Friday, August 30, 2013

John Senior: "We have lost"

Rorate posts a brief review of John Senior's book, The Remnants: The Final Essays of John Senior (Rorate Caeli, August 30, 2013), which carries the following quote:
"The crisis is over; we have lost. This is no longer just a prediction, it is a simple observation: Rome has been desecrated. We are in the age of darkness. Triumphalist reactions are in vain. The modern world and the Church deserve the punishment that God is raining down on us." -- John Senior.

The Rorate review goes on to comment:
We found this short book has something for everyone, regardless of how long they've been traditional, or if they're even traditional at all. Any serious Catholic would benefit from the wisdom and history it contains.

Senior takes readers through the minds of thinkers like Newman, Virgil and Aristotle. He gives a blueprint on how to recapture Catholic life in the home and how to form young minds. And, because he lived it along with other traditional Catholic warriors like his friend Michael Davies and the late Walter Matt, readers get a glimpse into the dark days following the Council, and decisions many traditional Catholics faced with the Écône consecrations, the early days of Ecclesia Dei and the perhaps presumed choice between love of tradition and "obedience" to the current actions of those at the top of the Church.
What I find notable is his energy invested, not in merely cursing the darkness, but in offering a blueprint on how to rebuild Catholic life in the home and young minds. That I find very positive.

20 German police, agents, storm home, remove homeschooled children by force

"Police storm homeschool class, take children by force" (WND, August 30, 2013): "Officers brought a battering ram and were about to break door in." Clearly someone believes home schoolers qualify as something about as alarming as terrorists:

“The children were taken to unknown locations,” HSLDA said. “Officials ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children anytime soon.”

The raid, which took place Thursday at 8 a.m. as the children were beginning their day’s classes, has been described by observers as “brutal and vicious.”

A team of 20 social workers, police and special agents stormed the family’s home. HSLDA reported a Judge Koenig, who is assigned to the Darmstadt family court, signed an order authorizing the immediate seizure of the children by force.

“Citing the parents’ failure to cooperate ‘with the authorities to send the children to school,’ the judge also authorized the use of force ‘against the children’ … reasoning that such force might be required because the children had ‘adopted the parents’ opinions’ regarding homeschooling and that ‘no cooperation could be expected’ from either the parents or the children,” HSLDA said.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cathedral Mass This Friday

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

Tridentine Community News (August 25, 2013):
One of the most significant events in regional Tridentine Mass history will take place this Friday, August 30 at 7:00 PM, as Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral will host its first Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form in over 40 years. The celebrant will be Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon, and the music will be led by Archdiocese of Detroit Music Director Joe Balistreri. Special thanks to Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Cathedral Rector Msgr. Michael LeFevre for their assistance in making this Mass possible.

Young adults age 18-35 are invited to a dinner sponsored by Juventútem Michigan after the Mass; further information is available on the Facebook event page.

Tridentine Mass and Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio

For the second year in a row, there will be a bus pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. This year’s trip will take place on Wednesday, September 4. A Tridentine High Mass will be offered at the high altar of the historic Upper Basilica at 12:00 Noon. For more information or to register for the tour, call (248) 250-6005. [Photo left by Christopher Din]

Abbé Edward Gardner, ICRSS Subdeacons at Assumption Church for the First Time

Thanks to the last-minute organizing efforts of Paul Schultz, Ann Arbor native and recently-ordained Subdeacon and seminarian for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest Edward Gardner served as Subdeacon for the first time at a Solemn High Mass last Sunday at Windsor’s Assumption Church. [The Institute has a custom of referring to its seminarians with the title Abbé.]

Assumption has become a gathering place for seminarians from a variety of places. The previous week, five seminarians served at Holy Mass, representing London’s St. Peter Seminary, Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Boston’s Blessed John XXIII Seminary, and the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem. We are honored that these young men are choosing to assist at the Extraordinary Form and learn more about the Classic Form of the Mass in our community.

Kickstarter Project Announced for Gregorian Chant CD by Wassim Sarweh

For years, requests have come in from far and wide for our regional Gregorian Chant guru Wassim Sarweh and his choir to record a CD. Efforts had been made to make recordings, but the venues and circumstances were all found lacking. To make a professional-quality recording, everything must be as perfect as possible. Recognizing the need for such a project to be done right, former Ann Arbor and current Los Angeles resident and media expert Aaron Harburg has offered to helm the project. He has prepared a detailed Kickstarter project description, complete with an introductory video and audio samples.

Donors are needed to make the project viable. Read more and sign up to contribute at:

Diocese of London Showcases Historic Liturgical Objects on Facebook

Over the past several weeks, the Diocese of London, Ontario has put up a fascinating set of photographs on their Facebook page. Relics, holy cards, medals, chalices, historic missals, and the like have been displayed. The items are from the diocesan archives, an impressive collection rarely seen by the public. Visit the Diocese of London Facebook page for a visual feast.

Relics of St. André Bessette to Visit Assumption Church

On Wednesday, September 11, the relics of St. André Bessette, CSC, Montreal’s famed ambassador of St. Joseph, will visit Windsor’s Assumption Church. At 1:00 PM, there will be a Solemn Reception of the Relics. Silent veneration will be available from 1:30 – 6:30 PM. At 7:00 PM, Archbishop James MacDonald, CSC will celebrate a Solemn Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 08/26 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Zephyrinus, Pope & Martyr)
  • Tue. 08/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Joseph Calasance, Confessor)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for August 25, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

“Why I’m Not a Traditionalist (But We’re Going to Latin Mass Anyways…)”

From The Back of the World, via Fr. Z, comes this interesting piece (excerpts only):
Hi, my name is Ryan. I’m 27-years-old, and I’m new to this diocese. And for the love of all that is holy, can someone please do something about all of the $@#!&* tambourine playing going on around here?! ...

I apologize in advance if this post comes off as too much of a rant. And I should say this from the start: I’m not a Traditionalist Catholic. I’ve never found the criticisms of Vatican II to be very convincing, I’m a big fan of some theologians that Trads usually aren’t fond of (e.g., von Balthasar), I think that Pope Francis’ simpler style is (for the most part) pretty awesome, etc. I guess you can say I’m a “JP2 conservative”…faithful to the Magisterium, adherent to the hermeneutic of continuity, etc. All that to say, I was never interested in picking on the Novus Ordo liturgy…

But we’ve made a decision as a family to start attending the Traditional Latin Mass regularly. And here’s why: (emphasis Fr. Z's)
Here Ryan comments on how he and his family used to attend a beautiful, reverent Novus Ordo Mass in Boston; how he read Pope Benedict's Spirit of the Liturgy, which convinced him of the importance of kneeling to receive Communion and having the priest celebrate ad orientem, etc. But then he comes to the kicker:
Now, though, we’ve moved to the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. And, if I may be blunt, the state of the liturgy around here is utterly atrocious. ...

It’s enough to make me want to scream: “People! We are attending the re-presentation of the once-for-all-sacrifice made for us on Calvary, and simultaneously realizing the eschatological Wedding Supper of the Lamb made present in the Eucharist! PUT DOWN THE TAMBOURINES!

And so we attended the Latin Mass this past Sunday. And it was breathtakingly beautiful. And you know, it wasn’t that hard to follow along in the missal. [Never has been... never will be.] And, in what is no doubt a bitter irony to the kind of people that like contemporary Christian music, at a Latin Mass of about 100 people, there were probably triple the number of young people than at any other Mass I’ve been to since we moved here ...

And maybe this will sound extreme to some of my readers, but I don’t really want my kids exposed to what’s going on in the Novus Ordo in this diocese. I think liturgy has a huge pedagogical component to it, and I don’t like what those liturgies teach my children. I think they take away from the utter seriousness of what the Mass is, I think it says “this is just a Sunday get-together” rather than “this is a Holy Sacrifice”, I think it teaches that liturgy is about your musical preferences rather than worshiping God ... Besides which, my two-year-old was way better-behaved than he has been at the Novus Ordo, and I’m sure that’s because he picked up on the reverent and serious silence, rather than looking at a guy his grandfather’s age rocking out on a guitar and thinking “aw man, it’s party time up in here!”

If this is where we are at, if this is what the Novus Ordo has become in some dioceses, then maybe the best thing to do is to hit the reset button and start from the beginning. [That is about reason #2 for Summorum Pontificum.] Maybe we need to all go home, re-learn the 1962 missal, then calmly re-read Sacrosanctum Concilium in about 5 years to learn what the Council actually said, and we can have this discussion again.

Until then, you can find me and mine down the street at the TLM on Sundays, reclaiming my heritage and birth-right as a Roman Catholic -- i.e., good liturgy.(emphasis Fr. Z's)
[Hat tip to JM]

Nothing so unhip as AmChurch trying to be hip

From a reader of Fr. Z's blog:
I was traveling with my daughter last week and, walking out of a parish where we fulfilled our Sunday obligation, she looked at me and said

"I've never hated the tambourine more than I do now.”
Tambourines are for the Byrds.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

MLK would have loathed most of Obama's ideas

Beyond their common human nature and racial identity as African Americans (partial in Obama's case), the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Barack Hussein Obama share little in common ideologically.

Obama is a Democrat of the contemporary revisionist stripe, and champions same-sex "marriage," abortion "rights" (and even infanticide, which was more than even Hillary Clinton could stomach -- and that's saying something), and the values of moral subjectivism and relativism, which pervade his revisionist views of family values, Democratic Party principles, and even Christianity.

Martin Luther King was a Republican, condemned abortion, championed the principles of traditional Christianity and natural law, never questioned the existence of objective moral absolutes, and would have found the contemporary liberal euphemisms of "health care" and "reproductive rights" (for contraception and abortion) and "gay-friendly" disposition of most contemporary Democrats utterly loathsome.

Just how out-of-sync with contemporary Democrats Martin Luther King would have been, can be seen from his writings and speeches. His Letter from a Birmingham Jail is an excellent concise defence, among other things, of traditional Catholic natural law theory. It is striking that he appeals directly to the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine in defence of the idea that there is a higher court of appeal than human law, which may be unjust. He openly appeals to the idea of natural law and, beyond it, the eternal law of God, by which the human laws of men are ultimately judged as to whether or not they are just or unjust.

It would be amusing to remember here, if it were not so lamentable, Mr. Joe Biden's flip-flop over this issue while serving in the US Senate. When Robert Bork was nominated for the Supreme Court, Senator Biden opposed his appointment in the Senate hearings because Bork did not subscribe to a belief in natural law. Then, during the Senate hearings following Clarence Thomas's nomination for the Court, Mr. Biden opposed Thomas's appointment because he did subscribe to a belief in natural law. One thing I will say for Mr. Biden: he knows which way the wind is blowing. He would make a good weathervane.

The other work by Martin Luther King worth noting here is his famed "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, in our nation's capital. It is in every way a milestone speech. It is eloquent. It is full of Biblical allusions and cadences. It sounds like the most eloquent of Baptist homilies, in keeping with the character of the well-educated Baptist minister that he was. The following is representative of those brilliantly allusive Biblical cadences:
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Among the most memorable lines of the speech, however, are these:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character.
Note the appeal here to "character" rather than to "color." There is nothing in King of entitlement based on race or color or ethnicity. His appeal, rather, is to something objective, "character," presupposing the existence of objective measures by which moral virtue may be judged. In short, he is appealing to the principle of "justice," which he expects everyone -- his enemies as well as his friends -- to be well aware of as a matter of natural law.

This appeal to justice is patently clear in another part of King's speech, which was egregiously mis-appropriated recently by the Rev. Al Sharpton. King said, in his speech:
In a sense we have come to our Nation's Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed to the inalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.
King's appeal is to "justice," that is, equal justice before the law; but the Rev. Al Sharpton, in his speech, after citing King's words (starting at 5:25), immediately re-interprets King's words (starting at 5:56) in terms of economic entitlement, accusing the government of withholding owed money from African Americans, along with all those enlisted in the Democratic agenda of economic redistribution in the name of entitlement and victimization.

This turns King's ideas on their head. King wants blacks to have equality before the law based on their common humanity and for them to be judged not by the color of their skin but by their character. Sharpton, like many Democrats today, is closer to wanting blacks to be treated as entitled to government tax dollars based on the color of their skin in the name of "affirmative action" -- which is certainly promoted by Obama, but would not have been by King.

Contemporary revisionist Democrats and cultural liberals and relativists like Obama cannot lay just claim to King's legacy. Their attempt to do so is as perverse as the attempt of contemporary feminists and members of the National Organization for Women and National Abortion Rights Action League to suggest that they can lay claim to the legacy of Susan B. Anthony (whose face adorns our now rare dollar coins), while in fact Susan Anthony was a staunch opponent of abortion and supported the right to life of the unborn.

How can contemporary cultural and political leftists be so morally self-righteous and yet so stupid?

  • "'I Have a Dream' - 50 years on" (Cranmer, August 25, 2013) -- a good supplemental analysis.
  • Time Magazine cover for its August 26/September2, 2013 issue, the "I have a dream anniversary issue," sports a headline declaring King "Founding Father," and an article entitled "Martin Luther King Jr, Architect of the 21st Century."
[Hat tip to JM]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Weigel throwing in the towel, admitting failure?

Just received the following email from a reader:
If you read Weigel's latest piece in First Things it sounds like an admission of failure about the magazine's mission.

Which is good because I cancelled my subscription the day after reading it.
Here's the piece he is referring to: George Weigel, "Fighting on New Terrain" (First Things, August/September, 2013). The entire article is well-worth reading and quite telling; but here are a few excerpts setting the stage:
The American Founders built “better than they knew” (as the U.S. bishops once put it in the late nineteenth century). That is, they created an admirable structure of democratic self-government, but the theoretical or philosophical foundation on which they built that structure was inadequate, being cannibalized from fragments of Christian patrimony tarted up in (Scottish and English) Enlightenment fancy dress.

That foundation “held” for a long time, thanks to the culture-forming capacities of a mainline Protestantism that, whatever its other faults, nevertheless inculcated a public ethic capable of sustaining American democracy. The last great moment of appeal to that mainline-informed public ethic was the civil-rights movement in its classic phase. But even then the mainline had become the oldline and was on its way to being the sideline. Murray had seen this coming in the 1950s and suggested that the Catholic community, still in possession of those religiously informed natural law truths that were the distillate at the foundation of the American experiment, might move into the vacuum created by the mainline meltdown and become the “lead” community (as RJN [Richard John Neuhaus] put it in The Catholic Moment) in both proclaiming the Gospel and securing the moral-cultural foundations of American democracy.

Thus RJN, and many of the rest of us, implicitly accepted Francis Canavan’s defense of Murray and his criticism of the David Schindler/Communio/“Ill-Founded Republic” critique of the American experiment. The Founders were doing politics, not theology, and in any event the job of formulating and sustaining a public philosophy (which, given American religiosity, had to be “religiously informed”) was the job of a robust civil society, not of government. (This was also, and obviously, a critique of functionalist approaches to the theory of democracy, but that need not detain us here.)

The RJN variant, if you will, on the Murray ­Proposal was that this new shoring up, this new delineation of a “religiously informed public philosophy for the American experiment in ordered liberty,” would be ecumenical and interreligious in ­character: thus the unique fellowship of the First Things com­munity and the distinctive style and range of the magazine.... Read more >>
[Hat tip to G.M.]

Syria: pray for our Christian brethren

"Let us pray for those who will lose most in any intervention, the weakest link in the Middle East: Christians."

"[A]s in the Balkan interventions of the early 20th century, it is clear that there is an interest of some Powers to pursue an armed intervention in an area where multiple, complex and deeply historical interests are at stake, it is absolutely clear that it cannot end well, and it will almost certainly end with results that are opposed to the core interests of those same Powers. It is like witnessing a car crash and not being able to do anything."

Source: New Catholic (Rorate Caeli, August 27, 2013).

Middle East update - for the record

Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack, "Evidence: Syrian Rebels used Chemical Weapons (not Assad)" (Walid Shoebat, August 27, 2013). How does our rush to military action in Syria make any sense?

Background: Raymond Ibrahim, "The Muslim Brotherhood: Origins, Efficacy, and Reach" (Raymond Ibrahim). How does our administration's erstwhile cooperation and support of the Muslim Brotherhood make any sense?

[Hat tip to LS]

More ironies: what do Obama and Ratzinger have in common?

They have both opposed devoted adherents to tradition:

Obama and his administration regard traditional Americans -- Tea Party zealots -- as a threat and have listed them among potential terrorist threats.

Cardinal Ratzinger, at least at one time, regarded Catholic traditionalists as a threat to be resisted.

In The Principles of Catholic Theology (Ger. 1982, Eng. 1987), Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
Was the Council a wrong road that we must now retrace if we are to save the Church? The voices of those who say that it is are becoming louder and their followers more numerous. Among the more obvious phenomena of the last years must be counted the increasing number of integralist [traditionalist] groups in which the desire for piety, for the sense of the mystery, is finding satisfaction. We must be on our guard against minimizing these movements. Without a doubt, they represent a sectarian zealotry that is the antithesis of Catholicity. We can not resist them too firmly.
[Hat tip to LS]

Monday, August 26, 2013

American Anti-Americanism, Catholic Anti-Catholicism?

I recently read a bit of an online article by Maureen Scott. One sentence -- a question she asked -- made me think: "Have we ever heard Obama speak lovingly of the U.S. or its people, with deep appreciation and genuine respect for our history, our customs, our sufferings and our blessings?" she asked.

This question may deserve some pondering in its own right -- particularly the increasing anti-Americanism of Americans, and the wholesale disdain for America and its traditions that we see throughout the country, from the highest political offices down to popular culture. But it also got me thinking about something else.

One could just as well ask: "How often have we head our pope, bishops, and priests, or rank-and-file Catholics, speak lovingly of Mother Church, with deep appreciation and genuine respect for our history, our traditions, our customs, our sufferings and our blessings?"

Now here is an irony every bit as deep as that of American anti-Americanism, namely, Catholic anti-Catholicism.

One of the first puzzles I faced upon being received into the Church on that blessed Holy Week exactly twenty years ago, was the bizarre spectacle of Catholics who despised their own traditions. What was more, they often seemed to despise these traditions in direct proportion to their ignorance of them. It was the Church's historical credentials that first commended themselves to my mind, just as it was her traditional devotions that first commended themselves to my heart. How then could Catholics despise their own historical credentials and religious traditions? I was intrigued and perplexed by the perverse irony of it.

While it may have been a long time coming, there is something deeply twisted about the turn our society took some half-century ago in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Even in the most superficial terms of popular culture there is something of this to be found, I think, in the euphemisms, memes, and metaphors we hear used in common speech these days.

When a pianist is exceptionally good, someone may remark, "He plays a WICKED piano." When someone wants to describe himself as very good at something, he may say, with a grin, "Hey, I'm BAD, man!" When some vulgar philistine sees an attractive woman, he may say "She's the SH__!" What's up with this? Since when did it become uncool to describe anything as "good," "true," or "beautiful"?

But back to the Americans and Catholics. It may be easy enough to dismiss American anti-Americanism by observing that this set of Americans has broken faith with the principles of the American founding fathers, that it represents a post-modern and post-Christian people.

But what about Catholic anti-Catholics? What can we say of them?

Sedia occupata: Throne of St. Peter vacated by Pope Francis occupied subsequently by Argentine soccer star

Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi, known as el Pocho or the Chubby One, seated in the Papal Chair in the photo above, is surrounded by his jubilant team mates.

Two accounts: one by David Werling, "El Poncho, The Pope's Chair, and the Church as 'Servant to the World'" (Ars Orandi, August 24, 2013); and New Catholic, "Sedia occupata" (Rorate Caeli, August 23, 2013).

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Sacred Heart Major Seminary to offer workshop on the Extraordinary Form liturgy in October

Fr. Dan Jones, Professor of Patristics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, announced on August 23, 2013 that the Seminary has invited the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius of Chicago (pictured above with Cardinal George) to offer a workshop on celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Fr. Jones said that the Canons Regular have been invited because they have a particular charism for the restoration of the sacred in the Latin rite and "an expertise both in celebration of the EF and in the training of others to celebrate it." (See their Sancta Missa Workshops site for details; and as Fr. Jones suggests, note that a certain Archbishop of Seattle -- and former bishop of Marquette, Michigan, is featured on their home page!)

The workshop will be held at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Thursday Oct. 10th - Sunday Oct. 13th, and that seminarians in their third and fourth years of Theology at the Seminary (T3 and T4), as well as the priest faculty from the Seminary and priests serving in the Archdiocese of Detroit are invited to participate.

Exact figures on the cost are not yet available, and may depend on the number of participants, but Fr. Jones offers an estimate of $250, which will cover a package of books and DVD's to be provided in advance of the workshop (advance study of the materials is recommended in preparation as a great help for benefiting maximally from the workshop).

The workshop reportedly will include both plenary sessions addressing all participants together, as well as breakout sessions in which the Canons will work with smaller groups at the chapel's side altars practicing the celebration of the Mass.

Further information will be forthcoming. Once plans have solidified, those interested will be given definite figures on the cost.

For further inquiries please contact Mrs. Sandra Aceval at the Office of Clergy by Email or by calling (313) 596-7151. Seminarians will be informed whom to contact internally.

[Hat tip to the enthusiastic seminarians of SHMS]

"The Elite Project of Gay Marriage"

R.R. Reno writes, in "On the Square" (First Things, August 26, 2013), that same-sex marriage is eminently a bourgeois project that aims to enshrine libertinism as a national way of life.

[Hat tip to JM]

Priest as "bartender"?

The eminent sociologist, Peter Berger, in "Cardinal Newman and the Progressive View of the World" (The American Interest, August 21, 2013), after discussing the conservatism of Newman both before and after he swam the Tiber, turns his attention to the Church so passionately embraced by him, and then what happened to it after the Council:
But I cannot help recalling a conversation I had some years after the Council with a very Catholic Italian whom I knew at this time. He was terribly shocked, to the point where he didn’t want to go to church any more. He didn’t like the linguistic change, from the majestic Latin to the colloquial language he uses for the ordinary business of life. After all, he thought, the miracle of the Mass is supposed to take us out of the concerns and troubles of this life to an anticipation of the glory of the life to come. But he was most shocked by the way the officiating priest was now positioned—no longer facing the altar with his back to the congregation—but now standing behind the altar, facing the congregation. His first (very unfortunate) association was with a bartender standing behind the bar, preparing the drinks and cleaning the glasses. He admitted that this association was unfair. But then he added that turning the priest around had a much more profound symbolic meaning: The old position made it very clear that the priest was standing before God, who was believed to be present in the elements of wine and bread on the altar, but who was definitely not standing in the congregation. The new position suggested that what was worshipped did not transcend the gathered assembly, but was identical with the latter. In other words, what was happening now was a group of people worshipping themselves. Did the liturgical reformers intend this? Of course not. How many Catholics reacted as my Italian friend did? I don’t know. If I were Catholic, I would worry about it.
[Hat tip to JM]

Why does Pope Francis want people to call him "tu"?

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, "With the use of one word, Pope Francis is signalling to the Vatican insiders that their day is over" (Catholic Herald-UK, August 23, 2013):
... “He said to me, do you think the Apostles would have used the polite form with Christ? “Would they have called him your excellency? They were friends, just as you and I are now, and with friends I’m accustomed to using ‘tu’.” Where to begin to unpack this? What this remark implies is that the way Christians should relate should take as its template the relationship between Christ and his disciples, a relationship of love not power. It implies that much of what goes on in the Vatican (where the polite form is de rigeur) is based on the worldly power template, and needs to change. People in the Vatican will be horrified by this, for they will see it, quite rightly, as an attack on the entire modus operandi of the Papal court and the Roman Curia, all of which is based on a rigid if unwritten pecking order. With the use of one word, Pope Francis is signalling to the Vatican insiders that their day is over.
Indeed: where to begin to unpack this?

[Hat tip to Sir A. Sistrom]

Comparing the two lectionaries: "less Scripture in the heart"?

Fr. Ray Blake, "More on the two Lectionaries" (August 23, 2013): In response to the question whether there is any merit in the older form ("OF") lectionary, Fr. Blake explains that it was never abrogated and is still part of the Church's living tradition today. Then he writes:
There are obvious advantages to the new Lectionary, even if it is a product of a committee and let us leave aside the matter of that committee's theology. The most obvious is that it gives a much broader and richer selection of the scriptures is offered, the Old Testament for example is not really present in the Lections, in the older form. Weekdays have their own readings rather being a re-presentation of Sunday, again opening up more of the Bible, at least for those who attend weekday Masses. The problem is that the new Lectionary demands a deeper knowledge of scripture than most members of a congregation, or even most priests, actually have. Continuous readings are fine but miss a day with a feast or solemnity and there is a wait until the cycle reappears the year after next. Obscure readings from the Old Testament tend to go over people's heads unless the context is explained, for a highly mixed congregation the second reading and even the more difficult portions of St John's Gospel can exclude rather than include. In fact the new Lectionary more or less always demands the priest to give some explanation.... The scatter-gun approach of the OF Lectionary has meant that scripture is not memorised, as it was by previous generations. Most people's memories do not retain texts over a three year period (six if the cycle is interrupted by a transferred Holyday), and memories are confused by similar texts, for example stories that appear in all the Gospels, like the feeding stories, especially when the writers have different doctrinal reasons for presenting them. Perhaps one of our big problems as a Church is that Catholic doctrine seems so very complex and that it is not understood by most regular Mass attenders, I think this is the result of the imprecision of the Pauline Lectionary, and that in fact more scripture in the Liturgy often means less scripture in the heart.
[Hat tip to Sir A. Sistrom]

"Now that we're all haters ..." (reframing the marriage debate)

Reframing the marriage debate is necessary in order to communicate to a brainwashed culture and salvage what we can. Brian Brown offers a helpful discussion in "Now That We're All Haters" (The Witherspoon Institute, August 19, 2013), focusing on the rolls played by emotion, narratives, stories, metaphors, and memes in the debate. Quite good.

The piece plays off an article by Nathan Hitchen, "You've Been Framed: A New Primer for the Marriage Debate" (John Jay Institute)

[Hat tip to Fr. Dan Jones]

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Pope Francis and Tradition"

Interesting set of eight (8) observations and prognostications by John Vennari (August 8, 2013) in light of the Vatican's recent move on the Franciscans of the Immaculate that encroaches on their right to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

Here is #6:
It is always perilous to hazard a prediction, but I will advance the following: Granted, I do not think Pope Francis will take an active interest in suppressing the Old Mass. However, if he is asked to make a decision between a traditional group and a progressivist bishop, or progressivist cause, I think he will favor the progressivists every time. This was certainly the case during Vatican II and afterwards. When faced with a decision, Pope Paul VI usually favored the progressives over the conservatives. This is what I think we will see under Pope Francis; and it is in this manner that Tradition will be disfavored under this pontificate (along with Pope Francis’ “positive” actions to advance the new orientation). Read more >>

100th Anniversary of the Death of Pope St. Pius X

The Anniversary Year began on August 20, 2013, at 8:15pm. St. Pius, please pray for Our Lord's Church.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Into the desert: a pastor reflects on the decline and fall of his parish

A moving essay by Fr. Timothy Sauppé, pastor of St. Mary's church, Westville, Illinois, in the Diocese of Peoria: "My last ten burials/funerals with “Fr. Strangelove ... or How I stopped worrying and learned to love the (Demographic) Bomb, NOT!" (Bellarmine Forum, May 14, 2013):
A stranger came into the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In an incriminating huff he said, “I have been away from the area for fifteen years; where are the people? And now you are tearing down the school? I went there as a kid.” I put my hands up to quiet him from further talking and I calmly said, “Let me ask you a question: How many kids did you have?” He said, “Two.” Then I said, “So did everyone else. When you only have two kids per family there is no growth.” His demeanor changed, and then he dropped his head and said, “And they aren’t even going to Mass anymore.”

I never thought I would be asking that question, but since I had to close our parish school, I’ve grown bolder and I started to ask that question more often. When I came to my parish five years ago, the school was on its proverbial “last legs.” In its last two years we did everything we could to recruit more students, but eventually I had to face the fact that after 103 years of education the school was no longer viable. In one of the pre-closure brain-storming sessions with teachers, I was asked what to do to get more students. I replied, “Well, I know what to do, but it takes seven years.” The older teachers laughed, but the others needed me to state the obvious to the oblivious, viz. we need more babies. In my January 2010 letter to my bishop asking his permission to close our school, I wrote:
Bishop, it is with a heavy heart that I request this of you. As you know, priests were not ordained to be closing grade schools, but we were ordained to be Christ in the midst of sorrow and pain, which will be happening as we come to accept both your decision and the inevitable fact that St. Mary’s Grade School is no longer viable. The efficient cause is simple….no children. The first cause is the habitual contraception and sterilization mentality of a good portion of married Catholic Christians–in short the Culture of Death. The final cause is the closure of Catholic Schools and parishes. Bishop, we need your leadership to address the contraception/abortion/sterilization mentality in as forceful a way as soon as possible.
I, and St. Mary’s, closed the school that May 2010. Now three years later, I am razing the school building. It breaks my heart every time I go into this closed school. It is only 50 years old .... Read more >>
[Hat tip to Sir A. Sistrom]

Creative sacrilege: "fun campaign" for women's ordination

From The National Schismatic Reporter, via Fr. Z: "I am not making this up: There’s a fun new campaign for women’s ordination!" (WDTPRS, August 24, 2013).

Some TLM restrictions being lifted among Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

So reports Fr. Zuhlsdorf (August 24, 2013). The positive news:
First, the Apostolic Commisar granted permission to the friar who is chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate in Lanherne, England. Also, a permission was granted at the pilgrimage site at Campocavallo, Italy.

Also, a reliable source passed along to me (and I don’t have a way to verify this from a second source, so … take it as it is), that the restrictions on the use of the Usus Antiquior, established by the Congregation’s decree, were desired by Pope Francis to assure that:
  1. there is no compulsion to use the Usus Antiquior;
  2. this choice of the Usus Antiquior is not motivated by an ideological rejection of the Novus Ordo.
The Pope’s moves were not motivated by any animus against the Usus Antiquior. He is not against Benedict XVI’s legislation. Francis desires, once the above-mentioned conditions are verified, that permissions be granted to the friars who request to use also the Usus Antiquior. These points were made by the Holy Father to “a high-ranking Prelate in a recent personal conversation.”
Update: "Franciscans of the Immaculate -- Intervention Commissioner is interested in only one matter: the Traditional Mass" (Rorate Caeli, August 25, 2013): The questionnaire sent by the Commissioner designated in the Intervention of the Congregation for Religious shows that the only concern that animates the mind of Cardinal-Prefect João Braz de Aviz and Secretary Abp. Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, in this regard is the "Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite," both the Traditional Mass and the Traditional Breviary: "And, obviously, trying to find somewhere excuses to revert the legitimate decisions that, while fully preserving the "Ordinary Form" (the Paul VI Mass and Divine Office), favoured the Extraordinary Form inside the community."

A translation of the questionnaire is available at Rorate Caeli.

Fr. Houghton and priestly humility

A reader writes:
I recently read your blog topic concerning French priests who resisted the Great Renewal ("Catholic Tradtion in France Prior to the SSPX"). A reader responded by mentioning an English priest, Fr Bryan Houghton, who " who resigned his parish at the very moment the Mass was taken away from us." What a courageous thing to do!

I did a little research and found the following link:

which features an article about Fr Houghton. I won't go into it at length, but I will say that I found a quote with which I resonate profoundly. It is the very antithesis of the revolting manner in which most priests conduct themselves in the saying of the modern anti-liturgy:
The priest is barely a craftsman. Basically, he operates the altar like a plumber with his apprentice. Once the water is connected, the tap of Eternal Life opened, he leaves again carrying his tools.
A plumber: not Jay Leno, not a human resources corporate spokesman, not a clown at a child's birthday party, but a humble and anonymous craftsman!! That is exactly right!!

Also interesting in this article is the reason for his being refused episcopal election: "[I] criticised Teilhard de Chardin as heterodox."

This is what priests are supposed to be about: humble servants of God with brains and spines, not clowns of consolation. An article worth reading for sure.
[Hat tip to M.W.]

Former First Things editor now backs Same-Sex Marriage

Surprise, Surprise! Joseph Bottum, former First Things editor, has now come out in favor of Same-Sex "marriage." Is this surprising? I'll leave it to others to draw their own inferences.

Well, well, well. Here's the report: Mark Oppenheimer, "Conservative Catholic Now Backs Same-Sex Marriage" (August 23, 2013); and Joseph Bottum, "A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage" (Commonweal, August 23, 2013). As prolix as it is predictable. Sigh.

Related: Christopher Blosser, "Joseph Bottum's Catholic 'Case' for Same-Sex Marriage" (Against the Grain, August 28, 2013) -- a very detailed assessment.

A monument to the foundations of liberty

A lesson now pervasively lost, but worth remembering:

Never mind that Cameron is a pre-millenialist rapture-touting fundamentalist. Never mind that the monument is of Puritan inspiration. Never mind that the nation's founding was a collective Jeffersonian-Enlightenment-Masonic-Protestant compromise. There's a lesson in stone here, which a Catholic must admire for what it is: true liberty must be founded upon faith and morals and the rule of divine law.

[Hat tip to Roger Lessa]

Friday, August 23, 2013

Will Obama take out his brother with a drone?

Walid Shoebat, "Confirmed: Obama’s Brother In Bed With Terrorists" (Walid Shoebat, May 28, 2013). (Walid Shoebat is a former Muslim Mrotherhood member, and now a peace activist.)
It has been learned that the relationship between President Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik Obama and Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir is much closer than previously thought. Malik is the Executive Secretary of the Islamic Da’wa Organization (IDO) as reported by all major Saudi press, including Okaz.

How significant is this?

Very significant. The IDO has been created by the Sudanese Government, which is considered by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist state. This places Malik Obama in bed with terrorists and working as an official with a terrorist state.

We have the evidence to prove it – meetings, photos, et. al.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on seven counts relating to crimes against humanity. As such, Bashir is the head of a country that the U.S. State Department has identified as a State Sponsor of terrorism, a designation issued in 1993.

In 2010, Malik Obama attended the Islamic Da’wa Organization (IDO) conference in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. One of the objectives of the IDO is to spread Wahhabist Islam across the African continent.

Bashir wasn’t just present at the conference; he supervised it.
[Hat tip to L.S.]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Cairo the Lecture of Regensburg Is Relevant Again

From Sandro Magister (August 20, 2013): "Never has a pope been so clear and courageous in unveiling the roots of violence in Islam, before Benedict XVI. And not afterward, either. Two obligatory rereadings, to decipher the Egyptian crisis ..."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Evidence that Morsi Actually Lost the Egyptian Presidency

from Daniel Pipes (August 18, 2013). Did our administration's Egypt policy ever make sense?

[Hat tip to T. Kragh]

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ralph Martin: Church witnessing catastrophic collapse

My esteemed colleague, Ralph Martin, has published a significant article entitled "The Post-Christendom Sacramental Crisis: The Wisdom of Thomas Aquinas," [PDF] Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2013): 57-75.

In basic outline, Martin begins by tracing the erosion of Christian culture, accelarating today with "well-financed and carefully strategized campaigns to completely remove respect for the law of God from the culture," and the profound affect of all this on baptized Catholics. Then he turns to some striking statistics from a Midwestern Diocese, illustrating the precipitous collapse and ensuing "sacramental crisis."

His purpose is ultimately practical: he wants to tap the St. Thomas Aquinas' advice on how to deal with Catholics who approach the sacraments without being properly disposed. We "can no longer presume that those coming for the sacraments still understand what it means to be a Catholic or are even committed to such" or "even know who Christ is" or "that what they are seeking when they come for the sacraments is what [they] are intended to effect." And St. Thomas Aquinas, as you might expect, is big on "testing" adults before they are admitted to the sacraments, even stressing the importance of exorcisms.

All well and good. As I say, the article is well-worth reading. There is excellent advice here that would help bishops plug up some of the holes in the hulls of their sinking diocesan ships, certainly, provided they implemented St. Thomas' advice.

Nevertheless, I was forcibly struck by the table of statistics from the "Midwestern Diocese" offered on p. 59. The numbers are nothing short of catastrophic. The table shows that over the last decade (from 2000 to 2010):
  • Infant Baptisms have decreased 42.4% (from 16,294 to 9,544)
  • Adult Baptisms have decreased 51.2% (from 1,442 to 704)
  • Full Communion has decreased 43.6% (from 1,713 to 960)
  • Catholic Marriages decreased 45.3% (from 3,641 to 1,649)
This is in ten short years, folks. Some of us remember Y2K as though it were yesterday. What will the next decade bring?

Further, Martin cites sources showing that while "Hispanics now constitute nearly 40 percent of the total U.S. Catholic population (and more than 50 percent of the Catholic youth population), only 10 to 15 percent of the priests ordained each year are Hispanic" and "only 9 percent of the bishops are Hispanic." The growth of Church numbers in the West is "largely due to Hispanic immigration, not to growth through evangelization," and "the statistics about the outflow from the Catholic Church in second and third generation Hispanic Catholic immigrants are not encouraging."

Martin does not make the mistake of placing all the blame for this collapse on the secularization of culture. "Years of silence about those aspects of the gospel which the contemporary culture is hostile to -- the truths about sin, about heaven and hell, about the need for repentance, about the real meaning of discipleship, about the supreme value of knowing christ -- have contributed to the metamorphosis of Catholicism in the minds of many into a comforting religious ritual of indeterminate meaning."

He also cites what Cardinal Ratzinger called a "catastrophic collapse" of catechetics:
The new evangelization we need so urgently today is not to be attained with cleverly thought out ideas, however cunningly these are elaborated: the catastrophic failure of modern catechesis is all too obvious. It is only the interaction of a truth conclusive in itself with its proof in the life of this truth that can enable that particular evidence of the faith to be illuminated that the human heart awaits: it is only through this door that the Holy Spirit enters the world." (Joseph Ratzinger, The Yes of Jesus Christ, 1991, p. 35)
Martin cites the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs, CO, which has interviewed tens of thousands of Catholics and their pastors and shown that "even among the minority of Catholics who come to Church somewhat regularly, fewer than 10 percent could be considered 'intentional disciples' who have consciously made Christ the center of their lives."

Finally, Martin hits the nail on the head with the following observation he makes on a strange phenomenon that many of us have, I am certain, long found troubling:
Cardinal Ratzinger remarked on a strange phenomenon he observed in conjunction with the collapse of the Church in the Netherlands after Vatican II. He pointed out that by every statistical measure the Church in the Netherlands was collapsing and yet, strangely, at the same time an atmosphere of "general optimism" was prevalent that seemed blind to the actual situation.
I thought to myself: what would one say of a businessman whose accounts were completely in the red but who, instead of recognizing this evil, finding out its reasons, and courageously taking steps against it, wanted to commend himself to his creditors solely through optimism? What should one's attitude be to an optimism that was quite simply opposed to reality? (Ratzinger, Op. cit., pp. 30-40)
"In the United States, "official optimism" has been quite strong in the midst of radical decline. When the American bishops greeted Pope Benedict XVI on his pastoral visit, they spoke of our "vibrant" Church. Shortly before Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, Russell Shaw, a respected author and former spokesman for the American bishops, urged the American bishops to stop pretending everything was fine."
Enough said.

God's just judgment upon us

From the Prayer of Azariah [deuterocanonical text following Daniel 3:23 in Catholic Bibles]:
[6] For we have sinfully and lawlessly departed from thee,
and have sinned in all things and have not
obeyed thy commandments;
[7] we have not observed them or done them,
as thou hast commanded us that it might go well with us.
[8] So all that thou hast brought upon us,
and all that thou hast done to us,
thou hast done in true judgment.
[9] Thou hast given us into the hands of lawless
enemies, most hateful rebels,
and to an unjust king, the most wicked in all the world.
[10] And now we cannot open our mouths;
shame and disgrace have befallen thy servants and worshipers.
[Hat tip to Fr. Perrone's "Pastor's Descant" for August 18, 2013]

Treasures of Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral

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

Tridentine Community News (August 18, 2013):

In preparation for the upcoming Tridentine Mass at Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on Friday, August 30 at 7:00 PM, we explored the cathedral’s inventory of supplies. Most visitors to the cathedral are struck by the architectural changes installed in recent years. However, if you take a look beneath the surface, you’ll discover some amazing gems.

For many years, we have heard rumors of an impressive collection of historic vestments in storage at the cathedral. We can finally confirm those rumors...those vestments exist! There are solemn vestment sets, including dalmatic and tunicle for deacon and subdeacon, and matching humeral veils for the subdeacon to wear, in the liturgical colors of green, gold, red, black (without humeral veil), and rose. Yes, that rarest of rare sightings, a rose solemn vestment set, usable on only two days of the liturgical year.

The vestments are immaculately preserved, largely because they are not on hangers, but rather stored flat, in large, rotating drawers. Best of all, these aren’t just museum pieces – they’re still used. In fact, through the kind permission of Cathedral Rector Msgr. Michael LeFevre, the gold set was loaned to Windsor’s Assumption Church for use in today’s Solemn High Mass.

Vestments and vesting are apparently taken quite seriously at the cathedral: in the sacristy, the Latin prayer for washing hands is framed above the sink. High up on the wall is an enormous mural of the Tridentine vesting prayers which the priest prays before Mass. Why are the prayers so large? Most likely so that a large gathering of priests could pray them at roughly the same time.

Visitors’ eyes are drawn to the new pipe organ installed where the high altar used to be. Not to be overlooked is the historic Casavant organ installed in the choir loft. Unlike many pipe organs, this instrument is not ornamented with decorative pipes and woodwork; its workings are concealed behind the side walls of the loft. The sound emanates from grilles opening into the gallery. This very organ will be used for our August 30 Mass. We hope you can join us for the historic return of the Traditional Latin Mass to Detroit’s mother church.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 08/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. John Eudes, Confessor)
  • Tue. 08/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot & Doctor)
  • Sun. 08/25 12:00 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for August 18, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

"OREGON: Gov't official: those who resist 'gay' marriage must be 'rehabilitated'"

Premonitions of things to come ... from Fr. Z. (August 18, 2013):
During the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976 – the time when the greatest damage was being done in the name of the Spirit of Vatican II) people were bullied into rejection of the sì jiù, the Four “Olds”: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. The Four Olds were equated with monsters and demons, “cow ghosts and snake spirits”, that had to be purged.

The conforming hoards, taken up in a frenzy of fear and zeal, marched in the streets chanting slogans, pasting up posters, such as “Beat down the bad elements!”, “Beat down Jesus following!”, “Beat down the counter revolutionists!”.

Those who were perceived – usually through denunciation – to adhere to the Four Olds, counter-revolutionists, were seized. The lucky ones were forced into public self-criticism, humiliation, physical abuse and re-education. The less lucky were killed. Many “intellectuals” (just about any with more than a high school education) were sent to re-education camps in the country-side where they were “educated” by the purer proletariat through forced-labor and more self-criticism and abuse.

Re-education camps.

I read sometime today at the site of the National Organization for Marriage:

Oregon Official Says Bakers Who Support Traditional Marriage Need 'Rehabilitation.'

Despite the fact that Oregon bakers saw a huge boom in business after standing up for their belief in marriage (proving that many other Oregonians feel the same way), Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the state government’s goal is to “rehabilitate” them:

A lesbian couple filed a formal complaint against “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” in Portland after the owners – Aaron and Melissa Klein – declined on the basis of their Christian faith to provide services for a lesbian “wedding.”

“To say that this couple needs to be ‘rehabilitated’ for believing and practicing the values on which this nation was founded is entirely beyond the pale,” says [Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association].

“This sounds like Stalinist Russia or China under Mao, where those who thought for themselves were forced under government coercion into re-education camps. This is not the America that was given to us by our Founders.”

Matt Barber [vice president of Liberty Counsel Action] says the “rehabilitation” remark connotes some kind of ailment, mental illness or physical ailment. “You know, we rehabilitate criminals,” he explains. “Are they saying that Christianity is criminal here and we have to rehabilitate those who embrace the Christian sexual ethic? That’s what this official in Oregon is saying.”

Wildmon wonders what might follow if the bakery owners refuse to be “rehabilitated.” -One News Now

Please say a prayer for Archbishop Alex Sample, who has the heavy pastoral mandate in the Archdiocese of Portland.

Let’s be clear about something: we are not yet being truly persecuted, in the strong, physical sense. We are not in N. Korea or China. Our churches are not yet being systematically burned, as in Egypt. Our priests and bishops are not yet being hunted down and “disappeared”.

But the storm clouds are gathering. Soft-persecution is rising.

Pò sì jiù!

"It's official: the European Union hates Jesus Christ"

From ABC, in Spanish via Rorate Caeli (August 18, 2013):
The tiny principality of Andorra, between France and Spain, has as its co-princes the leader of France (currently, the President of the Republic) and the Bishop of Urgell, Catalonia, Spain.

Since the introduction of the Euro, being surrounded by two euro nations, the Principality, though not a member of the European Union, decided to adopt the currency - as the Vatican, Monaco, and San Marino also did. As these other small states, it can mint some coins.

One of its most celebrated artistic works, the Christ Pantocrator of the Romanesque church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada, had been chosen as one of the images of a new coin.

That was too much for the European Union and the European Central Bank, that ordered Christ removed from the coin. It could not even remain as an iconic work of art of an area that was historically poor and treasured its few artistic relics from the past - no, imagery that can be considered offensive to the "principle of neutrality in the matter of religious beliefs" is to be removed. It does not matter, apparently, that the image is in the heart of the self-understanding of a people, and of all peoples of Europe. Now, just a bell tower will remain; bell towers are probably not religious enough... The tiny nation that has a Bishop as one of its heads of State could not resist the orders, as Slovakia successfully did in defense of the sainthood of Saints Cyril and Methodius in a commemorative coin.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

After the Ball: How Sodom prevailed

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., "After the Ball--Why the Homosexual Movement Has Won" (, June 3, 2004). A good, concise review Kirk and Madsen's After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s (1989).

Kirk and Madsen's study is over two decades old. Mohler's review is nearly a decade old. High time to review. Today's "normal" was yesterday's "unthinkable." The "love that dare not speak its name" has become the "love that will not shut-the-hell-up."

[Hat tip to Janet Smith]

How to eat Ramen

The noble art of the noodle, demonstrated by an old Master:

... from the old classic movie "Tampopo"

Little Libertarians on the Prairie?

Was Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved children's series written as an anti-New Deal fable? The Wilder family papers suggest yes.

Christine Woodside, "Little Libertarians on the prairie" (Boston Globe, August 9, 2013):
A close examination of the Wilder family papers suggests that Wilder’s daughter did far more than transcribe her mother’s pioneer tales: She shaped them and turned them from recollections into American fables, changing details where necessary to suit her version of the story. And if those fables sound like a perfect expression of Libertarian ideas—maximum personal freedom and limited need for the government—that’s no accident. Lane, and to an extent her mother, were affronted by taxes, the New Deal, and what they saw as Americans’ growing reliance on Washington. Eventually, as Lane became increasingly antigovernment, she would pursue her politics more openly, writing a strident political treatise and playing an important if little-known role inspiring the movement that eventually coalesced into the Libertarian Party.

[Hat tip to C.B.]

A collection of Fr. Alexander Schmemann's hilarious asides

From Stephen Manning, who studied with the Eastern Orthdox professor Fr. Alexander Schmemann at St. Vladimir's Seminary, via Opus Publicum and The New Liturgical Movement, come thee following comments by the good doctor:
  • About RC celibate priesthood: “I remember when the Church of Rome was a great church. Now everybody wants to have orgasms. Orgasm. Ech. Who needs it?”
  • A filip on groovy late 60′s post Vatican II piety: “Crowds of nuns with guitars, singing to the bloody Heart of Jesus.”
  • “At the World Council of Churches, the serious ecumenical theologians wanted to discuss Apostolic Succession. They went around from left to right, starting with the Quakers, ending, of course, with the Orthodox. I was the spokesman and I said, We may not agree about what Apostolic Succession is, but we know we have it.”
  • “Whenever I perform a weddding, I look at the bride and groom –you can see the trouble ahead–, and then her family, then his family: the secrets, the fights about money, about status…I sometimes think that we don’t need a wedding here, we need an exorcism!”
  • Coming back from Geneva, I was admiring the purity of Calvinism: the white painted church, the polite congregation in the pews, the towering pulpit, the Bible, just the pure Word of God. But then I got nostalgic for the flesh-pots of Orthodoxy: the conspiracies, the paranoia, the competitions, the jealousies, the whole mess.” 
[Hat tip to C.B.]

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Downside of Rio

A former Evangelical Protestant emailed me, saying that he once participated in a mission trip and has sponsored his nephews on similar trips. "The tension between the impulses of disciple and tourist is real," he writes, "and so inescapable it significantly dulls pretensions to high moral purpose usually invoked for such things." He goes on to say that the same thing would likely apply to the Catholic WYD despite the "apoplectic attitudes" swirling in the its aftermath. WYD, he suggests, sounds "like a sanitized version of Woodstock with a 'Be Good!' Catholic sheen."

In light of that, he points to the following apropos article, suggesting that "the Pope, attuned as he is to earthly realities, would agree." See what you think:

Connor Malloy, "The Downside of Rio" (Catholic World Report, August 13, 2013). Excerpts:
“Who’s the church?”

“We are!”

“Where’s the church?”

“Right here!”



The “youth animator” at the center for English-speaking pilgrims in Rio de Janeiro was revving up the crowd of young adults ...

The animator hastily read an academic-sounding introduction for Cardinal O’Malley ....

Cardinal O’Malley’s catechesis, on “mission,” aimed at connecting the New Evangelization to the mission of all believers. It was an overwhelming, strong talk, and his plea to “avoid the trap of the hookup culture” received respectable applause. But for all of its insight and courageous urging to keep the faith amid a culture that doesn’t understand the moral foundations of the Church, I had the impression his talk did not have its desired effect on its audience. Before long, heads started dropping and eyelids started drooping. An audience distracted by its surroundings and coming down from the caffeinated enthusiasm of the animator seemed mostly inattentive to what O’Malley was saying.

It certainly was not the cardinal’s fault—the same thing had happened during Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s catechesis two days earlier. But this episode epitomized, for me, the World Youth Day conundrum. There may have been three million on Copacabana Beach for the closing Mass, but how many were engaged, actively participating? During WYD’s opening liturgy, led by Rio Archbishop Orani Tempesta four days earlier, hordes of pilgrims were wandering around, popping in at food tents and taking pictures of Copacabana Palace during the Consecration. It was beyond easy to take one’s eyes off the ball, and this identity crisis—between being a pilgrim and being a tourist—presented a constant struggle....

While it is undeniable that WYD has produced enthusiasm for and solidarity in the Faith among many of the young people who have attended the events over the last several decades, what I saw in Rio with these few examples was, perhaps, the realization of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s warning on April 18, 2005: “We are building towards a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists of one’s own ego and desires.” He doesn’t say “the world” is building towards it, but “we are.”

The dictatorship of relativism, the great disease agent of secularism, has penetrated the Church’s beloved young people. It blossomed after they ignobly ushered the prophetic Pope Benedict off stage right at his resignation while lavishing praise on Francis in a dangerous reboot of the John Paul superstar era—love the man, ignore the message. Could the ironic generation even grasp the irony?

To be sure, many have heeded the motto from WYD Madrid in 2011, proclaimed by Benedict XVI himself, “Do not be ashamed of the Lord!” Lives have certainly been altered. Anyone who claims the Church is on decline better remove Catholicism’s date of death from its tombstone. But the Church would be the first to say numbers don’t always tell the whole story, even though many proudly pointed to the pictures of three million on Copacabana as testimony.

“Swim against the tide” is how Pope Francis has said it, but each of us need to look precisely at that murky tide and admit we might not like what we see....
[Hat tip to JM]

50+ churches burned in Egypt

"Egypt: 2nd day of attacks on churchs" (, August 16, 2013): "By the end of a second day of attacks on Christian institutions, homes, and businesses in Egypt, Islamists had burned down over 50 churches, a Coptic Orthodox bishop told CNN."

"'Horrible': Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched" (CNN, August 16, 2013). [VIDEO]

Individual church listings by Fr. Z:

  1. Father Maximus Church
  1. St George Church | Burned | Source
  1. Good Shepherds Monastery |  Nuns attacked
  2. Angel Michael Church | Surrounded
  3. St George Coptic Orthodox Church | PhotoPhotoPhotoYouTube
  4. Al-Eslah Church| Burned | Source
  5. Adventist Church | Pastor and his wife kidnapped | Photo
  6. St Therese Church | Photo
  7. Apostles Church | Burning | Source
  8. Holy Revival Church | Burning | Source
  9. Qusiya Diocese | MCN
Beni Suef
  1. The Nuns School | Photo
  2. St George Church | al-Wasta
  1. St Fatima Basilica | Heliopolis | Attempted Attack
  2. Virgin Mary’s Church | Hakim Village | Burned | Photo
Fayoum (Five churches)
  1. St Mary Church | El Nazlah | Gallery
  2. St Damiana Church | Robbed and burned
  3. Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) Church | EgyNews (Arabic), Twitter
  4. Evangelical Church | al-Zorby Village | Looting and destruction
  5. Church of Joseph | Burned | Source
  6. Franciscan School | Burned | Source
  1. Diocese of St Paul | Burned | Source
  1. Father Antonios
  2. Atfeeh Bishopric
  1. Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram | Delga, Deir Mawas | Source
  2. St Mina Church | Abu Hilal Kebly, Beni Hilal | Sourcephoto
  3. Baptist Church | Beni Mazar | Source
  4. Monastery | Deir Mawas  | Ahram (Arabic)
  5. Delga Church | Attacked (Previously attacked with fire)
  6. The Jesuit Fathers Church | Abu Hilal district
  7. St Mark Church | Abu Hilal district
  8. St Joseph Nunnery | Photophoto
  9. Amir Tadros Church | Photophotophotoalbumphotophoto
  10. Evangelical Church | Photo
  11. Anba Moussa al-Aswad Church | Photo
  12. Apostles Church | Source
  1. St Mary’s Church | Attempted Burning
  1. St George Church |Photo albumphotophotovideosourcesourcevideo
  2. St Damiana | Attacked and burned | Source
  3. Virgin Mary | Attacked and burned | Source
  4. St Mark Church & Community Center
  5. Anba Abram Church | Destroyed and burned | Source
  1. St Saviours Anglican Church | Source
  2. Franciscan Church and School | Street 23 | Burned |Photophotosource/photosphotos
  3. Holy Shepherd Monastery and Hospital | Photo
  4. Good Shepherd Church (molotov cocktail thrown)- Relationship with Holy Shepherd Monastery unknown.
  5. Greek Orthodox Church | PhotoPhoto
Christian Institutions
  • House of Father Angelos (Pastor of Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram) | Delga, Minya | Burned | CBN NewsAhram (Arabic)
  • Properties and Markets of Copts | al-Gomhorreya Street, Assiut
  • Seventeen Coptic homes | Delga, Minya | Burned | SourceSource
  • YMCA | Minya| Burned | Photo
  • Coptic Homes | Qulta Street, Assiut | Attacked
  • Offices of the Evangelical Foundation & Oum al-Nour | Minya
  • Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels | Karnak and Cleopatra Streets, Luxor | Attacked and Looted
  • Dahabeya Nile Boat | Minya| Church-owned | Source,PhotoPhoto
  • Bible Society bookshop | Cairo | Burned | Photo
  • Bible Society | Fayoum | Photo
  • Bible Society | al-Gomohoreya Street, Assiut | PhotoPhoto
  • Ezbet el Nekhl | Sourcesourcesource (Arabic)
Update: "Communiqué of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt on ongoing events" (Rorate Caeli, August 17, 2013):
he Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt is following closely the unfortunate incidents occurring in our nation and confirms its strong support of the Egyptian law enforcement, the armed forces, and all civil Egyptian institutions in confronting violent armed organizations and dark malicious forces, both internal and external. The attacks on our government entities and peaceful churches are terrorizing our citizens both Coptic and Muslim. These actions stand against all religions, morality, and humanity. We value the stance of the friendly and loyal countries who understand the nature of these events. We strongly denounce the fallacies broadcasted by the western media and invite them to review the facts objectively regarding these bloody radical organizations and their affiliates instead of legitimizing them with global support and political protection while they attempt to spread devastation and destruction in our dear land. We request that the international and western media adhere to providing a comprehensive account of all events with truth, accuracy, and honesty. Our sincere condolences are extended to all the victims and martyrs of duty that gave their lives, and we pray for the recovery of all those injured and afflicted. We persevere in our strong national unity and repulse any attempts to polarize our great nation into a secular conflict. We absolutely reject even partial foreign interference in our internal affairs. As the hand of evil extends to burn, kill and destroy; the Hands of God are nearer to protect, strengthen, and build. We have full faith and confidence in the Divine intervention that will navigate the Egyptian people in this delicate time of our history to a better tomorrow and a brighter future filled with justice, peace, and democracy that the people of the Nile Valley so rightly deserve.
[Hat tip to Chris Garton-Zavesky]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Catholic Tradition in France Prior to the SSPX (1958-76)

The following was sent to me by a reader from California who writes: "Today I stumbled on the best account of Catholic tradition that I have ever read. 20 pages entitled "A Fertile Soil: Catholic Tradition in France prior to the SSPX (1958-76)" (AngelusOnline, February, 2008)." This is an illuminating account of the state of the Church in France prior to the Second Vatican Council, which was very likely a microcosm of the Church universal in significant ways. Very much worth reading, for the reader who wishes to have as fully informed a view of recent Church history as possible.

[Hat tip to Sir A. Sistrom]

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


From Southern Orders (August 13, 2013) -- but, first of all, pardon me a moment, while I ...


Sorry, now I'm okay. I think. It was just this photo. But I took a pill. I should be okay now.

Sandro Magister of the blog Chiesa makes available the up until now secret meditation given by 87 year old Cardinal Prosper Grech of Malta, given to the Cardinals prior to the Conclave being locked to non-voting cardinals. You can read the entire The Last Warning to the Pope's Electors message by pressing this sentence.
The entire speech is very good, but the following insights are perceptive but a bit conditioned by the age of the Cardinal and his vision of Vatican II formed I am sure in the 1960's and 70's.


The evil spirit of the world, the “mysterium iniquitatis" (2 Thes 2:7), constantly strives to infiltrate the Church. Moreover, let us not forget the warning of the prophets of ancient Israel not to seek alliances with Babylon or with Egypt, but to follow a pure policy "ex fide" trusting solely in God (cf. Is 30:1; 31:1-3; Hos 12:2) and in his covenant. Courage! Christ relieves our minds when he exclaims: "Have trust, I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33).


No less easy for the future pontiff will be the task of keeping unity in the Catholic Church itself. Between ultratraditionalist extremists and ultraprogressive extremists, between priests who rebel against obedience and those who do not recognize the signs of the times, there will always be the danger of minor schisms that not only damage the Church but also go against the will of God: unity at all costs. But unity does not mean uniformity. It is evident that this does not close the doors to the intra-ecclesial discussion present in the whole history of the Church. All are free to express their thoughts on the task of the Church, but they should be proposals in line with that "depositum fidei" which the pontiff together with all of the bishops has the task of guarding.

My final comments: I think, as Pope Francis has said over and over, that Satan is the root of all the problems of division in the Church since Vatican II and the loss of Catholic faith in so many parts of the world, the most severe in Western Europe. The post on the so-called liturgy in Amsterdam that I had earlier is in a nutshell the problem of the Church and her decline and apart from the fault being laid at the feet of Satan, the problem also must be laid at the feet of "ultraprogessives" not ultratraditionalists.

The progressives of the Church were in charge and favored by the hierarchy in the 1960's and 70's. The damage done to the Church by these progressives during this period cannot be underestimated and is the foundation of the crisis in the Church today.

I could well have been a victim of the progressive nonsense of the 1970's and to a certain extent I was but a willing victim. My Catholic faith was not shaken or destroyed but adjusted and it has been adjusted especially from 1985 onward.

But I can tell you that my seminary class that entered St.Mary Seminary in Baltimore in the fall of 1976 was a large class of almost 60 students. By the end of the first year, that number was reduced to about 30 and by the end of the second year to about 25 and by the time we were ordained deacons to about 23. Of those 23 only about 21 were ordained priests after having been ordained deacons. Of those 21, some 33 years later, only 10, including me are still active priests, some have died but the most have departed the priesthood.

The first year departures lost their faith given the deconstruction of it in some of the classes they took, in particular Sacred Scripture. The others were converted to the progressive point of view and the trajectory for that led to all kinds of problems later, not the least of which was fidelity to their life long promises of celibacy and obedience. They loss their Catholic faith, embraced something else that was progressive but it didn't last the test of time.

The ones most susceptible to the loss of their Catholic faith were those who were considered pre-Vatican II in thought and devotion. They were given the hardest time, challenged the most and more than likely the faculty was glad to see them go. To say that traditional minded Catholics, lay, religious or priests were the victims of over zealous progressives in charge of deconstructing the Catholic faith at that time is an understatement.

I'm all in favor of Vatican II properly understood and within the hermeneutic of "reform in continuity rather than rupture." But let's face it, the most deleterious effect upon the Church was what happened in the 1960's and 70's that at that time divided families and pushed so many people away from the Catholic Church or made them marginal, not sure what to believe and thus became like reeds swaying in the wind. That trickle down effect until this very day has created the crisis that the good Cardinal points out in his speech.

This wasn't caused though by ultra-traditionalsist who do not destroy the content of the faith or her spirituality and devotional life but rather questions authority, even that of a Council and some popes, about the advisability of making Vatican II into a super Council when its goals were more pastoral than dogmatic and thus far from being considered infallible. Pastoral decisions by a Council while authoritative, can be revisited, especially if what is recommended fails and leads to progressives being in charge and destroying the content of the Catholic faith, her spirituality and devotional life to say nothing of the way in which they desire the Liturgy to be celebrated in stark contrast to what was inherited.

One is not an ultratraditionalist if one desires the EF Mass or the OF Mass celebrated in an EF way. One is not the problem if one would like to "restore" Holy Communion received kneeling and on the tongue. This restoration will in fact help the Church to recover some sense of sanity and make the new evangelization, which has to start in our parishes first, not elsewhere, successful.

Our own bishop has lamented how little our young know about the Catholic faith. The cause of this finds its foundation in the 1970's and the way parishes are today which are far from ultra-traditional but in a malaise of progressiveness run a muck with a veneer of doing what the Church expects in the post-Vatican II era.

Name me one ultra-traditionalist parish that is ignorant of the Catholic faith. Name me any other parish where ignorance is palpable especially amongst the young and not so young and name the reasons why.
[Hat tip to T. Ferguson]