Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Impressive French theological contortionist demonstrates how indissolubility of marriage can co-exist with pardonable divorce and re-marriage

This guy out-performs the Jesuits in casuist gymnastics. In fact he manages to square the circle, and -- voilà!! -- Behold! a round square! Something I'm not sure even God is capable of producing on a good day. Eee-haw!

Msgr. Jean-Paul Vesco, bishop of Oran

"Bishop offers a solution on Catholic divorce and remarriage" (Global Pulse, September 28, 2014):
In a text published on the website of the weekly magazine La Vie, Msgr. Jean-Paul Vesco, bishop of Oran in Algeria,proposes a theological and legal solution for Catholics who have divorced and remarried.

Msgr. Vesco, former Prior Provincial of the Dominicans in France, and bishop of Oran since 2012, discussed his position in an interview that accompanies his text. He states: “I firmly believe that it is theologically possible to assert the indissolubility of real conjugal love and the uniqueness of sacramental marriage, and at the same time the possibility of pardon in the event that lifelong marriage – one of life’s most beautiful but perilous adventures – fails.
Follow the good Msgr. Bishop Vesco through his tortured theological contortions if you wish -- Read more here >> For my part, I will continue to pray for the state of the Church and the discernment of her shepherds.

"Solution," my left foot!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Implications of the exile of Cardinal Burke to Malta

In case you missed it, some informative details by Sandro Magister, "Vatican Diary / Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke" (www.chiesa, September 17, 2014). Are you scratching your head too?

For the record: "The Rise of Bergoglianism"

A "very harsh assessment of the current pontificate," as Ferrara warns in a cautionary note to the reader in "The Rise of Bergoglianism" (The Remnant, September 26, 2014). His rationale? That someday he and his fellow traditionalists might be exculpated for "what was done to the Bride of Christ," presumably under this pontificate. [Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Extraordinary Community News: Impossible Beauty: Catholic Music Programs in London, England Part 1 of 2

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

Tridentine Community News (September 28, 2014):
This column has written many times about the amazing traditional liturgical life in London, England. Today we wish to focus on the extraordinarily high standard of liturgical music that one finds throughout the Catholic churches of that city of great culture, arguably the highest concentration of world-class sacred music found anywhere in the globe.

From a non-musician’s viewpoint, there are five criteria that seem to distinguish a superlative Latin Mass choir: 1) Ability of all singers to sing on pitch; 2) Ability of all singers to stop and start simultaneously [this appears to be the single most difficult quality for a choir to achieve]; 3) Diversity in repertoire, best exemplified by an ever-changing, different-material-every-week music program; 4) Ability to sing Gregorian Chant as well as Sacred Polyphony competently; 5) Cohesive sound whether male voices only, female voices only, or mixed voices.

Getting to the point where a choir possesses these abilities can take years. Rounding up the right people who can sing together effectively is an immensely challenging task, as talented singers are usually spoken for and are not abundantly available to join new groups. Many choirs possess some but not all of the above five qualities, for any one of a number of valid reasons. Most major cities are lucky if they have one Latin Mass choir that fills all of these criteria. Some large cities, Los Angeles for example, do not yet have a single choir that ticks off all five qualities.

It is all the more remarkable, then, to note that London, England has at least thirteen choral groups that meet all five criteria.

Let’s take a look at the choirs that stand out. Adjacent to many of them is a sample of the music selections from their respective web sites. If you are reading this column on-line, the links will take you to the full music listings for each choir.

1. St. Mary Cadogan Street: This church is tucked away in the tony neighborhood of Chelsea. Offering mostly Ordinary Form Latin Masses, with the occasional Extraordinary Form special Mass, St. Mary’s exceptional choir is noteworthy because it is all-volunteer.

2. St. Patrick, Soho: In 2011, this church completed a restoration to its original historic architectural condition. A choir was formed to provide music in accord with the lovely building. They sing a largely Latin repertoire at Ordinary Form Masses which are only partially in Latin themselves. Extraordinary Form Masses are also held there on occasion.

3. Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Kensington: This choir sings for a weekly Ordinary Form Latin Mass.

4. The Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street: In the upper-crust Mayfair neighborhood is that rare find: A conservative Jesuit church, offering sung Ordinary Form Latin Masses and the occasional Extraordinary Form Low Mass.

5. St. Etheldreda: Hidden down a street that is now the home to a number of investment trading firms, St. Etheldreda is England’s oldest extant Catholic church, dating to 1250. Their fully professional choir sings for weekly Ordinary Form Latin Masses. The church also offers periodic Extraordinary Form Low Masses.

6. St. George Cathedral: The seat of the Archdiocese of Southwark (“SUTH-ark”), covering London south of the Thames River, St. George has a weekly 11:30 Ordinary Form Mass partially in Latin, along with periodic Tridentine Masses.

7. St. Bede in Clapham Park: The only London parish to offer a weekly Sunday High Mass in the Extraordinary Form. A small choir sings all but one Sunday per month, while a professional choir, Cantores Missæ, sings a polyphonic Mass once per month.

Next week we’ll wrap our listing with the “Big Three”, the three main churches with multiple choirs and the most accomplished sacred music offerings of all.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel)
  • Tue. 09/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Jerome, Priest, Confessor, & Doctor)
  • Fri. 10/03 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]
  • Sun. 10/05 4:00 PM: Solemn High Mass at All Saints, Flint (Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost) – 25th Anniversary of the Flint Tridentine Mass. Dinner follows Mass. Wassim and the Assumption-Windsor choir will provide the music.
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 28, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, September 27, 2014

An extensive critical review of Kasper's book on "mercy"

By Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta, "Mercy according to Cardinal Kasper"; translated here: "Kasper's Perplexing Notion of 'Mercy' Is Not What Church Has Always Taught - an extensive book review, and its implications for Marriage" (RC, September 27, 2014).

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

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Friday, September 26, 2014

Traditional Morality: That Which Is Not Named

[Advisory: Explicit sexual language - Rules-7-9]: Our underground correspondent in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep it's secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, is not finished reporting on the fallout from Cardinal Dolan's agreement to serve as Grand Marshal of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade. His elegantly handwritten message arrived, as usual, on a silver tray with a glass whiskey (good bourbon, this time: Elijah Craig's 21-year-old single barrel) delivered by a tuxedo-clad courier with a black limo idling behind him outside the doorway.

Lots of good stuff this time, even the results of some exceptional sleuth work turning up yet another sighting of Joe O'Leary's remarks, now over at Commonweal where he has been holding us forth, along with Michael Voris, as having "a very myopic vision of gay folk and how they live their lives." Well, I guess he -- the erstwhile Professor Fr. Joseph S. O'Leary at Sophia University in Tokyo -- would know, wouldn't he. But here's our own Guy Noir for you, while I sit back and sip my bourbon:
NOR has a piece with the slug line "silence = death." But "What silence?" I ask. There is not silence but constant talk now in the Church. As a prime example, families are discarding traditional theology and morality as never before, and Rome thinks the answer is a multi-year synod to bureaucratically address the problem. DO they think the answer is some good preaching and teaching? No, the answer is more programs and policy implementations! Streamline annulments. Increase RCIA initiative. Rephrase old ideas with creative laxity. IOW, have more dialog.

On the Same Sex Marriage question, can it be denied that we have the same situation. Instead of nicely explaining we can't discuss Same Sex Marriage because we are a priori opposed to homosexuality, regardless of how people might want to define a domestic partnership, instead we converse endlessly, which leads to more acceptance, not more understanding. Witness old Fr. Joe over at Commonweal:
"intrinsice inhonestum" (Humanae Vitae) should not be translated as "intrinsically evil"

"being gay generally implies that the gay person celebrates "being" gay with the performance (in the case of male homosexuals) 0f male anal sex."

The idea that all Americans go home to happily have sex, of any sort, seems to me rather utopian. I suspect that sexual frustration is a larger reality in human lives tha[n] the blessed contentment here imagined.

Homophobes always reduce gay identity to their imagination of "male anal sex" -- which is at the core of homophobic imagination much more than it is at the core of gay imagination.

"Male anal sex fulfills no biological purpose (other than the generation of ejaculation by the participants)" -- but the same can be said of the vast majority of heterosexual sexual acts, unless one considers them all as rehearsal for the tiny number that do in fact produce a child. Sexual acts, as most human beings know, have many purposes other than the biological, and the goodness of these purposes should be recognized.

"in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic faith. This is not rocket science." Quite; it is just dogmatism and refusal of discussion, when even the pope and several cardinals have suggested that discussion is needed.
Discussion is needed. Seriously? Only if the goal is final acceptance of gay sex. Here's a question for discussion: Was Jesus dogmatic? Was Paul? Was Moses? Was anyone NOT so prior to the Council?
[Even foul-mouthed comedians sometimes seem to "get it" better than academics, and see the absurd ironies attendant to the self-promotion of deviancy, as Norm Macdonald does in his gay pride joke on the Dennis Miller show (Advisory: explicit and perverse sexual language - Rules-7-9 - you have been warned!)].

But Mr. Noir was not through with his comments:

"And then there is this depressing NOR item. I had already noticed National Review's retreat from any good religious commentary, and its patronizing inclusion of K. Lopez' peppy pro-Catholic shtick. Book editor M. Potemra does say nice things about conservative books, in the Ratzingerian style of meaning it without really meaning it. So he can plug Scott Hahn's Bible AND HvB's univeralism and gay marriage at the same time. He ought to be a Cardinal! But here is this, related... Common sense has left the building along with his right hand man Straight talk."

After reading that, I decided that Mr. Noir needed the bourbon more than I did; so, after finishing what he sent me, I immediately sent my own courier out to fetch a bottle of Woodford Reserve, and had him fly out to that eastern seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets and deliver it to the poor soul.

The Conservative Surrender in the Culture Wars

SILENCE = DEATH                                                                                    September 2014
The Conservative Surrender in the Culture Wars

By Tom Bethell

Tom Bethell, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is the author, most recently, of Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press, 2012).

In 1992 conservative commentator Irving Kristol observed that “[the culture wars] are over, and the Left has won.” The reception of Robert Reilly’s new book, Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything (Ignatius Press), underscores that judgment. We would expect liberal publications to ignore Reilly’s book. And they have. But conservative journals have followed suit. Various magazines, including The Weekly Standard, edited by Irving’s son William Kristol, have ignored Reilly’s book. National Review, edited by Richard Lowry, and its online version, NRO, refused to review it. The same goes for The American Spectator, edited by R. Emmett Tyrrell.

Making Gay Okay has received a number of favorable reviews, almost all from conservative religious sources. Robert Royal endorsed it at The Catholic Thing website; Austin Ruse, Christopher Manion, and Fr. C.J. McCloskey have published favorable reviews. Fr. James V. Schall praised the book at the Catholic World Report website. In fact, the book seems to have done fairly well, reaching the 700s on the Amazon bestseller list (better than being in the millions!). It also rose to no. 1 in Amazon’s “Gay & Lesbian History” category — which Reilly told me he finds “hilarious.”

But the book’s reception also signals a surrender by many secular conservatives in the “culture wars.” This phrase seems to have been popularized by Pat Buchanan, who said in a 1992 speech at the Republican National Convention that “there is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.”

Published this April, Making Gay Okay asks why Americans are expected to consider homosexual acts as morally acceptable, and why so many have touted the Supreme Court’s acceptance of same-sex “marriage” as a valid form of matrimony. Until a decade ago, such developments were unheard of in the history of Western (or any other) civilization. Reilly reckons that homosexuals constitute two to three percent of the U.S. population.

The book also explores adoption by same-sex couples, the promotion of sodomy in public schools and in the military, and the widespread submission to homosexual propaganda. Reilly mentions that the rainbow flag was flown over the U.S. embassy in Madrid on Gay Pride Day. “I guess the Marines have to salute that now,” he says.

Reilly, 67, has been at the forefront of the conservative scene for decades. He was director of Voice of America, the U.S. federal government’s external broadcast network. He also worked as a special assistant to President Reagan and as a senior advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush. He is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind, published in 2010.

In an interview, I asked Reilly what conservative editors are afraid of.

“The homosexual mafia,” he replied.

“Which might do what?”

“It can only create problems. It’s such a toxic issue. Editors might be socially ostracized. It’s more than a faux pas. It can be a career crusher.”  He said he no longer has a career, so he isn’t worried. In some cases, publications that have not mentioned the book may fear alienating writers whom the editors publish and want to retain as contributors.

The editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal illuminate the change. Years ago WSJ published a lengthy piece by Reilly on “Aristotle and the Laws of Nature.” But today they have largely abandoned the culture wars. “They did have a terrific piece by a doctor saying why his hospital will not do transgender operations,” he allowed. But more generally, the paper seems convinced that as long as markets remain free, economies will prosper and all will be well. Perhaps we should call it the libertarian delusion.

Reilly sent a review copy of Making Gay Okay to WSJ, but he “knew they would turn it down because the only op-eds they run are on the other side of the issue.” On marriage, “maybe Robbie George [Princeton law professor and co-author of the Manhattan Declaration] is published once every year or two.” The paper will publish George’s defense of marriage “but not his rebuttals to same-sex marriage.”


What about the objection that homosexuals are born that way? There is no “gay gene,” Reilly replies, but even if there were a genetic predisposition toward destructive behavior, that does not excuse it. Alcoholics may well have a genetic predisposition, but that doesn’t excuse them from getting drunk. They still choose to do so.

Recently, Governor Rick Perry of Texas reiterated Reilly’s position — in San Francisco of all places. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that,” he said. “And I look at the homosexual issue in the same way.”

The governor was duly berated in print. Brian Resnick of National Journal commented that “this is important, as it reflects the thinking of the Texas Republican Party at large, which recently adopted a party platform that supports the legality of gay-conversion therapy.”

Imagine that!

As to homosexuals who want to leave the lifestyle, Reilly said recently in an interview with MercatorNet.com:

Homosexuals who do want to change have a significant rate of success in changing with the right therapies. It is a sign of how far the rationalization for homosexual misbehavior has gone that two states now forbid therapists from treating teenage homosexuals who want to change their orientation. That’s like telling a teenager that if they injured their eye, they can’t go to an ophthalmologist! The denial of reality has gone that far.
Reilly doesn’t see homosexual activists as entirely at fault. Often they are themselves the victims of sexual abuse, or they suffer from an absence of love from their fathers. They have also built on earlier social decisions, such as the approval of contraception and no-fault divorce. They take those precedents to their logical conclusion. “When sex was detached from diapers,” Reilly writes in Making Gay Okay, “the rest became more or less inevitable. If serial polygamy is okay, and contraceptive sex is okay, and abortion is okay, what could be wrong with a little sodomy? First, short-circuit the generative power of sex through contraception, then kill its accidental offspring; and finally celebrate its use in ways unfit for generation. Contraception used to be proscribed, then it was prescribed, and now has become almost obligatory in the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.”

(In June, in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court granted narrow exemptions to the contraceptive mandate. Notice that the great push to normalize sodomy and same-sex marriage has come from the — unrepresentative — judicial branch, with a few legislatures tagging along behind. Abortion followed the same path.)


Of particular interest is Reilly’s chapter on the health hazards of sodomy, “The Lessons from Biology,” a sorely neglected topic that receives almost no attention these days. “Today we seem to know the purpose of every part of our bodies except our genitals,” Reilly writes. “As unpleasant as the subject matter may be, it is necessary to report on the physical effects of sodomitical behavior and of other homosexual acts. Their consequences are significantly more injurious to health than smoking, so much so that ignorance or denial of these effects is one of the most remarkable barometers of the strength of the rationalization that insists this behavior is normal and normative.”

During homosexual intercourse, Reilly goes on to say, the human body is subjected to an activity for which it is not designed. “If one insisted on using a highway exit as an entrance, one would be told that this is extremely hazardous to one’s health and safety and to that of others. Why is this so difficult to state when it comes to human anatomy?” Ignoring or downplaying these perils to health is perhaps the greatest oversight in today’s highly slanted coverage of the same-sex issue.

Here are some of the facts Reilly cites:
-A study in Vancouver showed that “life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we would estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years would not reach their sixty-fifth birthday.”
-Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and the author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, said in 1996 that “the incidence of AIDS among 20 to 30-year-old homosexual men is roughly 430 times greater than among the heterosexual population at large.”
-According to Dale O’Leary, author of The Gender Agenda, “While men who have sex with men make up for only a tiny percentage of the population, they account for 72 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases plus 79 percent of HIV diagnosis among men and the significant percentage of other STDs.”
Reilly follows up with two questions: “How is it that there can be warning labels on cigarettes and alcohol and on almost every package of food; health alerts for the level of air pollution, mandatory use of seat belts in cars, and yet no cautionary admonitions regarding homosexual practices?” Further, “Why are we counseled to change our dietary habits if we tend toward obesity because of the health hazards it presents, but not asked to modify our behavior if we engage in sodomy which can be far more lethal?”

He answers: “There are no warning labels because they would disturb the rationalization for homosexual behavior by inviting the observation that there is something in Nature itself that rebels against it. Rather than face the clear implication that what they are doing is unnatural to their own bodies, active homosexuals evade or even deny the overwhelming evidence of the health dangers to which they subject themselves…. This is like fighting lung cancer while remaining silent about the dangers of smoking.”

Reilly cites studies showing that some homosexuals have as many as a thousand sex partners. It’s as though they keep on searching for satisfaction that they cannot find.

Incidentally, if the figures about homosexual life expectancy are correct, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) might consider filing a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration. By one estimate, perhaps 50 percent of homosexuals pay taxes into the retirement system but die before they can receive benefits.

Pat Buchanan explored a similar theme in a 1984 article he wrote for The American Spectator, a magazine that made its reputation by being politically incorrect. Buchanan’s article, “Gay Times and Diseases,” co-authored with J. Gordon Muir, shows how much things have changed — and for the worse. They wrote:
Gay-rights promises to become for the '80s what busing and abortion were to the '70s — the social issue that sunders the Democratic coalition. Mondale, Hart and [Jesse] Jackson have all signed on to the non-negotiable demand of the movement: that sexual preference be written into the civil rights act of 1964, to designate another category, homosexuals, against whom it will be a federal crime to discriminate.
Thirty years later it is, instead, the conservative coalition that has been sundered. We cannot “discriminate” against homosexuals (whose civil rights have been intact all along, incidentally), and overt objection to their practices has become verboten. Any such criticism violates the most closely monitored taboo of our time.

Furthermore, Jeffrey Levi, a former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the National Press Club in 1987 that “we [homosexuals] are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a right to protection from wrong. We have a right — as heterosexuals have already — to see government and society affirm our lives.” Needless to say, there is no right to be “affirmed,” whether for hetero or for homosexuals.

Urvashi Vaid, a lesbian activist and author of Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation, said that “we have an agenda to create a society in which homosexuality is regarded as healthy, natural and normal. To me, that is the most important agenda item.” Judged by public utterances, it does seem that homosexuality more and more is regarded that way, whether or not such a view corresponds to reality.

Reilly describes the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality from the 1974 edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A key role was played by Franklin Kameny, who declared that the “entire homophile movement is going to stand or fall upon the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sickness.” Kameny was praised by President Obama in a White House ceremony in 2009. “We are proud of you Frank,” Obama said, “and we are grateful to you for your leadership.”

This was the same Frank Kameny who was arrested in 1957 by a vice squad in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House. After Kameny’s death in 2011, the National Park Service placed his Washington, D.C., home on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Duck Dynasty controversy of late 2013 raises some of the same issues as Reilly’s book. Phil Robertson and his family, purveyors of a bestselling duck call, are the stars of a popular reality TV show broadcast on the A&E network, a show that has attracted the largest non-fiction cable TV audience in history. A journalist who interviewed Robertson for GQ magazine asked him what behavior he considered to be immoral. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” said Robertson, a Christian. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” He elaborated: “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” he said. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

In response, Time magazine reported that the backlash to Robertson’s comments “was immediate and almost too loud to comprehend.” GLAAD demanded that Robertson be purged from Duck Dynasty. A&E duly suspended him indefinitely.

That’s when the real backlash was felt. Followers of Duck Dynasty, both evangelicals and politicians such as Governors Mike Huckabee of Oklahoma and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, defended Robertson. “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with,” said Gov. Jindal. “It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

A&E promptly retreated. The Duck Dynasty audience was too valuable to lose.

“Millions endorsed [Robertson’s] views on what the Bible says and Christianity professes and promises,” Pat Buchanan wrote. “The battle revealed an immense and intense hostility in Middle America to the moral agenda being imposed by our cultural elites.”

Some of our own timid magazines, confronted by Making Gay Okay, might have pondered the same lesson. But they seem to prefer fashionable opinion to rank-and-file readers.

Both Buchanan and John O’Sullivan of National Review pointed out that GLAAD operated a blacklist campaign against Duck Dynasty, not censorship. Censorship involves prohibition of speech by governments. The old blacklist most famously targeted communist sympathizers in the 1950s. Today, we are expected to censor ourselves if we have any doubts about the rationalization of homosexual behavior — sodomy in particular.

O’Sullivan added the important point that what was most offensive to GLAAD about Duck Dynasty was that Phil Robertson “did not disavow the traditional Christian teaching that homosexual acts are sinful.” He didn’t retreat.


The systematic protection of homosexual behavior and the blacklisting of dissenters should be seen as the consequence of an even greater lie: the modern pretense that there are no real differences between the sexes. Camille Paglia, who calls herself an “independent feminist,” commented on this in a WSJ interview (Dec. 29, 2013). She describes an occasion when she “barely got through the dinner” with a group of women’s studies professors at Bennington College, who insisted that there is no hormonal difference between men and women. Paglia attributes much of the current cultural decline to such absurdities.

She also called out feminist activists like Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf, and Susan Faludi for saying that gender is nothing more than a social construct, and groups like the National Organization for Women for making abortion the singular women’s issue. In denying the role of nature in women’s lives, Paglia says, feminists have created a “denatured” movement, protected their own “bourgeois lifestyle,” and falsely promised that women could “have it all.”

The ongoing feminist attempt to redefine gender — a war on reality if there ever was one — may have arisen because at the beginning of the sexual revolution numerous men abandoned Christian teaching and urged women to take the Pill, enabling the men to enjoy sex without consequences. To that extent, the sexual revolution in its early stages worked greatly to the advantage of men.

Feminists have never been able to accept that, but at the same time they showed no interest in taking the “reactionary” step of restoring the old morality. Instead, in a bitter and vengeful spirit, they undertook to advance the sexual revolution still further, using their growing cultural power, accompanied by male guilt, to sow the pretense that there are no real differences between the sexes.

In the end, both sexes ended up either ignoring or disparaging Christian teaching. On top of that colossal error, the homosexual activists have built their own defiant heresy.

The rationalization of homosexual conduct is only the most recent campaign in the war on Christianity, and one of the most virulent. A century ago, the communist revolution aimed to destroy Christianity, but before it could do so, it destroyed the economies of those societies that shared in that goal: mainly the Soviet Union and Red China. (Communism, of course, lingers on to this day in Cuba and particularly in North Korea.)

The basic tool of communism was the abolition of property, which had the effect of concentrating power in the hands of a ruling class. Now the West confronts a full-fledged sexual revolution, which aims to destroy the family. As with communism, it could end up destroying the societies that pursue so destructive a goal. Without a restoration of Christian morality, Western societies will become immeasurably weaker, and perhaps before long fall prey to the Islamist resurgence, which has palpably been strengthened by Christian decline. [Emphasis added by G.N.]


The foregoing article by Tom Bethell, "The Conservative Surrender in the Culture Wars," was originally published in the New Oxford Review (September 2014), and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.

[Hat tip to GN]

81 Popes are saints, 10 Blesseds, 2 Venerables, 3 Servants of God, 30-40 Anti-Popes

Interesting lists.

List of canonized popes, blesseds, venerables and servants of God HERE.

List of anti-popes HERE.

Rutler on Newman, good stuff

From George Rutler's Beyond Modernity(Ignatius Press, 1987). As Guy Noir rightly describes it:
... a tour de force of theologizing historically and philosophically in a manner inspiring [and completely unlike so many] dry similar attempts. If C.S Lewis was "a Mind Awake," Rutler is "a Mind in the Hopper"! This ought to be a preface to some sort of Newman theology, since it easily bests other explanations I have read of him. I was very glad to find it buried in ETWNs impressive reading archive. Along with John Senior's chapter, it makes Newman seem relevant and not Victorian. Written too long before the canonization ...
Indeed. And so here is the choice excerpt, Fr. George W. Rutler's "Newman and the Power of Personality" (EWTN document library, posted 1996):
The many accounts of Newman's manner, his look, and above all his voice, might make us think that we have read enough. And we certainly know by now that his voice was as silver and his style crystal. But there are those, among whom is anyone of reason, who would want more; and this because, as he stooped somewhat in the pulpit and dimmed the lamp before a sea of undergraduates who were missing their dinner to be there, the silver of the voice mellowed the way gold is meant to; and his pellucidity was less like a sensible equation and more like a sensual form. This is a mystery of Newman, and one should want to learn more about it, for it is the mystery common to all persons: personality.

As a working definition, too slight to fill out a whole system, human personality is the vernacular evidence of the speechless soul, the natural expression of the supernatural endowments in will and intellect, much as graciousness is the declaration of grace. Man is an unfinished being, but he is not mute. A greatness of Newman is the way he represents the personality properly as a spiritual deduction and shows how its development, as any art, attains full worth when it is faithful to a spiritual theme. As every agnostic painting called "Mother and Child" is a surreptitious Madonna and Christ, so the "real character" begrudgingly respected by the cynic is a clandestine ikon.

Any list of Newman's inventive gifts to the modern critic must in some way include the illustration of how the higher reference perdures even as the cultural climate obscures it; into lengthening shadows of behaviorism, he pokes the glimmer of a thing good in content and holy in potential. He calls it personality and describes it in such a torrent of allusion that one would think the only perfectly mature personality has to be that of the saint.

To the latest catch-phrase about "growing as a person," Newman would reply that there is no other way to grow, and as for "getting in touch with your feelings," he would say precisely that there is no other way to touch. Actually, the Victorian Liberals anticipated the muddled thought behind the jargon, although they spoke it more elegantly; they shared the mistaken idea of perfection as endless growth rather then the attainment of an end, so that the substance of perfection is "not a having and a lasting but a growing and a becoming." That expression is not from the latest suburban sensitivity session; it belongs to Matthew Arnold. Now everyone knows that persona is defective until it obliges But this is common sense only because there is an uncommon reason behind it. If the Liberal optimist sees the personality as a puzzle, the Christian knows it to be a mystery. For a mystery does not contradict reason; it compels the reason to acknowledge a depth beyond observable reference. Newman compares mystery to an island which seems to be alone and wafted in the water but which is the summit of a submerged mountain range. A mystery, we should then say, is the sort of mountain you do not climb, but descend, to conquer. This is the principle of depth psychology to which God shows a favor by his Incarnation. The self knows only part of itself until it acknowledges the unseen self. The cry of the isolated is: "I want to be me." Newman would persist: "Who else can you be?" But only the true principles beneath becoming and being, underlying contingency and its source, can make the man on an island a man on a mountain, like St. Paul: "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20)." This is the descent from the topical ego to the fundament of being. Newman's own life models what that means.

On the 45th Anniversary of the Ottaviani Intervention, an inspiring documentary, and "A Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae by a group of Roman Theologians"

The video is a documentary on the "Dome of Home," England, showing how it lives on today as a home of the Tridentine Mass. The now classic, "Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae by a group of Roman Theologians," together with the letter by Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Bacci to Pope Paul VI (dated September 25th, 1969), is presented in the original post at Rorate Caeli (September 25, 2014) HERE.

Michael Davies (13 March 1936 – 25 September 2004): Latin Mass Hero - Part II

New Catholic, "10 years without Michael Davies: II- The Extraordinary Life and Times of Michael Davies, Latin Mass Hero - and a list of his works" (Rorate Caeli, September 19, 2014):

Michael Davies – “A Writer to Cherish”
Leo Darroch*
Michael Treharne Davies was born on 13th March 1936.  His father, a Welshman, was a Baptist and his mother, who was English, was a member of the Church of England. On leaving school in 1954 at the age of eighteen he joined the British Army as a regular soldier and served in Malaya, Egypt, and Cyprus. There is one comment in his army service records that is of particular interest.  In August 1957 his commanding officer stated that,

Michael Davies (March 13, 1936 - September 25, 2004): Latin Mass Hero - Part I

New Catholic, "10 Years Without Michael Davies - I - Protestant Liturgical Revolution as Precursor of Catholic Upheaval" (Rorate Caeli, September 19, 2014):

Michael Davies in 1950. He was 23 at the time,
and a recent convert from a Protestant background.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to help our Chaldean brothers and sisters in Iraq

Dear friends,

As some of you know, many of our students at Sacred Heart Major Seminary are from Chaldean Catholic families who have immigrated to the United States to escape deteriorating conditions in Iraq. If any of you are wondering what you can do to help our Chaldean brothers and sisters in Iraq or would like updates on the current situation there, please visit the OFFICIAL website of the St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of the U.S.A. at www.helpiraq.org.

[Photo credits: http://www.helpiraq.org/, hat tip to B.K.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Adagio from Bach's Easter Oratorio, performed by Hsuan-Fong Chen

What an adagio! And just six people!

"When the angels play for themselves, they play Mozart; when they play for God, they play Bach." -- Karl Barth

Michael Sean Winters thinks Cupich is the Cat's Meow

I received the wire about 2:00 AM. It was Guy Noir - Private Eye again, clearly distressed:
As the songs says, "Listen I don't want to bother you but I'm in distress..."

Michael Sean Winters thinks Cupid is the Cat's Meow.

With that as context, read the following, and ask yourself, "Is it really conservatives who are distorting the situation that is solidifying itself under Pope Francis?" Are they really being melodramatic when they sense a sea change, or are their critics being disingenuous when they dismiss such concerns?

It all reminds of of the early 80s, when liberals derided the phrase "Culture Wars." Madonna was simply harmless risqué pope and Buchannan was uptight. 30 years we have Beyonce's "Blow" and "No Angel," and Billy Graham is regarded as a homophone. And liberals now have no problem claiming the exact same phrase they earlier found silly, when they tell us we have lost the culture war.

As usual, appearances are what they seem, despite all the "Nothing to See Here!" Witness this impossible nice reality check:
His reference was to an article by Douglas Kries, "Bishop Cupich: A View from Spokane" (The Catholic Thing, September 24, 2014) [emphasis and comments by G.N]:
Now that he has been named archbishop of Chicago, many people have expressed interest in Bishop Blase Cupich’s time as bishop of the Diocese of Spokane. I should make clear that I barely know Bishop Cupich on a personal level. I am only a Catholic layman in the diocese of Spokane. I do, however, hold an endowed chair in “Christian Philosophy” at Gonzaga University, serve as academic advisor to Bishop White Seminary (an undergraduate college seminary at Gonzaga), and am a former director of Gonzaga’s small Catholic Studies Program. Gonzaga University is, primarily, a school of approximately 4800 undergraduates that calls itself Jesuit and Catholic and that operates within the Spokane diocese.

First, the good news: Not long after he was appointed to serve as bishop in Spokane, Cupich delivered a talk at Gonzaga as part of “Ignatian Heritage Week.” His lecture was devoted to the work of Christian Smith, an accomplished sociologist who is the director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.

Professor Smith’s work is vast [and problematic if one is the least bit theologically aware beyond general assumptions of the establishment -- but I guess that is an impossible hope] but he is especially deft at using sociological tools to chronicle the inability of Christian parents and educational programs, including Catholic ones, to pass on the practice or even the mere knowledge of Christian faith to young people in the United States. In his presentation, Bishop Cupich seemed quite convinced by Smith’s analysis of our current and ongoing crisis. [And he would be, not being a parent himself. Otherwise he would know what Smith misses -- convinced and faithful parents usually do not fail to pass on faith, even if the kids later repudiate it. There is no mystery to what works, despite endless knots of endlessly conversing cardinals can't see].

This means that Cupich recognizesthat there are very serious problems within the Catholic Church and within Catholic education in the United States. But Cupich may be unaware that after his appearance, Ignatian Heritage Week was taken over by Gonzaga administrators and that ideas such as Smith’s have hardly been featured during Ignatian Heritage Week ever since.

Not long after Cupich became bishop, the Gonzaga administration gave permission for the Vagina Monologues to be performed on campus. This was widely perceived – if never openly stated – as Gonzaga’s repudiation of former president Fr. Robert Spitzer. (Spitzer had refused such permission.) In the uproar that followed the approval of the Monologues under the new Gonzaga regime, it came out that Cupich had given his own approval for the performance.

It has been said that Cupich received promises from university administrators that the performance of the Monologues would be framed in some sort of proper educational context [Cardinal Dolan, call your office!], but in the event the educational context turned into plenty of radical feminist bashing of, among others, the Catholic Church and her bishops. In any case, whatever his intent, the upshot of Cupich’s decision was to undermine the position of traditional Catholic scholarship at Gonzaga.

Bishop White Seminary at Gonzaga, which was nothing short of an extraordinary success story until Cupich became bishop, fell quickly into desuetude after his arrival. Moreover, when Gonzaga University refused to continue club status for Gonzaga’s campus Knights of Columbus council, Cupich, it is widely whispered, told the remaining seminarians not to discuss the matter with the press. It has also been widely reported that Cupich did not want his diocesan priests involved with certain pro-life groups that he considered too strident. Cupich may not even know it, but at the time, students involved with Gonzaga’s Right to Life Club felt abandoned, even though they were not his direct target.

I once wrote to him expressing in particular my concerns about the direction of Gonzaga’s core curriculum. His reply was polite, but he made it quite clear that he had no interest in involving himself in such matters. Gonzaga adopted, and is now planning to implement, a core curriculum that diminishes the number of courses that students take in “Catholic or Christian religion” from three to one.

The formerly required course on the Bible is being eliminated and the course in applied Christianity, which often in practice meant Christian morality, is being changed to world religions. Gonzaga students, many of whom belong to Cupich’s diocese, will soon be devoting only a single semester course in four years of college (3 out of 128 credits, or 2.34 percent) to the study of “the Catholic or Christian religion.”

The local Spokane newspaper describes Cupich as “a moderate who has called for civility in the culture wars,” since he has said that Pope Francis doesn’t want “ideologues.” From what I can tell, the description is inaccurate. Real moderates engage all sides, trying to find common ground, if it is available, that will permit them to advance their principles. By not inserting his office into conflict situations, Cupich has often, whether intentionally or not, quietly ceded much ground to one side, and without advancing his principles.

To be fair, Cupich was willing to debate publicly a local city councilman about legalization of same-sex marriage. Still, on the whole, the record is hardly a bold one. And one wonders: if he comes across as too timid to be effective in the small, rather polite, and humble diocese of Spokane, what are his chances to be effective[or noticeably orthodox] in a large, muscular, broad-shouldered place like Chicago?

My advice to Catholics in Chicago? Your new archbishop is a very nice man; he is also very intelligent and talented. I respect him far too much to flatter him, as many of my fellow Spokanites are wont to do. And I refuse to believe that he really thinks that those of you trying to defend and advance the Church in the public forum are just “ideologues.” But he tends to be – to use a polite phrase – “conflict averse.”

We send him to you with our prayers and our charity. He’s got a very big job now, and he is going to need you to involve yourselves robustly in the struggles of the Church in Chicago if he is going to be successful. [Even if he doesn't want your Idealogue-Types' robust help!]

For the record: latest update on SSPX status assumes "full communion" but "imperfect reconciliation," says commentor

[Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Details come from Fr. Claude Barthe, "La Fraternité Saint-Pie-X en état de « réconciliation imparfaite »" (L'Homme Nouveau, September 24, 2014), translated HERE (RC, September 24, 2014).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Oklahoma City: Reparation, adoration of Christ VICTOR after sacrilege, blasphemy, evil"

[Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, "OKLAHOMA CITY: Reparation, adoration of Christ VICTOR after sacrilege, blasphemy, evil" (Fr. Z's Blog, September 23, 2014), writes:
The other day some nitwits did something like a satanic “black mass” in city government facility of Oklahoma City. You know the controversy, so I won’t go over it here.

I hope that the local Archbishop, Most Reverend Paul Coakley, will break out his copy of the older, traditional Roman Ritual and use the chapter in the section on exorcisms to ask God to cleanse the place, indeed the region.

Good people in Oklahoma City also showed their concern. Some 3000 people showed up for a Eucharistic Holy Hour invited by Archbp. Coakley. HERE and HERE

Archbp. Coakley said, among other things, that the city was “targeted by dark forces”.

I concur.

OK City is not alone. Right now I have a sense of growing evil that has me both a little shaken and increasingly combative. I am taking some steps in my own life in the face of what I see on the horizon. I suggest that you do to. As part of that preparation… GO TO CONFESSION. But I digress.

Another group which showed solidarity against the evil of that event was the SSPX. A friend sent this video, which was, “a response effort organized by the priestly Society of St. Pius X here in the United States. After a Black Mass was publicly marketed in Oklahoma City to desecrate our Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, an outcry from Catholics resounded. In an effort to make reparation for this public offense, the SSPX displayed a spontaneous 900 faithful from multiple states.”

What motivates a modern pilgrim? Interview with Mark Byerly

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Dangers of "Routine Communions"

As the centenary of the death of Pope Saint Pius X approached this summer, Fr. Timothy Finigan, in "What I Want is Mercy, Not Sacrilege: The Dangers of 'Routine Communions'” (Faith Magazine, July-August, 2014), while recognizing the infinite graces that have flowed from this pious practice, assessed the dangers that can arise when the Eucharist is viewed as a human prize rather than a divine privilege. Excerpt:
Priests who speak on these matters will probably be confronted by the protest “Are you saying that I am being irreverent by standing and receiving communion in the hand?” It is time that we stopped caving in to this childish passive aggression, in favour of helping the majority of ordinary faithful to benefit from external signs of reverence that they quickly recognise as helping reinforce belief in the real presence.

... I can almost hear the cry from some quarters of “Jansenism! Jansenism!” ... The debate on who should and should not receive Holy Communion needs to be re-framed according to classical Catholic spiritual teaching. Nobody wants to see frequent Holy Communion disappear from the lives of Catholics, but it is equally necessary that Holy Communion should once again be understood as a sacrament to be received with due preparation, in a state of grace, and in a state of life that accords with the teaching of Christ and the Church.

Christ quoted the word spoken to Hosea desiring a real change of heart, and not an empty external ritual. We could reword His call without disrespect: “What I want is mercy, not sacrilege.”
As a reader commented in an email:
... the problems are not simply a Catholic liturgical thing, but represent the larger and seismic generational shift. People no longer think of approaching God as requiring much acknowledgement of grandeur or holiness. The newer emphasis is that God is not so much 'Other' as he is 'For Us.' And this without the pivotal pre-acknowlegement of the Cross as opening up our access to Him. Of course it makes sense. If sin is downplayed, and if God's universal salvific will is read as simply God's unconditional love, then communion is simply the equivalent of the club membership ritual. Every member gets to participate as long as they show up. Even the kids. "Let the little children..." The mass is no longer communion with someone but affirmation of worth.
Wow! And too true!!

Those of us who are converts from Protestantism may even remember greater reverence, of sorts, in our erstwhile communions than we are apt to experience in certain AmChurch Catholic parishes these days. We may not have had the true Body and Blood of Christ, but we were taught that the Lord's Supper, whatever we supposed it to be, was something special. You had to be old enough to have an inkling of what it's about, and if you had big things to still get right with God, you abstained.

How different today, when you're likely to feel like an oddity if, out of awe and reverence for our Lord, you choose to abstain rather than queue up in the communion line. As my contact put it: "Same symbols but close to an entirely different religion. In the new cult the problem is not how God sees us, since he loves us. It is how we see ourselves."

Auguste Comte's dream of a religion of man has come true.

"Everything is awesome" Catholics and the October synod

[Advisory: Rules 7-9]

Patrick Archbold, "What to expect when you are expecting (synodal disaster)" (Creative Minority Report, September 15, 2014):
... what I expect is that the Synod, by design, will be quite anti-climactic, if for no other reason that to disarm the myriad critics of Kasper both in and out of the Bishops conference.

See, Cardinal Kasper's speech was a full frontal assault on the teaching of marriage and as a result there was considerable public push back by many Cardinals and others. This is not how things are done. I actually believe that his speech was a strategic assault to test defenses. When introducing doctrine undermining change into the Church, the last thing you want is to be clear that is what you are doing. That is why I don't expect the synod itself to be a disaster. Rather, I expect it to be like that nice crisp autumn night, the perfect sleeping weather, something so comfortable you fall asleep, even though it is a clear sign that winter is approaching.

It is for this reason I believe that they have broken the synod into two parts, part this year and part next. They want anti-climactic.

So what do I expect?

Rather than a direct assault on marriage, I expect the opposite. What I expect is a nice flowery document re-stating the Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage. It will include language about the pastoral care of souls in troubled situations, but it will be generally orthodox. But at some point, whether this year or next, or in a post synodal document by the Pope, they will recommend the Bishops conferences to study and implement pastoral guidelines to help those in this situation.

No mandate, no direct assertions on what to do, but just a call for Bishop conferences to study the problem and implement pastoral practices in line with the synodal documents. That is when the horse will be permanently out of the barn.

Then certain conferences will run wild either directly allowing it or allowing the pastor to decide. You know they will. (See German Episcopal conference)

The traditionally minded will scream bloody murder while the "everything is awesome" Catholics will only refer to the document of the synod as the mostest wonderfulist re-statement of Catholic teaching ever, ignoring what his happening on the ground.

In the meantime, the Vatican will move at a glacial pace to correct any abuses. After a few years, it will issue some weak document asking the Bishops not to abuse things. This document will be completely ignored in praxis and will only serve the purpose of throwing it in traditionalist faces when they complain about the obvious. You know the drill.

After a few more years, the obvious abuse will be so commonplace, that people will think you a sedevacantist for even bringing it up.

This is how it is done. This is how you introduce radical novelty into the Church without provoking schism.

So don't expect a synodal disaster or schism. Expect the synod to be that nice calm cool night that lulls you to sleep even as winter furiously approaches.
[Hat tip to JM]

"If Scalia wasn't Catholic, I'd bet my bottom dollar she'd end up Episcopalian and seeking ordination"

So says a reader after examining Steven Greydanus, "Gays, Jesus and St. Patrick's Day" (NCR, September 10, 2014), who says:
I love Elizabeth Scalia, aka The Anchoress, and I very much appreciate her effort yesterday to inject a new perspective into the controversy over New York’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and the LGBT group that will be marching in it....

Having said all that, I can’t agree with Elizabeth’s conclusions, or with the way she has framed the issue of Cardinal Dolan acting as the parade’s grand marshal....

She begins her post by commenting on the woman caught in adultery ....

She also points out Jesus’ well-known habit of sharing table fellowship with people deemed sinners. Finally, she cites the parable of the Prodigal Son ....

There are some lines of thought here worth considering. In general, though, I think the disanalogies are more important than the analogies.

It’s true that, when confronted by the crowd seeking to stone the woman taken in adultery, Jesus didn’t begin by saying to the crowd, “You are right, adultery is sinful”; it was only privately, to the woman, that he condemned her sin, saying “Go and sin no more.”

On the other hand, in the first place, in Jesus’ social milieu adultery was universally recognized as sinful.

There was no movement in Jesus’ day to normalize adultery. Adulterers did not form pressure groups demanding that their relationships have social status equivalent to marriage. Whatever Galilean wine seller provided the first round of drinks for the wedding feast at Cana did not have to worry about legal action or even hostile public-opinion campaigns if he declined to cater a dinner in celebration of adultery.

This means there is a greater obligation today to defend and uphold precisely those aspects of Catholic moral teaching that are under fire, and to do so by both word and action.

It is true that this obligation must be weighed alongside the obligation to make amends for mistreatment of same-sex attracted individuals. We must find ways of upholding Catholic moral teaching while also upholding the dignity of all persons and giving no support or cover to homophobia or gay-bashing.

At the same time, we can’t uphold the dignity of persons or make amends for injustice by downplaying or neglecting precisely those elements of Catholic teaching that are under fire, or by cooperating with the movement to normalize homosexual acts.
In his email, our reader remarks: "Well...! With one column I can now see clear to forgive Steven G. his indulgent critic's plug for "Noah" ... LOL. Hell. I could even forgive him something as dopey as an imagined plugging of John Denver's "Oh God" on DVD -- or worse, a column pointing out the gospel parallels in Disney's "Frozen" -- if it meant more people listening to him and snapping out of the ... Lizzie Scalia sort of nonsense -- yes, nonsense -- that is fast becoming gospel mid-decade. And btw, if Scalia wasn't Catholic, I'd bet my bottom dollar she'd end up Episcopalian and seeking ordination. Just saying. As a former mainliner it's all just too familiar..."

Are the cohabiting couples getting married because they now believe Church teaching?

So Protestant pastors are now asking whether they should follow Pope Francis and begin marrying cohabiting couples. The whole phenomenon raises a number of pertinent questions. As one reader writes:
This is telling. And disheartening. I am all for marrying cohabitating couples to legitimize their arrangement, IF they went to be Catholic. But really, does a couple want to be Catholic if they do not think living together is a sin? At what point does life in the Church entail at least the appearance of submission to corporate belief? Are they getting married because they now believe Church teaching? Would they advise others against living together? If not, we are simply swelling the ranks of people who want the name Catholic but not the belief system. And guaranteeing our families as well as ourselves will be surrounded at parish level with people who actively argue against Catholic belief. And that previous beliefs will evaporate in practice at the ground level.

But I suppose as long as we can light that essential Unity Candle, all is well...
[Hat tip to JM]

Playbook for October Synod, repeat of V-II?

Our trusted underground correspondent in an eastern Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, wired us the following memo from his private yacht just moments ago. He writes:
They have a post up on "The Pianist" that they seem to think is very important. To me it sounded simply like the Cliff Notes (remember them?!) version if the playbook used at Vatican II. But this post.... For me it hit the nail on the head and describes our situation with startling precision. And -- surprise -- Garrigou-Lagrange is consigned to "Monster" status, whereas we get a papal reading recommendation on Kasper. Stew on that one next time Weigel begins extolling the urgent glories of the New Evangelization, and your com boxers argue with you that on the question of gays, what we really need is better conversation with them, and can't quite manage to see the small distinction between self – identity and behavior. They say sin makes you stupid. So does willfully turning your back on your past.
Indeed. I seriously doubt that anything earthshaking will come out of the October Synod in terms of official statement. Rather, as Guy Noir said in an independent telegram I received earlier today, "it is the tonal implications that will have the seismic effect," particularly as these are "spun" in the media.

[Hat tip to G.N.]

Extraordinary Community News: Canadian Shrines Bus Tour Report

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

Tridentine Community News (September 21, 2014):
Ground was broken once again by the intrepid Mike Semaan, as his Prayer Pilgrimages bus tour operation brought the Tridentine Mass back to three landmark historic churches for the first time since the liturgical reforms of 1970, as part of his September 8-12 bus tour to historic shrines in Canada.

Monday was spent visiting churches in Ottawa. On Tuesday morning we went to Montreal’s St. Joseph Oratory, Saint Brother André Bessette’s church. This enormous edifice sits atop a hill. The faithful enter on the base level, where a crypt church seating around 800 welcomed our group for our first Extraordinary Form Mass. Saint Brother André’s tomb is outside the crypt, in a chapel filled with devotional shrines and hundreds if not thousands of votive candles. A network of escalators leads to the main upper church, which has been redecorated in a rather unfortunate abstract modern style. Later we visited Mary Queen of the World Basilica (Cathedral), modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Notre Dame Basilica's Sacred Heart Chapel

Wednesday began with a visit to the architecturally stunning Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. A Tridentine Mass was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel [pictured above], as the throngs of tourists make it impossible to have Mass at the magnificent main altar [pictured immediately below] during the week. The sacristy [pictured second below] was one of the largest and most elaborate this writer has ever seen, with an atmosphere reminiscent of a formal dining room. The Basilica must charge admission to all tourists, because they only have between 100-300 people attending Sunday Mass. Maintaining such a glorious building obviously requires substantial revenue beyond what the parish itself would be able to raise from the Sunday collection.

Notre Dame Basilica, High Altar and Sanctuary

Notre Dame Basilica, Sacristy

Later Wednesday we visited St. Patrick’s Basilica, the historically Irish church in downtown Montreal. St. Patrick’s is known for hosting a longstanding Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Ursuline Sisters' Chapel

Thursday we travelled to Quebec City. The first stop was the Ursuline Sisters’ Chapel [pictured above] and Museum. The museum is a detailed look at the Ursuline religious life and the evolution of the adjoining girls’ school over the centuries. Mass in the Ordinary Form was held at Quebec’s ornate Notre Dame Basilica (Cathedral), where pilgrims could gain a Plenary Indulgence by walking through North America’s only Holy Door.

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Sacred Heart Chapel

Friday began with a Tridentine Mass at the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. This massive church has numerous chapels; our Mass was held in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel [pictured above], right after the daily Mass which is televised from that chapel. The cavernous upper level of the shrine [pictured below] contains a baldacchino-surmounted high altar and countless side altars, several in an ambulatory which runs behind and around the main sanctuary.

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Upper Level

Special thanks to Fr. Louis Madey for celebrating all of the Tridentine Masses on this pilgrimage, and to veteran server John Tome for assisting at the altar.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/22 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Thomas of Villanova, Bishop & Confessor)
  • Tue. 09/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Linus, Pope & Martyr)
  • Fri. 09/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. James, Novi (Ember Friday) - Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
  • Sun. 09/28 12:00 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 21, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eucharistic Prayer II - composed on the back of a napkin?

Well, maybe not quite [Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]; but this is interesting, as noted by our trusty underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye:
As a grateful fan of Louis Bouyer's The Spirit & Forms of Protestantism, I am intrigued with details of his life. And while I no doubt would fall to the right of him theologically, his comments in TSAFOP on inspiration of Scripture, as well as his very good Dictionary of Theology (where he even distinguishes between pains of loss and pains of suffering, a la The Catholic Encyclopedia!) point back to an age when "liberal" and "conservative" currents in Catholicism were not nearly so far apart and had not worked themselves out into such polar extremes in camps both opposed to Modernism. (In this regard one also thinks accommodatingly of Guardini.) So this piqued by interest. If it ever gets an English translation, I'll be in line.

Perfect for "a banal on-the-spot product" (Cardinal Ratzinger's remark)

New Catholic, "Original Sins: Eucharistic Prayer II - composed in a few hours in a Roman Trattoria" (RC, September, 17, 2014):
The unbelievable scene is not unknown, it has been mentioned elsewhere before, but now confirmed in the published recollections of one of the two men involved: during the mad rush to have the Novus Ordo Missae (the New Mass of Paul VI) ready as soon as possible, the Consilium, the 1963-1970 organization charged with the upheaval and destruction of the Roman Rite under the guise of "reform" and under the control mostly of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, had reached a new level of ignominy in composing a new "canon". The draft was so bad and dangerous that the new Eucharistic Prayer had to be rewritten in a hurry and at the last minute during a late-night meeting by two men in a Roman restaurant.

For one and a half millennium, the Canon of the Roman Mass had been almost completely unchanged (which is why it was called a Canon, a rule, unchanged and unique). Now, after the Council, and without a single mention in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), the Consilium decided to offer new Anaphoras as if they were ice cream flavors. The new "Eucharistic Prayers" were released in the fateful month of May 1968, while Western youth was on worldwide revolt (therefore, theoretically, for the 1965-1967 maimed version of the ancient Ordo Missae, but in truth preparing the way for the New Mass introduced in 1969). Why the rush? As with everything in the liturgical revolution, Bugnini and his minions knew they had to get everything done as fast as possible before they could be stopped by a dangerous wave of common sense. They won. And the Church got an aggressively-imposed new multiple-choice rite stuck in 1968.

The story of what would become the most popular of the new "Eucharistic Prayers" (Eucharistic Prayer II) is so insulting to the venerable Roman Rite that it beggars belief, and shows once again why the New Mass is the opposite of everything that is true and tested. It is a shallow committee-work of out-of-touch "experts" so proud and revolutionary that they thought they were entitled to pass judgment on the immemorial heritage of almost 2,000 years of organic development and sincere devotion of saints, priests and faithful, something so bizarre that wiser minds have called it "a banal on-the-spot product."

Cardinal Ratzinger was right to call the New Mass thus, as Sandro Magister makes clear below (translation from his Italian-language blog) when speaking of the memoirs of Fr. Louis Bouyer, one of the (later much disappointed) consultants of the Consilium. The memoirs were recently published in France by Éditions du Cerf:
The Fiery Memoirs of the Convert Paul VI Wished to Create Cardinal

Sandro Magister

Paul VI was seriously at the point of making him a cardinal, if he had not been held back by the ferocious reaction that the nomination would have certainly provoked among the French Bishops, led then by the Archbishop of Paris and President of the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal François Marty, a personality of “crass ignorance” and “devoid of the most elementary capacity of good sense.”

To have missed out on the cardinal’s hat and branded his arch-enemy in such a way was the great theologian and liturgist Louis Bouyer (1913-2003), as we learn in his blistering posthumous work “Mémoires”, published this past summer by Éditions du Cerf, ten years after his death.

Brought up as a Lutheran and later a pastor in Paris, Bouyer converted to Catholicism in 1939, attracted mainly by the liturgy, in which he distinguished himself before long as an expert authority with his masterpiece “The Paschal Mystery”, on the rites of Holy Week.

Called to be part of the preparatory commission for the Second Vatican Council, he understood immediately and instinctively its greatness as well as its poverty, and he got out of it fast. He found the cheap ecumenism “from Alice in Wonderland” from that age unbearable. Among the few conciliar theologians spared by him was the young Joseph Ratzinger, who gets only praises in the book. And vice-versa, among the few high churchmen who immediately appreciated the talent and merits of this extraordinary theologian and liturgist, the one who stands out most is Giovanni Batttista Montini, who was still Archbishop of Milan.

On becoming Pope and taking the name of Paul VI, Montini wanted Bouyer on the commission for the liturgical reform, “theoretically” presided over by Giacomo Lercaro, “generous” but “incapable of resisting the manipulations of the wicked and mellifluous” Annibale Bugnini, Secretary and factotum of the same organism, “lacking as much in culture as in honesty”.

It was Bouyer who had to remedy in extremis a horrible formulation of the new Eucharistic Prayer II, from which Bugnini even wanted to delete the “Sanctus”. And it was he who had to rewrite the text of the new Canon that is read in the Masses today, one evening, on the table of a trattoria in Trastevere, together with the Benedictine liturgist, Bernard Botte, with the tormenting thought that everything had to be consigned the following morning.

But the worst part is when Bouyer recalls the peremptory “the Pope wants it” that Bugnini used to shut up the members of the commission every time they opposed him; for example, in the dismantling of the liturgy for the dead and in purging the “imprecatory” verses from the psalms in the Divine Office.

Paul VI, discussing with Bouyer afterwards about these reforms “that the Pope found himself approving, not being satisfied about them any more than I was,”asked him. “Why did you all get mired in this reform?” And Bouyer [replied], “Because Bugnini kept assuring us that you absolutely wanted it.” To which Paul VI [responded]: “But how is this possible? He told me that you were all unanimous in approving it....

Bouyer recalls in his “Mémoires” that Paul VI exiled the “despicable” Bugnini to Teheran as Nuncio, but by then the damage had already been done. For the record, Bugnini’s personal secretary, Piero Marini, would then go on to become the director of pontifical ceremonies from 1983 to 2007, and even today there are voices circulating about him as the future Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship. ...
[Source, in Italian (main excerpt). Translation: contributor Francesca Romana]

For more on the origins of the made-up new Eucharistic Prayers, see, among others, this 1996 article by Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, who would later become the founding prior of the Monastery of Saint Benedict in Nursia (Norcia), Italy.
[Hat tip to G.N.]

" Pope Francis is Irritated -- with a Pro-Marriage Book Published by Ignatius Press"

So says New Catholic about a volume entitled Remaining in the Truth of Christ (RC, September, 17, 2014); and so he says again when the first victim of Kasper's attack campaign, Müller tried to justify himself, blaming the publisher for "unfortunate timing."

Update (9/21/14): Fr. Fessio Defends the Book (September 20, 2014):
In the interview, Cardinal Kasper complained of learning about the book from journalists who had received advance copies of it. The cardinal said that he had not received an advance copy, adding, “In my entire academic life nothing like this has ever happened to me.”

“You chose to leave academia to enter public life. Get used to it,” Fr. Fessio responded.

The priest also referenced Cardinal Kasper’s statement, “If cardinals who are the closest collaborators of the pope intervene in this organized and public manner, at least in regard to the most recent history of the Church we are facing an unprecedented situation.”

“Well, you did something unprecedented,” Fr. Fession replied. “And it was organized and public. Well, it was supposed to be done in secrecy, but then you published your consistory intervention as a book.” Furthermore, Fr. Fessio responded to Cardinal Kasper’s statement that his consistory remarks had not offered “a definitive solution” but rather “posed some questions and offered considerations for possible responses.”

“Well, what are you complaining about then?” Fr. Fessio asked. “You got some answers and some responses to your considerations. Or weren’t those the answers you were expecting?”

[Hat tip to JM]

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

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cardinal Dolan's explanation of his decision to serve as Grand Marshal

I was listening to Al Kresta on Catholic radio on my way home today, and he was summarizing Cardinal Dolan's explanation of his decision to serve as Grand Marshal in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade next March.

Kresta went down through the document, which is posted on the website of the Archdiocese of New York. He read from the following paragraph, which indicates the likely reason the Cardinal felt he had to offer some sort of explanation:
While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions [probably an allusion to the blistering criticism by Michael Voris], I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision [to let self-identified "gays" and "lesbians" march under their own banners]: you observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an “aggressive Gay agenda,” which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality. [Deal W. Hudson's cautions about "blurring boundaries" come to mind here.]

Thank you for letting me know of such concerns. I share some of them.
But then Kresta came to what he said was considered by the Cardinal to be the critically important issue on which his decision turned:
... the most important question I had to ask myself was this: does the new policy violate Catholic faith or morals? If it does, then the Committee has compromised the integrity of the Parade, and I must object and refuse to participate or support it.

From my review, it does not. Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals. Homosexual actions are—as are any sexual relations outside of the lifelong, faithful, loving, lifegiving bond of a man and woman in marriage—a moral teaching grounded in the Bible, reflected in nature, and faithfully taught by the Church.

So, while actions are immoral, identity is not! In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, people with same-sex attraction are God’s children, deserving dignity and respect, never to be treated with discrimination or injustice.

To the point: the committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture. I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching, but simply identifying themselves as “Gay people of Irish ancestry.”
While this distinction between identity and behavior is widely parroted in some Catholic circles, it is clearly the lamest of lame pretext commonly embraced for doing nothing and simply going along to get along. The pretext is sometimes couched in terms of a distinction between same-sex acts (which are condemned as immoral) and same-sex dispositions (for which a person presumably cannot be culpable). What is almost never mentioned, however, is that same-sex dispositions themselves are also described by the Catechism as "objectively disordered" (CCC 2357-2359).

Further, Catholics who have thought long and hard about this issue have insisted that there is no ontological or anthropological basis for any supposed "personal identity" as "gay" or "lesbian." Individuals with same-sex attraction are just human beings like anyone else, called to chastity like anyone else, and the notion that they would wish (or be permitted to) celebrate their putative "identity" as "gays" and "lesbians" is no less bizarre than allowing incorrigible Irish alcoholics celebrate their "identity" as "tipplers," "boozers," and "drunks."

What person in his right mind is going to believe for a nanosecond that a bevy of prancing self-identified "gays" and "lesbians" are not promoting actions contrary to the Catholic teaching? If those who are saddled with (or who have helped to saddled themselves with) same-sex attraction are called to chastity, as the Church teaches, then they should be walking in a spirit of penance in sack cloth and ashes and asking for the Church's prayers. Catholic compassion, in this instance, should not consist in condoning the celebration of disordered dispositions stemming from our fallen nature, but in letting such individuals know that they are not alone, that all of us suffer from a fallen nature and have our spiritual battles against temptations that we must fight together. On this issue, nobody strikes the proper balance more clearly that Michael Voris in "Catholic & Homosexual" (Vortex, 2010).

The Cardinal Archbishop of New York has made his "prudential judgment" and offered his explanation for his decision to serve as the Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick's Day parade. Al Kresta, Deal Hudson, Michael Voris, and many others have voiced their concerns and criticisms of his decision, asking whether it was so "prudent" after all. I share many of their concerns.

Those suffering from the disorders of same-sex attraction deserve the genuine compassion of spiritual works of mercy in the form of respectful clarity about their condition and the hope the Church offers through the mercy and grace of God -- a hope to which all of us should look for our fallen and sinful condition.

Update (9/20/2014): And now, this: