Friday, February 28, 2014

Politically incorrect saint: Patron of Handgunners

Get the whole story of this saint HERE, who was baptized in the same baptismal font as St. Francis of Assisi. But the deliciously politically incorrect part of the story is this:
In 1860, soldiers from Garibaldi entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy. They began to burn and pillage the town, terrorizing its inhabitants.

Possenti, with his seminary rector’s permission, walked into the center of town, unarmed, to face the terrorists. One of the soldiers was dragging off a young woman he intended to rape when he saw Possenti and made a snickering remark about such a young monk being all alone.

Possenti quickly grabbed the soldier’s revolver from his belt and ordered the marauder to release the woman. The startled soldier complied, as Possenti grabbed the revolver of another soldier who came by. Hearing the commotion, the rest of the soldiers came running in Possenti’s direction, determined to overcome the rebellious monk.

At that moment a small lizard ran across the road between Possenti and the soldiers. When the lizard briefly paused, Possenti took careful aim and struck the lizard with one shot. Turning his two handguns on the approaching soldiers, Possenti commanded them to drop their weapons. Having seen his handiwork with a pistol, the soldiers complied. Possenti ordered them to put out the fires they had set, and upon finishing, marched the whole lot out of town, ordering them never to return. The grateful townspeople escorted Possenti in triumphant procession back to the seminary, thereafter referring to him as “the Savior of Isola”.
And Fr. Z adds:
Thus, some consider him to be the patron of shooters and handgun users. For good reason. Thus endeth the lesson.

And I encourage all you women and men out there to get your concealed carry license and lots of training and practice. Ask St. Gabriel to help you in the process. Be ready for when Garibaldi’s troops show up.
“I want to break my own will into pieces, I want to do God’s Holy will, not my own. May the most adorable, most loveable, most perfect will of God always be done.” --St. Gabriel

"Thursday after Sexagesima: Solemn Feast of Reparation of Insults Offered to the Most Holy Sacrament"

Yesterday (Thursday after Sexagesima) was at one time the Solemn Feast of Reparation of Insults Offered to the Most Holy Sacrament, as Fr. Z notes. It's not on the calendar after 1962, although it may be a good idea to bring it back.

PDF HERE. Vultus Christi post HERE

"I heart Karls"

A First Things reader recently sent me this remark by Editor in Chief, R. R. Reno:
"Closely related was my overconfident view, expressed in “Rahner the Restorationist,” that Karl Rahner is passé. He was the great muse of the decade or two after Vatican II. By my reckoning, the social conditions that made him so alluring—most importantly the nostalgia for an integral Christian culture—are no longer in place. But Pope Francis shows me mistaken. He talks very much like a Rahnerian, not the least when he treats unbelievers as “anonymous Christians,” a key concept in Rahner that allows one to baptize secular culture.
[Hat tip to G.N.]

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why the New Evangelization won't be like the Old

J. Budziszewski, "This Time Will Not Be the Same" (First Things, Marcy 2014):
God willing, the new evangelization will happen, but let us not imagine that this time will be like the first time. The old evangelization proclaimed the Good News among pagan, pre-Christian peoples to whom it came as something new. Nothing like that had been done before. But nothing like our task has been done before either.

Re-evangelizing is not evangelizing as though for the first time again; the very fact of past proclamation makes re-proclamation different. For we proclaim the Gospel to a neo-pagan, post-Christian people to whom it does not come as new. The old world had not yet felt the caress of grace; our world, once brushed, now flinches from its touch.

Is re-evangelization completely and radically different from evangelization? No. The same Christ knocks at the door of the same human heart, though a heart with a different history. Is it more difficult? In some ways. Easier? In some ways. But different.

Here is one great difference: The pagan made excuses for transgressing the moral law. By contrast, the neo-pagan pretends, when it suits him, that there is no morality, or perhaps that each of us has a morality of his own. Since they had the Law and the Prophets, it comes as no surprise that the Jews took morality for granted. But to a great degree, and despite their sordid transgressions, so did the pagans....

Related to that first great difference is another. The pagan wanted to be forgiven, but he did not know how to find absolution. To him the Gospel came as a message of release. But the neo-pagan does not want to hear that he needs to be forgiven, and so to him the Gospel comes as a message of guilt....

Not only was the pagan devoid of nostalgia for a Christian past, he was also unencumbered by the anger of guilt for rejecting it. The neo-pagan is susceptible to both nostalgia and the anger, and he may even feel both at once....

... If the pagan was at all inclined to admit that his nation had ever done wrong, he had no one else to blame. But the neo-pagan can blame his culture’s sins on Christianity. The trial of Galileo, the plunder of the American indigenes, the Spanish Inquisition—they were all the Christians’ fault.

Surely these things were gravely evil, though if neo-pagans were consistent, they would set the thousands killed by Christian inquisitions against the millions killed by atheistic inquisitions. Yet it is easy to see why they don’t. Christian offenses are easier to invoke, because the Church admits them, and they are also more scandalous, just because of the Gospel of love....

[T]he pagan knew he was not a Christian. By contrast, a certain kind of neo-pagan may think that he is one. This oddity is perhaps the most challenging difference between evangelization and re-evangelization. In the ancient world, the people who needed to be evangelized were outside the walls of the Church; today they include thousands who are inside but who think just like those who are outside. When the Gospel is proclaimed, they complain.

A pew is a difficult mission field. It is hard for the shepherds to bring home the sheep if they think they are already in the fold. But that is a story for another day.

Inside Edition investigates TV preachers living like rock stars

Some cold cash realities here. Pretty amazing, though we've seen this before. (This was apparently first aired in 2011.)

Pope Francis: a Bishop must reside in his diocese

New Catholic, "Pope Francis: 'Bishops, Enough with Congresses, Conferences and Travels! The Decrees of Trent must be obeyed: a Bishop must truly reside in his diocese.'" (Rorate Caeli, February, 27, 2014).

"ChurchMilitant.TV" says it will not engage in public criticism of the Pope

An interesting policy statement, given the fact that Michael Voris has been not in the least hesitant about criticizing the Church's bishops. Sufficiently interesting, in fact, that it has been called "CMTVs mystery manifesto" by Louie Verrecchio (Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II, February 26, 2014), who suspects that someone other than Voris authored the piece.

For the record: why the "1965 liturgy" is not an option

Joseph Shaw, "The Mass of 1965: back to the future? Why it is not an option" (Rorate Caeli, February 27, 2014):
One reason why many good-hearted people wanted a 'Reform of the Reform' is that some kind of reform was called for by the Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium ('SC'). Now that some of them have given up on the project of tinkering with the Novus Ordo, an alternative would seem to be going back to the 1962 Missal and using the Council's criteria to make the reform again. To undertake the Reform We Should Have Had. Fr Somerville-Knapmann suggests it might look like the transitional Missal of 1965. Fr Mark Kirby says very much the same thing with more detail.

The first thing to note is that this wasn't a new edition of the Missal, but just a set of provisional revisions made by the Instruction Inter Oecumenici. There was another lot in 1967, and then the new Missa Normativa came out in 1969. Inter Oecumenici says about itself that it authorizes or mandates that those measures that are practicable before revision of the liturgical books go into effect immediately....

EWTN interview with Abbot Philip Anderson of Our Lady of Clear Creek Monastery

Fr. Mitch Pacwa is a little hard to listen to, but the story of Clear Creek Monastery, about an hour-and-a-half drive out of Tulsa, is pretty interesting when you consider it's European roots, Benedictine charism, and Oklahoman setting.

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Secrets of the Vatican"? A response

A reader and long-time friend recently shared with me the following response he wrote to his non-Catholic mother who saw the documentary, "Secrets of the Vatican" (Frontline, Feb. 25, 2014), about Vatican corruption and queried him about it:

I didn't see the documentary, so I can't begin to comment on all of its claims.That said, some non-journalistic perspective may be helpful to you in understanding the situation as it actually exists.

1) Homosexual activity is, by most measures, described as occuring between people of the same sex.

2) Most of the crimes, unspeakable sins, too, were committed by men against boys. (This activity was, therefore "homosexual", regardless of the cause or excuse.) Yes, their behavior was bad, both morally and legally. No amount of "nuance" can or should change that. If they have confessed their sins to a priest and received absolution, they are forgiven in the eyes of God. We know this because each one of us has the same offer: confess your sins, be truly sorry for them, and receive a penance and absolution. It is possible, therefore, that these priests may go to heaven, (to quote Pope Francis, "Who am I to judge?") just as it is sure that if they aren't sorry and die with these (presumably) mortal sins on their souls, they will spend eternity in hell.

3) Since these actions were committed by men, and the victims were boys, one of several things could be true: a) homosexual behavior is a deformed, twisted expression of sexuality (because, as some people say, the reason they behave this way is that they have "repressed sexuality", and thus they act perversely; if they could marry and have "normal" sexuality, this would never have happened); b) homosexual actions must be approved by the Church, and there is, therefore, no victim, no crime, no sin, nothing to clean up and nothing to blame bishops with; c) in other cases of homosexual assault (if what these priests did was wrong, then the crimes were both sexual and assault) similar penalties should be sought, but no denomination or group of people who preaches less repressed sexuality should even have the problem.

4) There's an illusion being created by some folks in media outlets, that Pope Benedict and Pope Francis teach different doctrine on matters of sexuality. Good Pope Francis is "pastoral" and Bad Pope Benedict was "doctrinal". To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, "the nostrum if doctrinal then not pastoral is un- historical". Whatever people can say against Pope Benedict, it can't be said that he attempted to "cover up" or ignore the problem. Read his Stations of the Cross on the Good Friday before his election in 2005. Or, if you prefer, read accounts of his visit to this country. Most of the media were stunned that he kept bringing up the subject instead of being on his back foot by having the media raise the issue. When he said what they reported as "If someone uses a condom, this would be a sign of a step in the right direction", the reporting showed that it wanted the Pope to have said one thing, when in fact he had said something entirely different. (Using a condom when performing the evil these priests did wouldn't have changed the morality for the better!) When (IF) it happens, the real news will be "Media accurately report Church teaching and actions", but it will be a cold day in Hell before that happens on more than a microscopic level. I have my winter gear, just in case.

5) It is widely believed that the Vatican Bank has had book-keeping problems for years. It is (similarly-widely) believed that one reason for the book-keeping problems is active homosexuals in the Curia. In this sense, the Curia is the problem, but there's that homosexual problem again. I don't know about the actual state of the Vatican Bank, but I can believe there are "irregularities" there. When these problems exist, they don't exist because of people following the teaching of the Church, but because of disobedience to the teaching. The solution isn't changing the rules to allow what they did (or allegedly did) either in the Vatican Bank question or the pedophilia/pederasty one, but to remove those who failed to do their jobs in accord with the teaching of the Church. That, of course, requires bishops (and the Pope) to uphold and enforce not merely doctrine, but discipline -- but that gets us to Bad Pope Benedict again.......

In short, the solution is more of Papa Benedetto, not more un-hinged pastoral conduct. "Pastoral" conduct too often tells a sinner "I'm ok., you're ok., and what the pope says doesn't really matter anyway". If one tells this to divorced and remarried lay Catholics, can one expect clergy (including embezzlers and pedophiles) to want to hear anything else?

God bless,

Diabolical hatred directed toward a priest

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf reports:
This is also emblematic of the sort of mail I receive all the time. It also shows that there is a demonic side to the perversion of God’s plan and gifts.
Fr Z,

I know that we have our disagreements but I need to share this one with you.

Earlier today I spoke with a friend about what the future holds for priests given the situation gay activism. I pointed out that the day isn’t far off when we are served a notice of human rights violation for being unable to officiate at a same-gender “marriage.”

A self-described transvestite emailed me a few months ago and asked if he would be welcomed in our parish. I replied with what one of my colleagues described was a very “understanding, caring response.” (I can share this with you if you wish.)

Only tonight I offered him the following follow-up:

Hello ___,

I hope you are well. This is to follow-up on our previous conversation about your involvement at St _____’s Parish. I’ve been on the lookout for you to introduce yourself to me but I haven’t been able to find you.

How are you liking our parish? Is there anything I can do to assist your spiritual development?

Fr ____

This was his response (WARNING–obscene language):

Are you drunk, sicko get the f*** out of my inbox it’s midnight. You expect me to show up there after you told me I could face discrimination from you flock of subhuman morons? F*** you. You’re lucky you haven’t been served with a human rights notice. F****** Nazi c*** s***** f*****. You know you gotta be pretty f***** naive to believe the filthy b******* you spread. Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. Your f***** family too.

Master of theology master of F****** b*******. Must be proud.

Creepy pedopriest

I have to admit that this left me deeply disturbed. I’m beginning to seriously wonder if there might be a demonic element to segments of the sexual liberation movement, and now I think I have a glimpse of what people might be thinking when I get hostile looks while wearing my Roman collar in public.

Ask your readers to pray for us. Ugly persecution is coming.
It is here. More and worse are coming.

"Against Christian Hypocrisy" in markets and morality

Betsy Childs, "Against Christian Hypocrisy" (First Things, February 23, 2014):
In a column called “Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate,” Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt accuse Christians who refuse to provide goods and services for gay weddings of being hypocritical cherry pickers....
A Mennonite who owns an aluminum manufacturing plant receives a bid request from the Pentagon to supply the aluminum for a newly developed missile. Because of his commitment to pacifism, the Mennonite declines to submit a bid. He does not feel the need to investigate all of his clients to make sure they are using aluminum for good ends. However, because missiles are weapons of warfare, their purpose is essentially violent. To profit from the sale of metal to build missiles would violate the conscience of a pacifist. Would you call this Mennonite a hypocrite?
... Hypocritical Christians are those who forget that they are sinners in need of a savior. Apart from God’s grace we would be damned, and we are hypocrites if we refuse to call others from their sin to experience that same grace....
[Hat tip to G.N.]

"All governments sooner or later come to a certain 'dull irritation' with Christianity"

From a combox somewhere in cyberspace:
"Secular modernity has abolished not just religion or the scriptures as an objective guide to morality, but also any notion of God or metaphysics that argues against relativism and materialism. To the modern secularists, everything is politics and politics is everything.

"For you may be uninterested in politics, but politics is very interested in you: For many people, there are not two kingdoms, there is only one."
The less religious- and church-inclined people are, there more they look to other institutions to take care of identifiable needs of all sorts. Which makes a nice set-up for the following quotation from Frank Sheed, "A 2nd Thought on Religion and the Modern State," Sidelights on the Catholic Revival, 91:
"In his Ways and Crossways Paul Claudel states the essential problem: all governments sooner or later come to a certain 'dull irritation' with Christianity because Christians may be perfectly loyal yet cannot see them as really sovereign but only as overseers of material and therefore perishable interests: ' the neighborhood of eternity is dangerous for the perishable,' and the Christian lives in the neighborhood of eternity."
[Hat tip to JM]

So Jimmy Fallon used to love the Catholic Church?

Steve Skojec, "Bad liturgy is not a victimless crime. Just ask Jimmy Fallon" (Catholic Vote, February 26, 2014).

[Hat tip to JM]

"Against Heterosexuality: The Idea of Sexual Orientation is Artificial and Inhibits Christian Witness"

Michael W. Hannon, "Against Heterosexuality" (First Things, March, 2014):
Alasdair MacIntyre once quipped that “facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention.” Something similar can be said about sexual orientation: Heterosexuals, like typewriters and urinals (also, obviously, for gentlemen), were an invention of the 1860s. Contrary to our cultural preconceptions and the lies of what has come to be called “orientation essentialism,” “straight” and “gay” are not ageless absolutes. Sexual orientation is a conceptual scheme with a history, and a dark one at that. It is a history that began far more recently than most people know, and it is one that will likely end much sooner than most people think....

* * * * * * *
Imagine if those people who anticipated being most romantically satisfied by committed sexual exclusivity began identifying as “faithfuls,” while those who were usually most excited by the prospect of unbounded sexual promiscuity started identifying as “unfaithfuls.”

* * * * * * *

... Michel Foucault, an unexpected ally, details the pedigree of sexual orientation in his History of Sexuality. Whereas “sodomy” had long identified a class of actions, suddenly for the first time, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the term “homosexual” appeared alongside it. This European neologism was used in a way that would have struck previous generations as a plain category mistake, designating not actions, but people—and so also with its counterpart and foil “heterosexual.”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Russell Crowe's Noah and Genesis in Space and Time

Steven D. Greydanus, "Everybody chill out about the ‘Noah’ movie" (NRC, February 19, 2014) rushes to instruct: "Get a grip, people ..." Emmm... okay. So what's the problem? He writes:
  • Let’s begin by recognizing that most Christians are familiar with a strictly Sunday school version of the Noah story....
  • It has been recognized for some time that the early chapters of Genesis, i.e., Genesis 1–11 (the pre-Abrahamic primeval history), represent a literary form quite different from later, historical texts ... is not beyond the pale of Christian orthodoxy, and defined Catholic teaching in particular, to classify the Flood narrative in Genesis as divinely inspired mythology. ....
  • Biblical narratives, particularly in the Old Testament, don’t always neatly dovetail with developed Christian belief regarding God, angels and other spiritual realities. ....
  • Tensions between biblical imagination and developed Christian doctrine extend to varying approaches to imagining or picturing God's own attributes and character throughout the Old Testament.
  • The flood story, which has a rich, diverse history in ancient Near Eastern mythology, has been variously developed and glossed in Jewish tradition as well as Christian thought.
Okay, okay. That's enough. Call me a stick in the mud, but I'll take Francis A. Schaeffer's Genesis in Space and Time any day. "Demythologize" Genesis 1-11, and you've got Crème de New Age served up for your dinner entrée. More interesting, however, are the comments of our underground correspondent we keep on retainer, Guy Noir - Private Eye, who writes:
Fascinating commentary here. Also annoying in its predictability, and that from a consistently astute film critic at the NCR. I guess people can overreact, but he calls all the conjecture "pure garbage" and his only real defense is, "At this point, of course, very few people have seen Noah. I haven’t seen it myself, but I’m intrigued by what I’ve read. There’s a lot of room in the biblical story for interpretation and imagination, and anyone who’s been thinking about this story as long as Aronofsky has is likely to have some interesting insights into it."

You have got to be kidding me. Once again, people who try to maintain a faithful and traditional Catholic perspective are seen as a problem. People who may want to overturn traditions... interesting insights. I have read only a little bit about the movie, and it does sound, er, interesting, but... Really, how could any modern NOT mess up a story like that of Noah unless he or she had lots of Christian influence? The story is difficult enough for Christians! And what today more impacts peoples' long term ideas and impressions than the medium of film. "JFK" anyone?

This all goes back to one of my beefs with modern Catholics. The entire structure of Catholicism is built on an old-fashioned, traditional reading of the New Testament. The authority of the Pope comes from a literal reading of the Gospels and Tradition. But now, literal Scripture reading AND Tradition are challenged at every point, and the recourse is that the only thing binding is whatever a modern Pope says. Talk about circular reasoning that leaves us with a papal fan club. Hence, "I HEART PAPA ________________," but please, no hard saints of the Gospels or talk of Original Sin. The film critic here, unsurprisingly is studying for ordination, so I am certain he is being exposed to Biblical criticism and scholarship of a certain sort. I am not a Young or Old Earth Creationist. I have no idea how things actually played out. But I do know this: the allegorical approach to Scripture, the big push for "Myth," is pretty catastrophic. Just look at the result in Catholicism. I forget who said that the beginning of France's secularization and the flight from Catholicism was sparked by the debunking of Genesis. I believe it.

Alan Jacobs, a teacher of literature, incidentally, has this old piece worth quoting:
From one who belongs to a covenant community, then, the appropriation of the biblical narrative must be done by historical rather than what Kass would call philosophical means. Our task is not to find a conceptual vocabulary that will allow us to build analogical bridges between the biblical text and our experience; rather, we must understand that we dwell in the same history that the people of Israel relate in the Pentateuch, a history that even the Law itself is but a part of. (As David Damrosch has written, “In its presentation of the Law within this vision of the redemptive potential of exile, Leviticus is the very heart of pentateuchal narrative.”) Genesis is not analogous to our experience; it is our experience, in its historical aspect.
It is very, very easy to retreat to the "It's all a series of well-meant Myths." It's also very, very unsatisfactory. Everyone knows that if a foundation is seen as sketchy, it is quite difficult to build on. Genesis' earliest chapters remain an achilles heel of modern theology. But the only people convinced by teases like Ratzinger's In the Beginning are those that already are determined to believe faith and 'modern science' can be easily reconciled. As we are seeing again in the arena of sexuality, they simply can't. There is a primitive simplicity to parts of religion that erudite minds chaff at. Mabe the Noah movie will actually get some aspects of that right. But in that case, I imagine Steven Greydanus will probably after all have a bit of a problem with it!
[Hat tip to JM]

"Nixon goes to China: 'Pope Francis, you are the man to regularize the SSPX'"

In a post subsequently removed by EWTN's National Catholic Register minutes after it was posted by the author, a post now available on his personal website, Patrick Archbold, "Pope Francis and the SSPX: An Opportunity" (Creative Minority Report, February 25, 2014), writes, in his concluding paragraphs:
With the breakdown of discussion between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X at the end of the previous pontificate, the public mood during this first year of the current pontificate, and other internal events, traditional Catholics, both inside and outside the Church, have felt increasingly marginalized. Whether fair or true, I say without fear of contradiction that this is a prevailing sentiment.

This perception of marginalization has manifested itself in increasingly strident and frankly disrespectful rhetoric on the part of some traditionalists and their leaders.

I have great concern that without the all the generosity that faith allows by the leaders of the Church, that this separation, this wound on the Church, will become permanent. In fact, without such generosity, I fully expect it. Such permanent separation and feeling of marginalization will likely separate more souls than just those currently associated with the SSPX.

I have also come to believe that Pope Francis' is exactly the right Pope to do it. In his address to the evangelicals, he makes clear his real concern for unity.

So here is what I am asking. I ask the Pope to apply that wide generosity to the SSPX and to normalize relations and their standing within the Church. I am asking the Pope to do this even without the total agreement on the Second Vatican Council. Whatever their disagreements, surely this can be worked out over time with the SSPX firmly implanted in the Church. I think that the Church needs to be more generous toward unity than to insist upon dogmatic adherence to the interpretation of a non-dogmatic council. The issues are real, but they must be worked out with our brothers at home and not with a locked door.

Further, Pope Francis' commitment to the aims of the Second Vatican Council is unquestioned. Were he to be generous in such a way, nobody would ever interpret it to be a rejection of the Council. How could it be? This perception may not have been the case in the last pontificate. Pope Francis is uniquely suited to this magnanimous moment.

I believe this generosity is warranted and standard practice in the Church. We do not insist on religious orders that may have strayed even further in the other direction sign a copy of Pascendi Dominici Gregis before they can be called Catholic again. So please let us not insist on the corollary for the SSPX. Must we insist on more for a group that doctrinally would not have raised an eyebrow a mere fifty years ago? I pray not.

Give them canonical status and organizational structure that will protect them. Bring them home, for their sake and the sake of countless other souls. I truly believe that such generosity will be repaid seven-fold. Pope Benedict has done so much of the heavy lifting already, all that is required is just a little more.

Please Holy Father, let us not let this moment pass and this rift grow into a chasm. Make this generous offer and save the Church from further division. Do this so that none of your successors will ever say, "If only we had done more."
New Catholic comments (Rorate Caeli, February 26, 2014):
In our Quinquagesima Editorials, repeated more than once (Ecce Ascendimus Ierosolymam, 2006 and other years), we insisted that "this is the time" -- and by "the time" we meant not a specific moment, but, generally, the pontificate of Benedict XVI. We have always believed that, though negotiations are important to smooth details, only a generous and kind unilateral settlement by the Supreme Legislator could get things done -- that was the only way Summorum Pontificum was promulgated as well; if Pope Ratzinger had tried to negotiate with French and German Bishops, we would still be waiting for it... Well, Mr. Archbold is very optimistic in suggesting what is an unexpected outcome for the moment. Let us pray for the unity of the Church, and for peace inside the Fraternity of priests founded by Abp. Lefebvre.

Charity and the path up to Jerusalem and Calvary (cf. Epistle and Gospel for next Sunday, Quinquagesima): those are the only paths to salvation, peace, holiness, and unity, in the Church and in life everlasting.

*Update (0130 GMT): In an amazingly intolerant attitude, EWTN's National Catholic Register removed the post above minutes after it was posted by Patrick Archbold. This reminds us of the pure words of Benedict XVI exactly on this same affair, in a letter fully written by the Pope Emeritus personally:
Certainly, for some time now, and once again on this specific occasion, we have heard from some representatives of that community many unpleasant things – arrogance and presumptuousness, an obsession with one-sided positions, etc. Yet to tell the truth, I must add that I have also received a number of touching testimonials of gratitude which clearly showed an openness of heart. But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.
In this case, not the Pope Emeritus, but poor Pat Archbold. EWTN's National Catholic Register and their intolerance just proved Benedict XVI right - one more time! It cannot be that Pentecostals have full presence in their paper, and their own Catholic brothers and sisters (whose priests are in an irregular situation, but are still priests, celebrating Catholic sacraments every single day) do not. How can unity ever be achieved thus? Curiously enough, we are pretty confident that Francis would be the first to reject this demeaning level of servility and sycophancy.
[Hat tip to JM]

Hilarem familiam diligit Deus

Sometimes you just have to sit down and laugh. There's nothing so absolutely, insanely wonderful as a good Catholic family life. We received a belated Christmas newsletter (now re-edited as a Valentine's Day newsletter) from one of my sons. I was reading the letter aloud and had to stop, because my eyes had become so blurred from tears of laughter that I could not go on. Here are some bits of what I was reading about his own family of six sons, all named after one of the Church fathers (Ambrose, Augustine, Cyprian, Basil, Cyril, Clement):
  • "... And Cyprian goes to art class -- alone, since both Augustine and Ambrose have been withdrawn after decorating nearly every piece of art they produced, over a space of two years, with depictions of a zombie apocalypse."

  • "... Augustine (10) and Ambrose (8) are in the 5th and 3rd grade, respectively, and taking on a rapidly expanding curriculum under the ever-vigilant and never-blinking Eye of Sauron (i.e., their mother)."

  • "... Unfortunately, the six kids we have render us ineligible to resume foster care in the future (for utterly unintelligible reasons, the State of Kansas considers six children a large family!?) ..."

  • "... [Basil] also, quite earnestly, asked the other day if he could have his own socks, which no one else could share. No, Basil: you have to get them out of the 'sock bucket' like everyone else."
Why anyone would not want to have kids -- lots of them -- I find incomprehensible.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"When a person criticizes the Pope for this or that odd thing he may do or say, and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?"

When a number of readers solicited my thoughts on a recent piece written by Fr. Perrone in his weekly Pastor's Descant, in which he offers some brief reflections on "The key to understanding the atypical acts of Pope Francis" (Te Deum laudamus, February 22, 2014), I initially would have preferred to say nothing. But honest questions deserve honest answers, so I shall humbly and respectfully share a couple of thoughts, all in good faith.

The article linked above is not Fr. Perrone's original piece, but a post by Diane Korzeniewski on her elegantly-designed blog, typically featuring informative pieces promoting the goings on at the Assumption Grotto parish, where Fr. Perrone is our pastor. The first five paragraphs of the linked post are Korzeniewski's, not Fr. Perrone's. The Pastor's Descant (his weekly column) comes at the bottom, and the relevant passage, following his discussion of psychological motives (underscored by Korzeniewski's earlier reference to C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters), is this:
"Here I believe is a key to understanding the atypical papal acts of Pope Francis. He’s trying to teach the Church that charity has to be a truly human and Christian response to neighbor and not mere good talk or the writing of a check. God who is Love became man in Christ doing the works of love; so must a Christian act, in love. When people criticize the Pope for this or that odd thing he may do, failing to comprehend the example and lessons of charity he’s offering, one wonders about such a person’s spiritual life. Attacking another’s real or perceived faults can be but one other effective way to divert attention away from one’s own personal defects."
First, I agree with Fr. Perrone that we should always assume the good intentions of the Holy Father, and I likewise assume the same of Fr. Perrone (as I trust that he or Korzeniewski would assume of me or anyone else). At the same time, I agree with Louie Verrecchio when he worries that this particular reflection of Fr. Perrone's "is likely to be misunderstood in that it fails to properly distinguish between that which is objective and that which is subjective."

To consider the pope's words and deeds objectively "is simply a matter of viewing them in the light of authentic Catholic doctrine," which isn't a particularly difficult task for anyone with a good comprehension of the same.

Using the Holy Father’s recent video message to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries Conference as an example and considering the “atypical papal act” of the Roman Pontiff addressing Tony Palmer as “my brother bishop,” it isn’t very difficult to understand, from an objective standpoint, says Verrecchio, that the pope’s words cannot be taken as literally true. Rev. Copeland is not a "bishop" at all. He's not even a Catholic, although he's a Christian of some kind. It was probably intended just as a "nice," humble, "fraternal" thing to say. At face value, however, the Pope's words could easily be considered misleading. Objectively this much is beyond dispute.

"With that in mind," says Verrecchio, "one can indeed accept that the pope means well, or to use Fr. Perrone’s words, is 'trying to teach the Church that charity has to be a truly human and Christian response to neighbor,' while at the same time recognizing when his words and deeds are inconsistent with the truth that comes to us from God through His Holy Catholic Church."

Second, there is great virtue in avoiding an attitude of bitter criticism and in cultivating a disposition of cheerful meekness and submission to God's will and to His Church and her pastors. But there is also an equal and opposite danger that comes from the unenviable task of trying to correct others whom one feels may lack these virtues. Again Verrecchio gets at the issue here as well when he says that by failing to distinguish the objective from the subjective, Fr. Perrone's reflection may give the impression that he means to suggest that those who question or criticize the pope's confusing remarks are therefore "to be suspected of masking a spiritual deficiency."

Like Verrecchio, I seriously doubt this is what Fr. Perrone intended to convey. Even so, Verrecchio worries that "any number of people will read his words precisely in this way, and some will perhaps even use them as justification for laying false claim to the moral high ground." This is a very real danger, because all ad hominem arguments are logical fallacies and can backfire: those endeavouring to "correct" the pope's critics can then be regarded, in turn, as tacitly bearing the same critical attitudes they seek to correct in others.

With that, permit me to conclude by noting that I hold Fr. Perrone in as high regard as I have held any pastor. In fact, at the risk of embarrassing all of us, I would say, despite this little quibble, that he may come as close as it is humanly possible to embodying, in the (adapted) words of St. Anselm, "that Pastor than which none greater can be conceived."

[In interests of full disclosure, I cannot take credit for the title of this post, which comes from a quick-witted correspondent and respected fellow-blogger.]

"Devastating Arguments Against Christianity"

(Courtesy of the Internet) Worth a visit: HERE

A message about this pre-Lenten season from the Latin Mass Society

Septuagesima from LMS on Vimeo.

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Pope Francis and Michael Voris agree about the Church of nice

Pope Francis made an excellent point in his homily today at his Mass with the new cardinals at the Vatican Basilica, when he said: "My brother Cardinals, Jesus did not come to teach us good manners, how to behave well at the table!" In this respect, his theme dovetails nicely with that of Michael Voris, who, over the last year, has been harping about "the church of nice." [Via Rorate]

My own version of this is to talk about "Care Bear Theology." That is, if the Gospel can be reduced to the saccharine message of the Care Bear care-a-lot niceness, who needs Jesus? The words of Pope Francis are even more blunt: if the purpose of Jesus was merely to come and teach us good manners, he said, "he would not have had to come down from heaven and die on the Cross."

This simple but important point goes back to a misunderstanding about the Person and work of Christ that was widespread when I was in college during the era of the Vietnam War, peace protests, and "flower children." There was a widely-accepted conceit that Jesus was primarily a role model, a guru who had come to set an example for us. From John Howard Yoder's scholarly book, The Politics of Jesus, to folk-song-singing and pot-smoking Jesus Freaks, there was the idea that Jesus had come to help us learn to get along more peaceably, to be kinder and gentler, to love our enemies, forgive others, live simply.

As important as these things unquestionably are, to suppose that this was the essential point of Jesus' earthly ministry is to miss entirely the basic point of His Incarnation: Jesus came, not primarily to be our example or even to teach us, but to do for us something that we cannot do for ourselves -- namely, to die for us and atone for our sins.

[Hat tip to New Catholic]

Benedictine Prior: "Life is short ... I could have better spent my time humbly carrying out the traditional liturgy"

The Benedictine Prior of Silverstream Priory, in County Meath, Ireland, Dom Mark Kirby, in "Home from the Liturgical Thirty Years War" (Vultus Christi, February 23, 2014 via Rorate), writes:
After having devoted nearly forty years to a worthy “reform of the reform”; after having taught and defended the Novus Ordo Missae to the best of my ability; after having composed — to a certain acclaim, even from a dean of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Liturgy — an entire monastic antiphonal in modal plainchant for the French liturgical texts; after having composed hundreds of plainchant settings for the Proper of the Mass in the vernacular; after having fought mightily for the restoration of the Proper Chants of the Mass; after having argued to the point of exhaustion for an intelligent obedience to the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani; after having poured myself out in lectures and in preaching to priests, seminarians, and religious, I am obliged to conclude that I could have better spent my time and my energy humbly carrying out the traditional liturgy such as I discovered it — and such as I so loved it — in the joy of my youth. I say this not with bitterness but with the seasoned resignation of a weary veteran lately come home from an honourable defeat in the liturgical Thirty Years War.

I respect those priests and layfolk who continue to believe in “the reform of the reform”. I honour their devotion and perseverance but, from where I stand and at this point in my life, I think their energy misplaced. Life is short. I can no longer advise others to devote the most productive years of their life to patching up a building that was, manifestly, put up with haste during a boom in frenzied construction; it has shifting foundations, poor insulation, defective fixtures, and a leaky roof. Right next door, there is another old house, comely, solidly built, and in good repair. It may need a minor adjustment here or there, but it is a house in which one feels at home and in which it is good to live, and it is there that I choose to live out my days. If others choose to live in the “fix–up” next door, I can only wish them well, confident that we can live as good neighbours all the same, with frequent chats over the fence in the back garden, exchanging insights, and perhaps even learning something from one another.

One the things I have learned over the past forty years, and this amidst the taedium of much dura et aspera, is that monks (and nuns) who profess the contemplative life gained nothing from changing the forms, content, and language of the sacred liturgy. Liturgical change swept through monasteries like a hurricane, leaving the most pitiful destruction in its wake. Did the so–called liturgical renewal in monasteries give rise to an increase in vocations? Did it generate a more generous commitment to the touchstones of sound monastic observance? Did it foster a greater zeal for the Opus Dei? Few monasteries have recovered from the ensuing decades of liturgical unrest....

I shall never forget the anguish generated by trying to invent new psalm tones suited to the vernacular, all the while clinging desperately in my heart to the chants of the Antiphonale Monasticum that had taken root there. Memories of the traditional liturgy persisted, through the winter of my discontent, like the lovely blossoms of the crocus, in trying to pierce the frozen crust that had been laid over my hortus conclusus. The “bare ruin’d choirs” of so many abbeys today attest, sadly, to the inward wreckage wrought by liturgical innovation, even when carried out, as it usually was, with the best intentions, and out of a skewed notion of uncritical obedience to what was misrepresented as “the mind of the Church”. [emphasis by New Catholic]

Extraordinary Community News: The Juventútem Juggernaut

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

Tridentine Community News (February 23, 2014):
St. Benedict Web Site Updates

Updates have been made to the St. Benedict Tridentine Community web site, First, the long-ignored Music page has been updated with the schedule of musical selections through Easter Sunday, 2014. Astute readers will note that our choir will be adding numerous new works to their repertoire in coming weeks. Thanks to Wassim Sarweh for the advance planning that has made this possible. Many Latin Mass communities across the globe rightly promote their music programs on their web sites as a way to grow their attendance, as we ought, as well.

Second, to meet the needs of iPhone, iPad, and certain Android users, the slide shows have been rewritten to use HTML5 animation instead of the previously-used Flash. Flash has been falling out of favor as a technology and is not supported in many mobile web browsers. The slide show on the home page has also been updated with photos from Bishop Fabbro’s visit in November.

This week the site is also being moved to a more stable web server. With the ever-increasing popularity of Michel Ozorak’s chant sheets, even momentary downtime of the web site has proven to be an inconvenience for the numerous clergy around the world who rely on its content to be available 24/7.

Additional updates to the site are planned in coming months. Any time that major changes are made, problems are possible; kindly send an e-mail to the address at the bottom of this page if you are experiencing any difficulties with the site, and we will do our best to remedy them.

Catholic Register Article: “Old Fashioned Worship Attracts Youth”

Toronto’s Catholic Register newspaper ran an article written by a 21-year old reporter about the appeal of the Tridentine, Byzantine, and Anglican Ordinariate Liturgies to the young. This is a theme we have touched on many times in the past; it is good to see increasing evidence to help combat the myth which persists in certain circles that the Extraordinary Form is something of interest only to the older generation. The article may be read at

The Juventútem Juggernaut

While we’re on the subject of the young, Juventútem Michigan posted the following account on their web site this past week. In less than two years, eleven chapters of this international organization of young adults devoted to the Extraordinary Form have been formed in the U.S. There are also similar organizations such as the Sursum Corda network of young adults groups at parishes served by priests of the Institute of Christ the King. The future of the Tridentine Mass is indeed assured with such dedicated young people promoting and supporting the Church’s classic form of worship.

“Beginning with Juventutem Michigan in March 2012, the Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem (FIJ) has been blessed with the affiliation of several young adult groups around the United States of America.  They are presented here in order of affiliation: Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary Institutes Mandatory Chant Classes for Seminarians

The following announcement from Mundelein Seminary’s Liturgical Institute speaks for itself:
“For the first time since 1968 Mundelein Seminary has a required chant curriculum for seminarians, taught by Liturgical Institute student and CHANT GURU, editor of Simple English Propers and the Lumen Christi Missal, Adam Bartlett. Fr. Martis, the Director of the Liturgical Institute is back in school, having fun learning systematically about Gregorian and Liturgical Chant.”
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 02/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Matthias, Apostle)
  • Tue. 02/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (Feria) – Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass
  • Fri. 02/28 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Phillip, Battle Creek, Michigan (Votive Mass for Pilgrims and Travelers) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for February 23, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week in the Metro Detroit Area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Pope Francis and the Future of Charismatic Christianity"

Dale M. Coulter, "Pope Francis and the Future of Charismatic Christianity" (First Things, February 20, 2014):
A recent meeting of ministers associated with the prosperity-preaching Word of Faith branch of charismatic Christianity received a surprise announcement: Pope Francis had sent a message to the conference. It was something of a historic moment.

Beginning around the thirty-minute mark of the above video, Francis speaks in Italian and English subtitles are provided at the bottom. As part of his greeting, the pope chose to highlight two themes, his joy at their desire to worship together in prayer to the Father for the Spirit to come and his yearning for Christians to become one again.
And the Pope asked these Protestant charismatics to pray for him; and so, led by Kenneth Copeland, speaking in tongues, they did.

And this, by the way, is not just a kind of fashion, a passing fad. Catholic traditionalists are just so ... yesterday.

[Hat tip to JM: Advisory: Rules 7-9]

"Pink Money"

Just where does all the money advancing the gay agenda come from?

The administration, green eggs, and ham

iMass, sort of ...

Amy Welborn, "The Mass Explained" (Charlotte was Both, February 18, 2014):
"The Mass Explained is unlike any other Catholic app available."
"Interesting item. I have found Amy Welborn to be a very steady source, so her recommendation carries some weight. At one point a Latin Masser will most certainly print a verdict on it ... I hope it is a similarly good one." -- G.N.

[Hat tip to JM]

Fr. Schall on mission, dialogue, and difficulties - esp. with Islam

How religious freedom went from the freedom to practice and explain the Faith to permission to merely do what the State allows

Pope Francis leads a meeting with religious leaders at the Vatican March 20. 2013. The pope met with the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain delegations that had come to the Vatican for his inauguration. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano vi a Reuters)

James V. Schall, S.J., "Mission, Dialogue, and Difficulties" (CWR, February 18, 2014):
A tension exists between the Church’s recent and urgent commitment to mission and its parallel emphasis on dialogue as a practical way to deal with differences in religions and philosophies....

Pope Francis recently, after pointing to the widespread persecution many Christians now experience in Muslim lands, suggested that Muslims are free in western states to practice their religion, so why do they not influence their countries of origin to allow such freedom of religion to non-Muslims. Part of the problem, however, is that the Muslims, who do settle in states with some freedom of religion, as soon as they can, form their own enclaves in which they seek to make the practice of Muslim law necessary. There really is not much of a conversion to the western notion of freedom of religion. What we find is the use of western freedom to set up the religious system that prevails in Muslim states. Given the population increase of Muslim people within these lands, they have a real hope of being able to set up Muslim cities or countries in these formerly unconquered lands.

... The lesson I draw from these reflections is that any missionary effort must take more seriously the duty of truth. We have been used to minimizing our relationships so that what we see and grant is what we have in common. We leave out what makes us distinct. But what is distinct is what we are charged to make known. In the case of Islam, it is not sufficient to try to say that we all have the same God in common when all the evidence, as Rémi Brague has noted, is that the Gods depicted in Scripture and in the Koran are very different. We know from Benedict’s experience at Regensburg that stating the truth about Islam, even in academia, can cause Christians to be killed in retaliation. When this happens, it is often the one who brought up the truth who is blamed, not the killers. Read more >>
In the com box is this revealing comment:
Do you know how rare you are Fr. Schall as a member of the Catholic Clergy for saying "The lesson I draw from these reflections is that any missionary effort must take more seriously the duty of truth. We have been used to minimizing our relationships so that what we see and grant is what we have in common. We leave out what makes us distinct. But what is distinct is what we are charged to make known. In the case of Islam, it is not sufficient to try to say that we all have the same God in common when all the evidence, as Rémi Brague has noted, is that the Gods depicted in Scripture and in the Koran are very different." We Catholics walk a thin line: what you say is true but it appears the Pope is wanting to focus in on encouraging relationships with people "of good will" so there is a real tension (in my opinion) between your mentioned-above 'new evangelisation' and the low key version being put forward in other quarters. If I am confused, it is not for want of trying to find clarity.
[Hat tip to JM]

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Murray / Neuhaus / Weigel vs Schindler / MacIntyre / Rowland

Christopher Blosser, "Recent Articles on Religion, Liberty, Catholicism, and Liberalism" (Against the Grain, February 13, 2014):
A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching, by Patrick J. Deneen. The American Conservative February 6, 2004. "The most interesting Roman split is over liberal democracy itself."
This and a lot, lot more on the debate between:
  • Illiberal Catholicism, by John Zmirack. Aleteia. 12/31/13. "Catholics used to be open to the lessons of freedom from the American experience. Are we forgetting those lessons?"
  • Unsustainable Liberalism, by Patrick J. Deneen. First Things
  • Murry's Mistake, by Michael Baxter. America 09/23/13. "The political divisions a theologian failed to foresee."
... all with a lot of links to articles and posts offering reactions and feedback. Read more >>

Related: "Editorial Note: After 'reactionary', 'illiberal'..." (Rorate Caeli, January 4, 2014).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"What if Francis is but Benedict with his Roman collar unbuttoned and a few glasses of wine in his belly?"

Elliot Bougis, "Beware sustained exposure to ambiguidium..." (FideCogitActio, February 17, 2014):
What if the most natural reading of Pope Francis really is “through Benedict”? What if Francis is but Benedict with his Roman collar unbuttoned and a few glasses of wine in his belly? To refuse to admit that Francis is very much cut from the same cloth as Benedict -- to ignore Benedict’s clay feet on account of his red loafers, as it were–, is but to foster under a different guise the dominant problem in the Church today: soft ultramontanism and clericalism. It is because Benedict was in many ways the best friend of tradition the papacy has enjoyed in several decades that I was sad to see him resign. And while he was given to the same ecumenical excesses and liturgical inconsistencies as characterized Vatican II, at least he was nowhere near as self-indulgent and crass as Francis is in the project of Catholic self-loathing, all of which makes me doubly nostalgic for Benedatzinger, warts and all.
[Hat tip to JM]


Our underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, may have just blown a gasket. Deeply involved in communications media, he saw the book jacket above and wired me the following complaint:
Really, even were this guy Pius XII or Cardinal Merry del Val, or Pope von Hilderbrand for that matter, conservative Me would have the same observation here. The Pope's actual sanctity is beside the point.

Does the Catholic Press and the Catholic Columnist Corps not realize how saccharinely sacred and plain over-the-top all the slavish papal veneration has become?

A jacket like this is beyond comical in its attempt to capture self-effacement. Might as well saint all future popes before they even do anything. A far cry from Kenneth Woodward's observation in his Making Saints that it is actually harder for popes than others to make it to sainthood -- though at the rate we are going....!

Reminds me of all the black and white portraitures in the NYT showing people in their grief, when they most certainly have to be posed and staging their intense and private pain.

I guess in the Age of Selfies, image carries. That's all I can say.
N.B. - Advisory: Rules 7-9

[Hat tip to JM]

"Modernism is exhausted ..."

One of our west-coast correspondents and readers recently contacted me with the linked dissertation below by a student of Fr. Joseph Komonchak. He remarks:
Modernism is exhausted. Fr. Joseph Komonchak gave us that magnificent review of The Banished Heart. Then he gave us the translations of the original schemas of Vatican II. Now he has outdone himself with the appearance of the dissertation of one of his students. Fr. Ignazio Michael Bellafiore, S.J. teaches systematic theology at the U. of Scranton. His dissertation (online in full): "Personal Religion in the Apologetic Christology of Leonce de Grandmaison" (Catholic U. of America, 2013). Jesuit Father Grandmaison was a leading critic of modernism as it unfolded before WWI. He was from Normandy and a huge presence physically. Vide especially photo in Dominique Avon. Les Jesuites.
All this is the more remarkable as Fr. Komonchak can hardly be classified as a traditionalist (some of you may recall Fr. Z scratching his head about just where Fr. Komonchak stands in a Commonweal article last April, although he finally concluded that he wishes to hem the pope in and restrict his power.)

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Vatican I Relatio of Bishop Vincent Gasser (Pt. 1)

For the record: "Infallibility: Vatican I Relation of bishop Vincent Gasser" (Bornacatholic, February 7, 2014), which is the first of a five-part series.

Bishop Gasser begins his discourse (delivered July 11, 1870) by noting that the presentation consists of two parts: "In the first part of this draft we present the arguments for the infallibility of the roman Pontiff as those arguments are drawn from the public documents [of the Church]; in the second part or paragraph of the Draft we have the definition of infallibility itself." Read more >>

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Polish bishops' exemplary stand against same-sex indoctrination of children

Father Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto Catholic church, February 16, 2014):
Reluctant to state the obvious, preaching to the choir, as they say, I yet feel compelled to write something about the devastating moral plague of the time as manifest in the unremitting campaign against marriage. Truly I’m tired of reading and hearing about it–I, who have almost no media connections. How then must it be for those forcibly made prey to incessant media barrage of “gender issues?” Queerness is evidently advancing at a rapid pace and the opposition to it which represents the convictions and beliefs of the majority of people is rarely or meekly stated. But that’s not true everywhere.

This past December 29th, the feast of the Holy Family, the bishops of Poland issued a Pastoral Letter warning their flock of the danger of the ideological campaign on gender identity. It was a bold initiative, befitting the successors of the apostles who must “preach the word in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears will gather to themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Timothy 4:2-5). Have we in the USA perhaps already arrived at that unfortunate time of intolerance for truth, and our bishops, reckoning that teaching so forthrightly and courageously as their Polish brethren, have decided that it would be of no avail to us? In any case, many here have been heartened over the Pastoral Letter of the bishops of Poland. I’d like to share with you a few points they make.

They begin by quoting Blessed John Paul II who taught that marriage is beyond the will of individuals. God created a man for a woman and a woman for a man, unto the propagation and upbringing of human offspring. To reject this must inevitably lead to the defeat not only of family but of humanity itself. Those who want to redefine marriage through gender ideology unwittingly owe their position to Marxism, feminism and to the sexual revolution. They assert that who one is by given nature–male or female–can be reversed simply by a declaration of self-definition. Reality in this case would not be what is but what one would wish reality to be. In this case it would mean the creation of a new meaning for family, based on homosexual unions.

Most people are unaware of the danger posed by the legalization and attempted legitimization of gay marriage. They are told it is the coming of age of an enlightened society which abhors all forms of discrimination. The Church agrees that humiliating any people is evil, but it also at least must state that marriage is God-defined, and that homosexual acts and tendencies simply can’t be compatible with it. One will note here that the bishops have a narrow focus in their Letter. They say nothing about the disordered nature of homosexual acts–not that they would deny the fact. Their intended purpose is merely to clarify the incompatibility of marriage with same sex coupling.

And so, the bishops of Poland protest the suggestion that children be indoctrinated in a gender ideology that redefines words such as marriage, sex, love and–indeed–humanity itself. The bishops foresee the far reaching and baneful consequences this would have not only for families but for their entire “Homeland.” Their appeal is for people of faith to have courage to speak the truth about marriage and to invoke the Holy Family for its help.

... The greater issue in the gay marriage campaign has to do with establishing a total and complete dissociation of sexual acts with reproductive potency. One simply must get out of his head that sex has anything to do necessarily with children. And here one sees the logic of the contraception movement come to full term: its ultimate triumph would consist in a permanent divorce of sexual acts with human reproduction. The consequence of the success of this would be not only that homosexuals would be free to do whatever they would wish to do but that everybody would be free to do whatever his sexual urges would direct him to do. But there’s yet more to campaign for in the future, things not yet given much publicity, such as the full exploitation of children by adults, the legalization of child pornography, public nudity and open copulation....

A fundamental choice is what is really being proposed for us in the matter of gay marriage. Either there is a law of nature which determines certain things to be necessarily as they must be or reality itself, not being a pre-determined thing to which one must conform, can be created at will. Anything and everything is subject to this most basic matter: either truth is given and thus obliging, or it is a plaything fashioned by wish and whim.

Extraordinary Community News (February 16, 2014 – Septuagésima Sunday)

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

Tridentine Community News (February 16, 2014):
The Pre-Lenten Season

While the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass continues to be in Ordinary Time, the Extraordinary Form is now in the pre-Lenten season of Septuagésima, a name derived from the Latin term signifying 70 days before Easter. Subsequent Sundays are Sexagésima (approximately 60 days) and Quinquagésima (approximately 50 days), then both calendars unify on the First Sunday of Lent. Some signs of Lenten restraint in the Sacred Liturgy are evident: The Gloria is suppressed, and the celebrant wears violet vestments. However, organ music is still permitted unaccompanied by singing; during Lent the organ may only be used to accompany singing. The idea is to phase our thinking into the penitential mode of Lent.

Conclusions to the Orations of the Mass

The following is an updated version of a topic previously run in 2006 and 2009. Because many of our readers have started attending the Extraordinary Form Mass since that date, we thought it beneficial to readdress this subject.

The Orations are the prayers which the priest recites or sings alone: the Collect (Opening Prayer), the Secret (Prayer Over the Gifts), and the Postcommunion (Prayer After Communion). The Orations are not to be confused with the Antiphons, which the choir sings while the priest recites them (the Introit, Offertory, and Communion). Only the Orations have concluding phrases.

Both in hand missals and in our weekly Latin/English Propers Handouts, one sees abbreviations for the conclusions to the Orations. Only a few identifying words are printed, for example: “Per Dóminum.” The full text is not provided each week because it is always the same. In addition, there is only so much space on the page; on days with lengthy readings, we struggle to fit everything on the handout as it is. Therefore, it behooves all of us to know what those abbreviations signify.

Abbreviations Not Allowed

In the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, one often hears short conclusions to the Orations (e.g.: “…Who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.” or “…through Christ our Lord. [Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.] Amen.”) In the Tridentine, abbreviated conclusions are not permitted in the Orations. They are, however, used at other points within the Mass, for example at the end of paragraphs within the Canon.

The Texts of the Conclusions

A particular conclusion is used based on the context of the Oration.

For prayers addressed to God the Father: Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per Dóminum.”]

(Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers addressed to God the Father in which the Holy Ghost is mentioned: Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte ejusdem Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per Dóminum… in unitáte ejusdem.”]

(Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers making mention of God the Son: Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per eúmdem Dóminum.” N.B.: In some Missals, the word is spelled eúndem with an “n”.]

(Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers making mention of the Holy Ghost: Per Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte ejusdem Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Per Jesum Christum.”]

(Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers in which the final clause refers to God the Son: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Qui tecum.”]

(Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

For prayers addressed directly to God the Son: Qui vivis et regnas, cum Deo Patre in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen. [Abbreviation: “Qui vívis.”]

(Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.)

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 02/17 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria) – Celebrant may choose a Votive Mass
  • Tue. 02/18 7:00 PM: Low Requiem Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for February 16, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tridentine Masses in the Metro Detroit Area coming this week

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Lovers of Latin (Latin lovers?) have more fun

Not many out there in the J.Q. public would get this humour. But Latin lovers (lovers of Latin) would. At least those who frequent the beautiful traditional Latin Mass.

Here is what the reader who sent me this photo said [Disclaimer]:
Everyone is completely at peace with Latin dying.

No one is seems even interested in the fact the Vatican has an ATM with Latin instructions. I love that! What is wrong with people? And Catholics are eager to embrace the ... Norvus Ord-uh ... ok, new rite in the vernacular, or something like that, since, heck, who understands Latin, you know?!!

Meanwhile, does absolutley ANYONE think that anyone would be nearly as impressed with the most recent run-on, socio-theological babble of Evangelii Gaudium* if encyclicals weren't automatically given Latin titles?

I didn't think so.

It's all as disingenuous as Obama invoking Ronald Reagan, even if neither of them will ever be canonized as civic saints.

Back to Latin, I'm just saying.... Kill Latin, and you essentially kill everything that makes Catholicism dynamically unique in a theological sense. You are washing away CENTURIES of God-blessed growth. Funny thing: people, even seculars, think it's cool.1 It attracts curiosity. It lends distinction. It suggests legacy. Um, just like... older architecture.... also scrapped by eager-to-please ecclesiastics. Maybe there is a pattern.

LATIN shouldn't be an impediment to the New Evangelization. It should be a GIFT.

*(Hey, I love co-author Joseph Ratzinger as much as the next "I Wish the Church Were More Conservative" Catholic. No, I do! Even if his Introduction to Christianity is WAY over-rated!)
  1. The first indult granted for the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass after the promulgation of the New Mass in 1969 was popularly called the "Agatha Christie Indult" because the mystery writer, along with some fifty other secular artists, musicians, and writers had signed a petition asking Pope Paul VI to save the Latin Mass, because of their high regard for it simply from a historical, cultural, and literary point of view; and what reportedly won over the pope was the fact that he was an Agatha Christie fan and she was among the signatories. -- PP [back]
The late great Msgr. Ronald Knox, when asked to perform a baptism in the vernacular English, responded: "The baby does not understand English and the Devil knows Latin."

Which brings us to the title of a great little book by E. Christian Kopff, The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition(Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2001).

And while we're at it, here's a little gem from A. D. Godley, entitled "Motor Bus":
WHAT is this that roareth thus?
Can it be a Motor Bus?
Yes, the smell and hideous hum
Indicat Motorem Bum!
Implet in the Corn and High
Terror me Motoris Bi:
Bo Motori clamitabo
Ne Motore caedar a Bo--
Dative be or Ablative
So thou only let us live:
Whither shall thy victims flee?
Spare us, spare us, Motor Be!
Thus I sang; and still anigh
Came in hordes Motores Bi,
Et complebat omne forum
Copia Motorum Borum.
How shall wretches live like us
Cincti Bis Motoribus?
Domine, defende nos
Contra hos Motores Bos!
[Hat tip to G.N.]

Pope Francis: "Old Mass? Just a kind of fashion ..."

Rorate ran a post today comparing recent remarks by Pope Francis about the "old Mass" with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Speaking to the Bishops of the Czech Republic during their recent ad limina visit, Pope Francis said (according to Archbishop Jan Graubner who was present):
... he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it [the ancient liturgy]. “When I search more thoroughly" – the Pope said – "I find that it [the ancient liturgy] is rather a kind of fashion. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.“
One commentator responds bluntly:
“Search more thoroughly ...” Really?

I wonder exactly where this thorough search took place. If it was in His Holiness’ former See, the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, perhaps that’s the problem.

Had he visited and searched a different diocese, you know… one with a healthy liturgical life wherein the traditional Mass is routinely made available to the faithful, he would have discovered what most everyone reading this blog already knows:

The devotion of the younger generation to the traditional Mass has nothing whatsoever to do with fashion; it has to do with a deep seated desire for authentic Catholic worship, unencumbered by anthropocentrism, protestantism and modernism.

As a matter of fact, Pope Francis has it exactly backwards.

The less-than-fifty year old rite invented by the Consilium and mercilessly inflicted upon the Church by Pope Paul VI, that is merely a fashion, and a passing one at that.

If the witness of the last eleven months tells us anything at all about this pope, it’s that he has no interest whatsoever in taking on the “smell of traditional Catholic sheep.”
Rorate then remarks:
... Under seven years ago, the opinion of the then-reigning and still living Holy Father (one who was much more acquainted with the issue at hand) was quite different:
Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist ... . ... What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. (Benedict XVI, July 7, 2007 Letter to Bishops)

Irish brothers return to Church via ChurchMilitant.TV

Here are the alternatives:

(1) "Business as usual": you see something like this as a bizarre anomaly, a fluke. After all, the Catholic hierarchy is still intact. There are church buildings around with Sunday liturgies. There are bishops, like the bishop of the diocese of Ireland in which these two brothers live. So it's business as usual. Keep on keeping on. Ireland has a rich Catholic heritage, though parish numbers have fallen off a bit. But there are still examples here and there of changed lives, like these guys. So those "minding the store" in the Church must have things under control. They know what they're doing. And we have Christ's promises that the doors of Hell will not prevail against the Church.

(2) "Crisis": you see something like this is the norm. Kids are lucky today if they grow up knowing who Jesus was and is, let alone the most elementary content of the Gospel. The church buildings around, the hierarchy, the priests and bishops, represent signs of a rapidly disappearing world. All of these things represent a world which is ending, as Archibald Macleish says, whose "metaphor has died," a world of "emblems for the soul's consent that speak the meanings men will never know, but man-imagined images can show," a world which "perishes when those images, though seen, no longer mean."

For my part, I make no secret of what I see around me. We have no divine promise that the Church in America will survive, or, for that matter, that the Church in the West will survive, or that geographical Rome as the official headquarters of the Catholic Church will survive. We have entered a new Dark Ages, the darker because Enlightened western man thinks he already knows what the Gospel is, and has seen through its empty promises by the light of reason. The truth, however, as G. K. Chesterton put it, is that "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." And the more ignorant post-Christian western man becomes of the actual content of the Faith, the more adamantly he sets his face against it.

See to it that every member of your family knows The Faith (not his faith, whatever that may happen to be, but THE Faith). Their spiritual survival in the darkness ahead will depend on it. And if God has given you the gift of faith in Him, always give thanks for this grace with which He has gifted you. This is no small thing. It is everything.