catholics who understand and accept the teaching of Christ and his Church on marriage if the damage done by the Supreme Court today is ever to be repaired. Appreciating the infallible character of this teaching on marriage is the first step.

As for whether we succeed in righting this wrong, that’s not our concern. The question we will be asked at Judgment will be, Did we try?
And then, there's this: "WordPress and the art of 'In Your Face'":
Today ... when I went to post my blog on the Supreme Court case [using WordPress], there was suddenly blazoned across the editing screen a marquis style Gay Pride Rainbow flag. Atop my usual shades of grey, the multiple colors veritably screamed ‘Gay Marriage! Gay Marriage! Gay Marriage!’. Unless WordPress got hacked or something, it looks like they (with all the lately-found bravery of one who jumps on a bandwagon after someone else has won a fight) wants folks to celebrate this Supreme Court decision. Mind, WordPress has never, in my three or so years of using it, marked its tool pages with any political logos or symbols of any kind. But today there is an in-your-face gloat over the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell.

Makes me wonder how WordPress (assuming it was them who ran the Rainbow marquis) might have celebrated the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision back in the day. Perhaps a marquis featuring chains and shackles? Or how about the Supreme Court’s ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson? Maybe back-to-back rows of chairs? Weren’t these both Supreme Court cases thought to have settled once and for all major questions of their day?

Yes, a lot of people are happy about Obergefell. I get it. But assuming everyone wants to celebrate it?

PS: I wonder whether WordPress’ paying customers were greeted with a political banner today. Or was it just us charity cases?

USCCB: Court Decision "a tragic error"

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The full statement follows:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.


Fr. Blake: "For the last 60 years we have done nothing else but be so ‘merciful’ that we have failed to be truly merciful and proclaim Jesus’ teaching"

Fr. Ray Blake, in a discussion of "Male Guilt," writes:
I get a bit concerned when priests of a certain age (which they are mostly) say, 'we must be merciful'. The problem is that for the last 60 years we have done nothing else but be so 'merciful' that we have failed to be truly merciful and proclaim Jesus' teaching, which is the ultimate and only real mercy, or as Pope Francis says, 'God's final word is called Jesus'. For many young people, men especially, it is that they simply don't know how to live.

Maybe someone needs to sit down and write a simple 'Rule of Life', I suspect such a document will not come out of the Synod!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Voris: secular media magisterium controls Vatican's message

Michael Voris, "The Teaching Media" (Church Militant, June 26, 2015):
What seems to be completely missed here by many in the Vatican is that the secular media has taken over the role of teacher — has totally taken it out of the hands of the Church. The situation has changed from Holy Mother Church to Holy Teaching Media. The secular media absolutely controls the message that comes out of the Vatican. The Vatican has simply lost control of the message, the terms of the debate, the entire vocabulary.


"The sky is empty, the earth delivered into the hands of power without principles."

"The kingdom of grace has been conquered, but the kingdom of justice is crumbling too. Europe is tying of this deception."

-- Albert Camus, The Rebel

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Douthat: Pope's side in debate between dynamists and catastrophists

Ross Douthat, "Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment" (New York Times, June 20, 2015):
What everyone wants to know, of course, is whether the pope takes sides in our most polarizing debate. And he clearly does. After this document, there’s no doubting where Francis stands in the great argument of our time.

But I don’t mean the argument between liberalism and conservatism. I mean the argument between dynamists and catastrophists.

Dynamists are people who see 21st-century modernity as a basically successful civilization advancing toward a future that’s better than the past. They do not deny that problems exist, but they believe we can innovate our way through them while staying on an ever-richer, ever-more-liberated course.

Dynamists of the left tend to put their faith in technocratic government; dynamists of the right, in the genius of free markets. But both assume that modernity is a success story whose best days are ahead.

Catastrophists, on the other hand, see a global civilization that for all its achievements is becoming more atomized and balkanized, more morally bankrupt, more environmentally despoiled. What’s more, they believe that things cannot go on as they are: That the trajectory we’re on will end in crisis, disaster, dégringolade.

Like dynamists, catastrophists can be on the left or right, stressing different agents of our imminent demise. But they’re united in believing that current arrangements are foredoomed, and that only a true revolution can save us.

This is Pope Francis’ position, and the controlling theme of his encyclical. It includes, as many liberals hoped and certain conservatives feared, a call to action against climate change, which will no doubt cause Republicans to squirm during political campaigns to come.

But reading “Laudato Si’ ” simply as a case for taking climate change seriously misses the depth of its critique — which extends to the whole “technological paradigm” of our civilization, all the ways (economic and cultural) that we live now.

... the encyclical’s most pungent lines are apocalyptic: “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.”

... its urgency, sweep, and apocalyptic flavor may make “Laudato Si’ ” more immediately influential, more likely to make both audiences think anew.

However, its catastrophism also leaves this pope more open to empirical criticism. For instance, he doesn’t grapple sufficiently with evidence that the global poor have become steadily less poor under precisely the world system he decries — a reality that has complicated implications for environmentalism.

Nor are questions related to population growth successfully resolved....

Finally, it’s possible to believe that climate change is happening while doubting that it makes “the present world system ... certainly unsustainable,” as the pope suggests.
[Hat tip to Fr. D. Jones]

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

For the record: Mullarkey on Laudato Si'

[Disclaimer: Rules ##7-9]
Maureen Mullarkey, "Where Did Pope Francis’s Extravagant Rant Come From?" (The Federalist, June 24, 2015). What, First Things wouldn't publish this? Heads will explode, if not roll:
Subversion of Christianity by the spirit of the age has been a hazard down the centuries. The significance of “Laudato Si” lies beyond its stated concern for the climate. Discount obfuscating religious language. The encyclical lays ground to legitimize global government and makes the church an instrument of propaganda—a herald for the upcoming United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Paris.

... Take no comfort from “Laudato Si’s” restatements of the Catholic Church’s traditional positions on the sanctity of life, the primacy of the family, and rejection of abortion. In this context, orthodoxy and pious expression serve a rancid purpose. They are a Trojan horse, a vehicle for insinuating surrender to pseudo-science and the eco-fascism that requires it.

... Replete with cooing reference to Francis of Assisi, “Laudato Si” ignores the single aspect of Assisi’s “Il Poverello” most relevant to our time. It is not the fey proto-hippie of high-fructose legend that speaks best to us now. It is the would-be martyr who sailed to Egypt alongside Crusaders to preach the gospel to a Muslim sultan.

Resurgent Islam and the spread of Sharia are the church’s enemies, not oil, coal, and gas. None are poorer than those who live, despised, in the path of ISIS. Where, then, is the encyclical calling for the conversion of Islam away from its murderous climate of hatred? Instead, the Vicar of Christ calls all the world—intending primarily the West—to “ecological conversion.”

Intellectual and moral confusion of such magnitude is a judgment on the ecclesial culture that produced it and the popular culture that consents to it.
[Hat tip to M.G.]

Nature worship at its spiritual-but-not-religious best

The Vatican, U.N., and Global Warming: the emerging battle lines

Elizabeth Yore, "The Pope's Encyclical: A Statement by Elizabeth Yore"

M. Matt, "Voice of the Family statement on the encyclical Laudato Si" (June 20, 2015)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pope says weapons manufacturers can't call themselves Christian

Philip Pullella, "Pope says weapons manufacturers can't call themselves Christian" (Reuters, June 21, 2015) -- via Janet Smith on FB:
"Well this is wrong. It is wrong to suggest that all manufactures of weapons engender a bit of mistrust. That is judging a large group of people. Elsewhere I read that he suggested those who manufacture weapons don't work as hard for peace because that would cut into the profits. Unfair to many I am sure. [I have edited this piece for accuracy, so not all the comments below will make perfect sense re my post.]"

Tridentine Community News - Sacra Liturgía USA 2015 Report

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (June 21, 2015):
It’s always edifying and inspiring to attend one of the major international liturgical conferences. This month’s Sacra Liturgía USA gathering in New York City was no exception. While not exclusively Tridentine-focused, the conference intellectually leaned in the direction the Extraordinary Form. Academics are becoming ever more convinced that the EF is a more expressive form of Catholic worship.

Major events benefit from having a star, and Sacra Liturgía’s was unquestionably His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke. No Prince of the Church of recent decades has done more to advance the cause of traditional liturgy. His Eminence delivered the keynote address on the subject, “Beauty in the Sacred Liturgy and the Beauty of a Holy Life.” He also presided at Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form, wearing the cappa magna (pictured).

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone spoke on the bishop’s role in liturgical leadership. He also celebrated a Pontifical Mass in the Ordinary Form ad oriéntem in Latin.

Dom Alcuin Reid, the co-founder of Sacra Liturgía and one of the most renowned living scholars on the sacred liturgy, presented a history of the controversial Holy Week reforms of 1955, along with a carefully crafted argument in favor of them. He provided evidence to debunk popular myths about how they came about.

Fr. Christopher Smith, pastor of one of North America’s largest traditionally-oriented parishes, Prince of Peace in Taylors, South Carolina, explained how he has formed his parishioners to appreciate faithful liturgy. Dr. Michael Foley elaborated on the reforms of the liturgical calendar in the OF which regrettably eliminated some of the “recapitulation” of feasts present in the EF.

This author was particularly intrigued by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s talk, “The Reform of the Lectionary”. He reiterated the point made in this column in the past that the EF actually contains more Sacred Scripture than the OF, both in the Ordinary (the unchanging parts) of the Mass, as well as in the mandatory use of Propers. He pointed out that offsetting the OF’s expanded three-year Sunday and two-year weekday lectionary cycle, the OF actually suppresses certain passages of scripture that the liturgical reformers considered too controversial. For example, nowhere in the Ordinary Form readings is the passage contained in the Epistle for Corpus Christi in the Extraordinary Form which states, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord.” Dr. Kwasniewski coined an interesting term for this phenomenon: “Doctrinal attenuation”.

Liturgically, the conference was stellar. Under the direction of Dom Alcuin Reid, arguably the world’s most expert Master of Ceremonies, the week’s liturgies were executed at the highest rubrical standards. A particular highlight was Pontifical Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the Feast of Corpus Christi, celebrated by Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry. Over 125 priests and seminarians were in attendance, along with hundreds of lay faithful. Mass was followed by a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of New York. The crowd processed from St. Catherine of Siena Church to St. John Nepomucene Church to St. Vincent Ferrer Church, where the concluding Benediction was held. Police blockaded the streets, including major intersections at 1st and 2nd Avenues. Several locals remarked on the peaceful, reverent atmosphere.

Cardinal Burke granted the exclusive press interview at the conference to our crew from Extraordinary Faith, who shot portions of the conference and obtained interviews with several other speakers. Look for the broadcast of our New York episodes in mid-2016.

Interested in experiencing this sort of conference for yourself? Sacra Liturgía 2016 will take place July 5-8 in London, England, at a location to be announced in September.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 06/22 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop & Confessor)
  • Tue. 06/23 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle, Ann Arbor (Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
  • Tue. 06/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist)
  • Fri. 06/26 7:00 PM: Pontifical Missa Cantata at St. Patrick, Brighton (Ss. John & Paul, Martyrs) – Celebrant: Bishop Earl Boyea. Social and dance for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. 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 June 21, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

How encyclicals have changed through Catholic history

Boniface, "The Curiosity of the Modern Encyclical" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam June 18, 2015):
... The encyclical developed from the papal bull. The bull was a primarily juridical instrument used as a means of promulgating an authoritative judgment of the Holy See, either in matters of doctrine or governance. These could often be very short; we marvel today at reading something like Boniface VIII's Unam Sanctam (1302) - which famously declared that submission to the Roman pontiff was necessary for salvation - and is only a page long! Papal bulls in the old days knew what they wanted to say and they said it.

The modern encyclical developed out of the Enlightenment period as the popes realized that broader literacy and intellectual challenges to Christian revelation necessitated using the papal bull as a means of educating the flock on Catholic teaching, and hence by the time of the French Revolution the bull had begun to transform into the encyclical, the teaching letters of the modern pontiffs.

The encyclicals of the 19th and early 20th century are lucid and clear. Their purpose is to expound Catholic doctrine and defend it against modern errors, which they do very admirably. A friend recently commented to me that in thinking back on great documents like Pascendi, Quas Primas, Casti Conubii and so forth, one can immediately recall the substance of of them and the force of their arguments. Pius XII taught that the encyclical was the normative means by which the Roman pontiff exercised his teaching office. The same cannot be said about modern encyclicals - who can easily summarize what Redemptor Hominis or Populorum Progressio are about except in the vaguest terms?

... somewhere along the way the popes seemed to have dropped the declarative aspect of the encyclical in the overly optimistic hope that if we could just explain our teaching to the world - just walk them through our thinking step by step - then maybe the world would accept the Church's message. Maybe if we simply "proposed" our rationale for belief humbly instead of declaring that we "had" the truth, the world would reciprocate and enter into a "fruitful dialogue" with Christianity that would mutually enrich everybody?

Fruitful dialogue. Reciprocate. Mutually Enrich. Sorry, my post-Conciliar vocabulary started taking over for a moment.

Seriously though, the problem with this approach is fourfold:

(a) The world does not reject the Gospel because it has not been adequately explained. They reject it "because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil" (John 3:19).

(b) Even when its has opted for explaining rather than declaring the Church's teaching, the Church has done a poor job of it because it has chosen to explain its teachings in terms of humanist phenomenology rather than having recourse to the Church's traditional pedagogy.

(c) By focusing so much on the explanation and presentation over the declaration, the Church has unwittingly given the false impression that the validity of its teachings are bound up with the force of her argumentation, a kind of false intellectualism. She feels shaky and inadequate simply saying, "Such is the voice of the Church; such is the teaching of our Faith"; she feels she must offer a humanistic centered explanation for everything - an explanation that will "suit" the needs of "contemporary man" - with the effect that her message has become completely man-centered. "He taught as one who had authority" (Matt. 7:29) said the people of old about Christ; but when the Church forgets the supernatural force that stands behind her teaching and opts instead for an anthropomorphized message, she no longer "speaks with authority", in the sense that her words lose their force. Hence people shrug at the latest papal document and move on.

(d) Finally, because the popes have sought for novel means to propose their teachings, encyclicals lose their strenght as teaching documents and become instead opportunities for the popes to foist their own theological or literary tastes on the Catholic people. The phenomenology of John Paul II, the Balthasarian-Hegelian-Teilhardism of Benedict XVI, and now the sort of "literary theology" of Francis. Each pontiff has opted not use traditional pedagogy, which means every pope has to "try something new" in how they choose to teach.

Thus, while retaining its authority in the juridical sense, from a strictly pedagogical viewpoint, the modern encyclical tends to become a rambling, sprawling mess that lacks the force to move minds and hearts. There have been exceptions; Humanae Vitae certainly did its job, as did Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Fides et Ratio was profound. But by and large they have failed to really educate the Catholic flock on the substance of the Church's teaching and are too cumbersome to be accessible to the average pewsitter. There is reason why going on and on is called "pontificating."

Fr. John Hunwicke's pearls of wisdom on "Nature and Environment"

Fr. John Hunwicke, "Nature and Environment" (Fr. Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment, October 3, 2014). A few excerpts ... or, pearls:
... What I find objectionable is an ideology which has grown up and which surrounds 'Nature' and 'The Environment' with reverence, even deference, and sometimes even what looks like a whole invented morality. (Whom should I blame as the begetter of the idea that Morality is derived from Nature? Wordsworth? Heidegger?) Take the concept of Biodiversity. We are under an obligation, it is suggested, to preserve threatened species and to expand the numbers of different species in the world around us.

Really? What about the small-pox virus? Or Ebola? How much do we welcome their spread? Do we encourage it? But they are parts of Nature, aren't they? Should I explain to my GP that he is wrong to discourage promiscuous young people from providing Welcoming Habitats for Chlamydia? What about fleas? Are they part of Nature, and, if not, why not? What about those wonderful little creatures, lice? Cockroaches in your kitchen and the maggots spreading from the bit of beef which slipped down behind the cupboard? And Weather is Environment, isn't it? Tsunamis are to be welcomed, aren't they? Volcanic eruptions? Floods resulting in the spreading of Bubonic Plague by large black rats? (Perhaps Dr Dawkins will write us a book, with enlarged colour photographs, about the elegant and beautiful symbiosis between the rats, their fleas, and the plague.)

... Recently a television 'Nature' presenter in England called Humble revealed that she liked going around naked so as to be "closer to Nature". She (and the journalist who wrote the story up) apparently saw no inconsistency between this affection for 'Nature' and the decision she said she and her husband had made "never" to have children. How 'Natural' are antiovulant contraceptive pills ... or whatever method she uses to achieve her elected infertility? She tells us that "We usually get up at 6 a.m. to feed the animals". One assumes that she seizes the opportunity to do this naked. I'm sure her house is exquisitely smelly (smells are 'natural') after she comes back indoors with animal excrement all over her (of course) naked feet (mammal excrement is 'natural', isn't it?). And Humble says that "there is something joyous about it [going naked]". I admire her ability to find 'joy' in circumstances which most of us would give a lot to avoid, like going out stark-naked to feed the pigs in a sub-zero temperature, two hours before dawn on a January morning. (Goose pimples are 'part of Nature', aren't they? And icy winter winds straight from Siberia? Or is Nature confined to agreeably warm days and a beneficent Jet-stream?).
[Hat tip to L.S.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Interpretations of Laudato Si'

I plan to update this listing periodically. [Disclaimer: The views of the linked articles do not necessarily reflect my views, as most readers (and my seminary students) will know. Some are polite and charitable; others abrasive and bitter; still others inveterate fantasy. Advisory: I consider it important to arm oneself with a variety of perspectives -- See: Rules ##7-9] But remember, when all is said and done, what is far more important than any encyclical, or sorting out the cacophony of voices vying to interpret it, is the zeal and joy with which you embrace your life as a Catholic. To know the Faith requires no more than a Penny Catechism; and if you know your Faith, you will know how to live it, love it, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

Climate change doubter booted from Vatican summit

Mark Duell, "French climate change doubter was 'uninvited' from Vatican summit weeks before Pope declared global warming a man-made problem" (Daily Mail.com, June 21, 2015)

First Things' R.R. Reno compares Laudato Si' to Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors

Don't you LOVE being Catholic?!!

R.R. Reno, "The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism" (First Things, June 18, 2015), begins his essay thus:
Commentators are sure to make the false claim that Pope Francis has aligned the Church with modern science. They’ll say this because he endorses climate change. But that’s a superficial reading of Laudato Si. In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, and anti-progressive sentiments. In fact, this is perhaps the most anti-modern encyclical since the Syllabus of Errors, Pius IX’s haughty 1864 dismissal of the conceits of the modern era.
At which point you may be wondering, as I, whether Reno is writing entirely tongue-in-cheek, or whether he's serious. Well, read to the end, and I think you'll see.

Fr. Rutler on the "promise and peril" of Laudato Si'

Fr. George Rutler, "Mixing Up the Sciences of Heaven and Earth" (Crisis, June 18, 2015), writes:
It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute). The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined. It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.” That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners. One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.” While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius. Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe. At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals.

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Vatican's global warming extremist attempts to deflect criticism

"Vatican’s Newest Global Warming Extremist Calls Critics ‘Vicious Liars’" (Church Militant, June 22, 2015):
ROME, June 22, 2015 (Austin Ruse) - Veteran Vatican reporter Edward Pentin interviewed Hans Schellnhuber about controversies swirling around him and his reputation as one of the more aggressive theorists of global warming. Schellnhuber said reports that he said the Earth has a "carrying capacity of less than 1 billion" are a "complete lie."
But the backpedaling Schellnhuber did say precisely that, as reported by the New York Times -- namely that the carrying capacity of Earth is estimated "at less than 1 billion," which is what Breitbart News and other outlets reported. As the Church Militant article added: " should be noted that radical environmentalists have long proposed what Schellnhuber proposed at Copenhagen, that the carrying capacity of the Earth is 1 billion or less, leaving open the question of what to do with the dangerous excess of six billion."

Amazing grace: Thomas Howard's sister, Elisabeth Elliot, dies

Elisabeth Elliot, the sister of Catholic convert Thomas Howard (author of Evangelical Is Not Enough, On Being Catholic, and Lead, Kindly Light), had a remarkable life. One of the most influential Evangelical authors and speakers of the 20th century, her husband was killed during their short-lived but legendary mission work among unreached tribes in eastern Ecuador in the 1950s, along with several other men who chose to die rather than use their firearms, because, as one of them said, their attackers were less prepared to meet their Maker than they were.

Elliot's book, Through Gates of Splendor, relates this remarkable story, about which the following gripping film was also made:

Even more remarkably, in a daring adventure of breath-taking commitment, Elliot (accompanied only by her daughter), returned to continue a ministry of Christian forgiveness and share the Gospel with those who had killed her husband and those of several other widowed women who returned to the United States. The result was the conversions of many to Christ and a remarkable transformation of the tribe from one engaged in continual blood letting to a peaceable people changed by the power of forgiveness.

The magazine, Christianity Today (June 15, 2015), has a substantial article on Elliot HERE.

[Hat tip to JM]

How, then, shall we live as Catholics?

Guy Noir sent me the link to this piece (seems he's graduated from carrier pigeons to smart phones): Fr. Pio Pace, "Op-Ed: 'Rome: the Age of Emptiness'" (Rorate Caeli, June 17, 2015), which prompted this article: "What Does It Mean to Be Catholic Anymore?" (Church Militant, June 21, 2015).

Friday, June 19, 2015

"No Catholic is free to dissent from the teaching of Laudato Si’"

Fr. Ashley Beck, "No Catholic is free to dissent from the teaching of Laudato Si’" (Catholic Herald, June 19, 2015), is quite clear about what he thinks of dissent, at least, if a little less clear about what, exactly, this encyclical teaches that makes it uniquely important just now. Surely it's more than: "Look up from your phones and encounter each other"

Fr. Beck identifies the encyclical as falling "in the tradition of papal encyclicals, beginning with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in 1891, right up to Benedict XVI’s last encyclical from 2009, Caritas in Veritate ...." That's good company.

He writes:
This encyclical, deep and astute in so many ways, is not a work about the environment, or economics, or political theory – rather, it is theology... papal social encyclicals like Laudato Si' are part of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church....

What this means is that while the Church does allow for divergent viewpoints on some issues (Laudato Si’ 61), we are simply not free to dissent from the teaching of this encyclical, any more than we are free to dissent from Catholic teaching about other moral issues.
Curiously (or maybe not so curiously, considering the times), while Fr. Beck says that this encyclical is "deep and astute," he nowhere says what the encyclical's teaching is. He doesn't even try. Which makes me wonder whether he even knows for sure. Could he summarize its message in 25 words?

Which, in turn, makes me wonder why he is so eager to prevent "dissent" from the encyclical's teaching that he emblazons that prohibition across the top of his article as its headline.

Does this remind you just a little of the tenacity with which some Catholics insist that one must give full assent to the "teachings of Vatican II" (which was not a dogmatic council), and yet those same Catholics would usually be hard pressed to define what uniquely-important doctrines are given expression by the Council that were not clearly resident in previous Sacred Tradition? Is "ecumenism" a doctrine? Is "ecological conversion"? What do they mean?

Bit wait, there's also this: Danny Wiser, "Obama calls for world leaders to heed Pope Francis's message" (Catholic Herald, June 19, 2015). Wiser writes: "The US president hails the Pope's intervention as 'clear and powerful'." Maybe he can tell us what it means. Why, do you think, is he so giddy about this encyclical?

Then there's this question: regardless of whether Mr. Obama knows what Pope Francis means by his encyclical, Mr. Obama apparently has good reason for affirming what it means to him; and is there a shred of doubt in anyone's mind that this meaning is amicable or even benign vis-a-vis the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? What larger purpose do you think Mr. Obama wants this encyclical to serve; and how does that purpose compare and/or contrast to the purpose Pope Francis has in mind?

I'm reminded of two elderly church ladies who came out of a Methodist church where they had just finished hearing Paul Tillich preach. "Wasn't it beautiful," exlaimed the one. "Yes, but what did it mean?" asked the other. And they smiled at one another and made their way home.

Yes, I've read the encyclical. I'm sure if we asked every person (like Hans Joachim Schellnhuber) who apparently had a hand in writing the document, we'd get quite different accounts as to its meaning. I should like to hear Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, offer a summary of what it means, so I may know what I'm assenting to, beyond all the traditional Catholic doctrines that are already in the Church's deposit of Faith.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Battle of Vienna, 1683 (Remember?)

Brave New World Map: The Empire Builders

Victor Davis Hanson, "The New World Map" (Town Hall, June 18, 2015):
Adolf Hitler started World War II by attacking Poland on September 1, 1939. Nazi Germany moved only after it had already remilitarized the Rhineland, absorbed Austria and dismantled Czechoslovakia. Before the outbreak of the war, Hitler's new Third Reich had created the largest German-speaking nation in European history.

Well before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese government had redrawn the map of Asia and the Pacific. Japan had occupied or annexed Indochina, Korea, Manchuria and Taiwan, in addition to swaths of coastal China. Attacking Hawaii, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia was merely the logical 1941 follow-up to more than a decade of Japanese aggression.

Fascist Italy, by the outbreak of World War II in Europe, had already been remaking the map of the Mediterranean region in imitation of ancient Rome. Strongman Benito Mussolini had annexed what is now Ethiopia, Albania and most of Libya. He promised Italians that the Mediterranean would soon be mare nostrum, "our sea."

All of these hegemonies had arisen without triggering a global war. Had Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese just been satisfied and consolidated their winnings, there was no evidence that the tired Western democracies would ever have stopped them.

The contemporary world is starting to resemble the 1930s, and maps again must be redrawn.

The Islamic State plans to take Baghdad to make it the capital of a radical Sunni caliphate from what is left of Syria and Iraq.

Its enemy, theocratic Iran, is forging its own Shiite empire. Through its proxies, Iran now effectively runs much of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. When Tehran gets a nuclear bomb, it will urge on Shiite minorities to overthrow the Sunni monarchies in the rich, oil-exporting Persian Gulf nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks he can reconstitute the empire of the czars and the later Soviet Union. American "reset" diplomacy green-lighted his annexation of the Crimea and his occupation of areas of Ukraine. Should Putin wish to absorb Estonia or other Baltic States, NATO probably would not stop him.

A terrified Eastern Europe, which not that long ago was part of the old Soviet Warsaw Pact, is already making the necessary political concessions in hopes that the unpredictable Putin leaves them alone.