Saturday, February 28, 2015

What the Holy Father plans on NOT doing Maundy Thursday?

Fr. Z writes today
Will Pope Francis be the only able-bodied diocesan bishop NOT to celebrate [the] Mass of the Last Supper with priests and people?
From the marvelous Fr. Hunwicke.  I had to smile.  HERE  [Emphasis Fr. Z's]
Job Sharing?
Why don’t people swap roles occasionally? Fr Lombardi could go riding around in airliners making remarks to journalists; then the Holy Father could do the News Conferences explaining what the remarks had really meant.

This year’s Vatican Liturgical Schedule doesn’t include the Holy Father presiding at the Mass of the Last Supper. Is Cardinal Burke, il Cardinale volante, still free to step into this breach? If, by then, the Swiss Guard has been abolished, he could bring his Knights of Malta to the Lateran to provide Security. Juventutem could waggle flabella over the sedia gestatoria....

I wonder if the Bishop of Rome will be the only able-bodied Latin Rite diocesan bishop in the world not to celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper openly with his priests, deacons, and people? There will of course be sound precedents galore from the much more flexible age of the Renaissance papacy … it’s praxis within the rather more rigid post-Vatican II dispensation that I’m curious about.
If the Holy Father wants a substitute for the sacred rites in St. John Lateran, and if Card. Burke is otherwise engaged… I volunteer.
Apparently no foot washings for Muslims and women in prisons this year.

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Fr. Hunwicke: “Do not exaggerate, overestimate, what a Pope can do….”

Fr. Z writes (February 20, 2015):

The inimitable Fr. Hunwicke has a good reminder at his fine blog HERE about papal authority (my [Fr. Z's] emphases):

Two points. Despite the anxieties entertained by the Intellectuals on both sides of this question … the Traditionalists and the Tablettentendenz … I see no grounds for panic. I see no practical likelihood whatsoever that anything will happen to put into doubt our duty, in our day-by-day Christian life, to adhere obediently to the judgements of the Roman Pontiff. But … let’s be honest … there have been in history occasions when Roman Pontiffs have wobbled in their adherence to orthodoxy …. Liberius and all that. In these circumstances, there does have to be a duty to resist that wobble and to decline to give effect to edicts purporting to enact the wobble. But here is the Red Line: at Vatican I, a great deal of historical work was done to ensure that the Decree on the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff was so worded as not to be vulnerable on such historical grounds. It is watertight. We can be sure that whatever a pope says ex cathedra is protected by the Holy Spirit from any error (but even here, we are not obliged to believe either that the decree concerned was necessary, or that it expressed things in the best of all possible ways). But it is not unknown for a papal decree which falls short of the ex cathedra status to be flawed. Of course, that cannot be a good position for the Church to be in. But it is not some sort of Ultimate Catastrophe! The Church survived Liberius! And so did the Papacy! And, to the end of time, both will survive!

t is very important to remember the limits of the Papal Magisterium. This is best done by a careful reading of the decree Pastor aeternus of Vatican I. That is the touchstone. Do not exaggerate, overestimate, what a pope can do, and then, when some pope or other goes a bit off the rails, or you think he has, start running around in a frantic fear that you have “lost your faith”. The pope is not an Absolute Monarch. B Pius IX made this very explicitly clear. Benedict XVI taught this with determined vigour. This is serious! The Pope is not some God-on-Earth who can never make a mistake! Not a few of them have made quite a lot. There is no reason why the same should not be true in the future. Learn not to fret! Learn to live with it, as so many Catholics in previous generations have done! And if you’re the sort of person who can laugh at it, laugh. In any case, sit yourself down comfortably, pour yourself a drink … and learn the following off by heart:

“The Holy Spirit was not promised to Peter’s successors so that they should, by His revelation, disclose new teaching, but so that, with His assistance, they should devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the apostles, the Deposit of Faith.”

Popes make mistakes.  Popes are not infrequently wrong on a range of issues.  There is nothing new in this.

[Hat tip to L.S.]

The silence is telling

Guy Noir - Private Eye emailed me the following (must have borrowed a computer) :   

D. G. Hart, "Church Reformed" (Old Life, February 27, 2015)

The archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone (gotta love that name), is kicking up a lot of dust in Roman Catholic and California circles for the policies he has initiated within his parochial schools.  Here‘s an example of what Cordileone has in mind:
We, the Archdiocesan High Schools, Acknowledge that some of our administrators, faculty or staff may not be Catholics and some may be Catholics who are struggling to achieve fidelity to some of the teachings of the Church, but we are all nevertheless called and required to stand as effective and visible professional participants and proponents of truly Catholic Education. As effective professionals in a Catholic School setting, we all – administrators, faculty and staff – are required and expected to avoid fostering confusion among the faithful and any dilution of the schools’ primary Catholic mission. Therefore, administrators, faculty and staff of any faith or of no faith, are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths. To that end, further, we all must refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true, both those truths known from revelation and those from the natural law. Those of us who consider themselves to be Catholics but who are not in a state of full assent to the teachings of the Church, moreover, must refrain from participation in organizations that call themselves “Catholic” but support or advocate issues or causes contrary to the teachings of the Church.
Some Roman Catholics wonder if Cordileone is in line with Pope France:
Cordileone suggests that he is in line with Pope Francis. In one way, he may be correct: It doesn’t appear that Francis is going to be changing any doctrine in the near future. But the whole world knows we have a pope who is focusing on Jesus’ message of love and inclusiveness and who has told Cordileone and his fellow culture warrior bishops to quit being obsessed with the sexuality issues. Our archbishop doesn’t even appear to be listening to his boss.
And if Pope Francis wants the church to come along side people who struggle with Roman Catholic teaching on marriage and sex, how is Cordileone helping the cause:
Cordileone stated that Catholics who endorse contrary views “create toxic confusion about our fundamental values.” But if Catholic couples, in the spirit of the pope’s recent comments, limit the number of children they have, is that toxic? If you are a little girl who is only here because science helped her mom and dad conceive her, is that toxic? If you are a 10 year old abused child and the only adoptive parents who want you are a loving, qualified gay couple, is that toxic? If you think that the civil rights of gays and lesbians should be protected, is that toxic?
Meanwhile, eight California legislators, mainly Democrat, are challenging the archbishop’s policies even as they raise questions about separation of church and state. In response, Cordileone wonders if the politicians would HIRE as campaign managers people who side with their political adversary in an election.
What may be the most provocative aspect of this controversy is what the archbishop’s reforms mean for the capacity of the Roman Catholic Church to achieve discipline. Isn’t this a case of an archbishop actually laying out policy in line with church teaching? If he can do it, why can’t others? And if others don’t follow Cordileone’s lead, why don’t Jason and the Callers reflect more on what this says about their communion where truth with a capital-T prevails (at least in theory)?

Friday, February 27, 2015

"The Next Synod is a Battle between Christ and the Antichrist: - On whose side will you stand?"

Guy Noir, call your pharmacy! Alessandro Gnocchi, in his a Riscossa Cristiana column via a Rorate translation, writes:
[T]he Catholic world that is commonly called “not of the left” or “not progressive”, save the rare exceptions that are able to operate in a way that is truly going against the current, is made up of unconvincing intellectuals who are thirsting for legitimization ....

[There are those who] are scandalized by the fact that whoever tries to voice an objection in the face of the current situation is quickly labeled as “a divisive person”…The tactic of accusing dissidents of being “people who divide” usually is employed by those in power or by the spineless....

The Church of the last decades has functioned, or rather malfunctioned, by actually anchoring herself to a will to be the friend of Caesar. She has been weak to the point of losing blood on the ground of doctrine and morality. She has shown herself to be aggressive and unsparing in her repression and negation of every legitimate opinion that has the intent of reaffirming the doctrinal and moral truths. The result is to silence those whose intent is to defend her and to give free reign to those whose intent is to destroy her....

They take delight in idealistic political plans of action, while what is really going on is a war between Christ and the Antichrist on a scale never seen before, where the survival of the Catholic faith is at stake. I repeat: we are in a battle to preserve the Catholic faith, and all the battles being fought on various fronts, even those that are so important like moral truth, are only the terrain of confrontation in a war that is much deeper, involving metaphysics and religion. The most important thing in play is faith. But faith is preserved whole and intact or it is lost. You cannot preserve just parts of it according to taste or expediency.

... This is what has made the Synod on the Family recently concluded so dramatic an event and will make the next one even more so. What happened and will happen, will be not only a face-off between two different schools of thought, but the face-off between those who intend to preserve the Catholic faith as a whole and those who want to change it. In a few words, even if we are talking about bishops, cardinals and the Pope and therefore my words may appear to you to be harsh, even there we are dealing with the battle between Christ and the Antichrist. It remains only for us to choose which side to stand on.

Vatican correspondent: Synod Secretary Cnl Baldisseri blocked copies of books defending Church teaching from reaching Synod fathers

Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin reports that it was the Secretary of the 2014 Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who blocked the distribution of the pro-marriage book Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church when it was mailed to each of the Synod fathers. The book contains chapters defending Church teaching written by Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Brandmüller, and Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Müller, among others. Baldisseri was reportedly "furious" when he discovered that copies of the book had been mailed to each of the Synod fathers, and intercepted them. The books are believed to have been destroyed.

See also Dr. Ed Peters, "It was worse than a crime -- it was a blunder" (In the Light of the Law, February 26, 2015):
There are credible reports that Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri, head of the secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, ordered the confiscation of pro-marriage materials legally mailed to synod participants last October. In addition to whatever international and/or Vatican City State laws might have been violated thereby, and besides the possibility of the violation of Canon 1389 (abuse of ecclesiastical office), this action, if indeed it was taken by ranking prelate, offends at a level that will, I suggest, haunt Church staffers for years to come. Read more >>

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cardinal Marx declares German Church independent of Rome

"German Church President Marx: “We are not a branch of Rome and it will not be a Synod to tell us what to do here.” (Catholic Connection, February 26, 2015). Will the material schism become formal?:
Il Foglio reports that Cardinal Marx, the head of the German bishops conference and one of the eight ‘super cardinals’ chosen by Pope Francis has declared that the Synod is irrelevant to them on the questions under debate — he doesn’t have to listen to Rome anyways.
Cardinal Marx’s comments follow and dovetail the comments of a “Team Bergoglio” member, Cardinal Danneels, on the same subject. Here is our unofficial translation of the central paragraph of that report:
The prince of the Church has clarified that even if in teaching one remains in communion with the Church, in merely pastoral questions, “the Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we must do in Germany”. As the German paper, ilTagespost, writes, the Episcopal Conference of Germany has left the gate and does not seem to have any intention of paying any heed to the decisions of the pope which might follow. “We cannot wait until a Synod tells us how we ought to conduct ourselves on Matrimony and pastoral practice for the family”. Marx has also announced that in the next weeks there will be published a document in advance of the meeting in October, in regard to which Germany “has a certain point of view”. It is necessary, according to the judgement of the President of the Episcopal Conference, that one find “new approaches” capable of “helping and guaranteeing that the doors remain open”.
You can read the entire article from the German Paper, the Tagespost, in an unofficial English translation here.
The spirit of Luther appears to be far from dead in Germany, though, let's pray, not quite as dead as the German church.

[Hat tip to Nina Bryhn]

Pope of surprises: a new (non-Catholic?) doctor of the Church

Dr. R. Jared Staudt, "St. Gregory of Narek: Was the New Doctor of the Church a Catholic?" (CWR, February 26, 2015):
On February 21, Pope Francis announced his decision to make St. Gregory of Narek (950-1003) a Doctor of the Church. Once again, Pope Francis has caught us off guard and now many people are scrambling to figure out who St. Gregory was and what the implications of the new honor bestowed upon him are. One key question that is arising is: was St. Gregory a Catholic?

The short answer to this question seems to be no.
He was a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is a non-Chalcedonian Church (sometimes referred to somewhat pejoratively as a Monophysite Church), because of its rejection of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.
I untied the spittle flecked nutty of a message from the claw of the carrier pigeon that Guy Noir sent me. He sounded like he was out of Prozac again:
Pope Francis reminds me on a precocious collegiate contrarian. He simply can't play inside any box or not try to be just a bit outrageous. Here is this latest from CWR. Really, you have to laugh. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if someday he doesn't roll up his sleeve to reveal a couple of new tattoos... a soccer ball and ad majorem Dei gloriam, or something like that...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gilbert Meilaender on Reading Dorothy Sayers’s Play Cycle for Lent

"The Greatest Drama Ever" (Touchstone, February 19, 2013):
On June 4, 1955, C. S. Lewis wrote to Dorothy Sayers to thank her for a pamphlet and letter she had sent him. He noted, in passing, that “as always in Holy Week,” he had been “re-reading [Sayers’s] The Man Born to Be King. It stands up to this v. particular kind of test extremely well.” We might, I think, do far worse than imitate Lewis in our own Lenten reading... Read more >>
[Hat tip to JM]

Kasper with looser lips

In case you missed it: Hilary White, "Cardinal hits young traditionalists who want to ‘be clear in their positions’: calls it ‘the beginning of terrorism’" (LifeSiteNews, February 9, 2015). Read about what Cardinal Marx says here about homosexuals and how he construes the meaning of the Gospel. Appalling.

At the very end, Marx declares:
“This whole pontificate has opened new paths. You can feel it. Here in the United States everybody is speaking about Francis, even people not belonging to the Catholic Church. I have to say: The pope is not the church. The church is more than the pope. But there is a new atmosphere.”
And Guy Noir - Private Eye adds:
There is a new atmosphere. There is no mystery or uncertainty as to this. Silence is confirmation, especially in our age of instant communication. And the fact is that atmosphere matters immensely. The other unhappy fact is that the Pope is most certainly encouraging this atmosphere; the schismatics are encouraging faithfulness.

Here is Cardinal Marx's lecture on YouTube for any of you with the patience and fortitude to listen to it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fr. Perrone: ashes are intended to reach into our souls

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, February 22, 2015):
In the rite of imposition of ashes last Wednesday I note that not all people receive the ashes equally, which is to say, that the mark remaining on the forehead varies from one person to another. On some it leaves a dark, wide mark while on others it is more vague and smaller. I can’t account for these different results since I mark the foreheads on each person in the same way. This rather trite observation of mine about the distribution of ashes brings me to think that not everyone may take in the meaning of the ashes in the same way. For some, it may be as an exterior display of piety for the admiration of others–a most reprehensible thing, while others may grasp the true significance of this sacramental. Strictly speaking, to address someone as “dust” would be an insult. The priest says, “Dust are you and unto dust you will revert” (my literal translation). Yet these words express the literal truth about our bodily composition, as given in Genesis–God having formed the first man out of the mud of the earth. There was at that time no necessity for man to ‘revert’ to the earth by death. This was an outcome and punishment for original sin. For ourselves–being reminded of our fallen condition, as well as of our personal sins, on Ash Wednesday, if we are not humiliated by the words of the priest we ought to be humbled by them. Put on our heads, the site of human pride, the intended message is that we should shun the deceits of the self-inflating ego. While it is the body which is given the sign of censure, it’s intended that the ashes reach into the soul of a man since it is from there, within him, that he may become corrupted in body and in soul.

Without the humility that the ritual of the ashes is meant to excite in us, our Lenten deeds are useless: they would have no spiritual value or merit. Lent then is supposed to make it so that God gets glory (rather than oneself). Lent is a self-imposed punishment upon ourselves (always to be prudently carried out in manner and in degree) for deliverance from our self-destructive impulses and our wicked deeds. Seemingly ironical that one must die in order to live, it is in fact the sinful self which needs to be destroyed for grace to take hold of one’s life. This is the rule of the spiritual life. It’s a teaching much maligned these days and vehemently opposed by some, but I doubt that there has ever been any saint of the Church who has not said as much and lived according a penitential life.

Fridays are generally days of special observance for Catholics; this should be all the more so during Lent since Friday is the day of the week on which our Lord suffered and died to redeem the human race. Accordingly, the Church designates every Friday as a day to remember our Lord’s cross by our abstinence from meat. (Sundays, in a like way, commemorate Christ’s resurrection–the reason for the Sunday Mass obligation.) Our Grotto Lenten Fridays have for some years now been the time of the parish Fish Fry (or fish bake, if you so prefer) during which, for the final segment, we have been offering spiritual talks for those who may wish to hear them. I have been giving these talks for some years past now, and while I have complained (to myself) about the extra work in preparing for them, I know they have been spiritually profitable for some (not in the least, for myself). This year, the Knights of Columbus are again sponsoring the Fish Fry in the gym, and this time with talks being given by the Marian, Brother Esteban (whom you may have seen about the parish since just before Christmas). He is speaking on The Four Last Things, a traditional Lenten topic for reflection. By the time you read this his introductory talk will have already been given. I hope that through these little conferences you will derive added benefit for your Lent 2015....

Fr. Perrone

Fr. Rosica's spokesman tweets advice to Cnl. Burke: unbelievable

Christine Niles (CMTV), in a Facebook post on Feb. 22, 2015, writes: "Fr. Timothy Scott, official spokesman for Fr. Rosica's order (the Basilians), took down his tweet against Cdl Burke, hoping its memory would be forgotten. Not so fast--we have a screen capture of the tweet. Feel free to share far and wide." [Advisory: strong, obscene language]

Readers may remember our earlier post about Fr. Roscica's lawsuit against a Canadian blogger and the article on this by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute (February 19, 2015).

Update: Timothy Scott offers apology.

Extraordinary Community News - The Catholic practice of "The Churching of Women," Latin Mass listings

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

Tridentine Community News (February 22, 2015):
The Churching of Women

A beautiful traditional Catholic ceremony available to mothers is the blessing of a mother shortly after the birth of a child, known as the “Churching of Women.” All mothers of infants who have received the Sacrament of Baptism at one of our local Latin Mass communities are invited to receive this blessing within six weeks after the birth of the child. It can be done immediately after the Baptism or on another date. You may make arrangements with a priest or one of our altar servers.

The concept evolved from the Jewish custom of the Mikvah, the ritual purification of a woman after childbirth. There is no reference to purification in the text; it is a prayer of thanksgiving. The ceremony is found in the Rituále Románum and is thus an official ritual of the Church. It is conducted in Latin except for optional Exhortations (mini sermons) before and after the rite. Below is the English translation:
[At the appointed time, the woman will kneel in the Narthex, holding a lighted candle. The priest, wearing a white stole, will bless her with holy water, and say:]

℣. Our help is in the Name of the Lord. ℟. Who made Heaven and Earth.


She shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God her Savior: for this is the generation of them that seek the Lord.

Psalm 23

The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and all they that dwell therein.

For He hath founded it upon the seas; and hath prepared it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in His holy place?

The innocent in hands and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor.

He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Savior.

This is the generation of them that seek Him, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.

Who is this King of glory? the Lord Who is strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.

Who is this King of glory? the Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Antiphon She shall receive ,,,

[The priest places the end of his stole in the woman’s hand and leads her into the church while saying:]

Enter into the temple of God, adore the Son of the blessed Virgin Mary, who gave you fruitfulness of offspring.

[Outside the sanctuary, the mother kneels before the Altar and prays, thanking God for her child.]

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

(The priest recites the Our Father silently.)

℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. But deliver us from evil.
℣. Save your handmaid, Lord.
℟. Who hopes in Thee, my God.
℣. Send her help, Lord, from the sanctuary.
℟. And defend her out of Sion.
℣. Let not the enemy prevail against her.
℟. Nor the son of iniquity approach to hurt her.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come to Thee.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
℣. Let us pray.

Almighty, everlasting God, through the delivery of the blessed Virgin Mary, Thou hast turned into joy the pains of the faithful in childbirth; look mercifully upon this Thy handmaid, coming in gladness to Thy temple to offer up her thanks: and grant that after this life, by the merits and intercession of the same blessed Mary, she may merit to arrive, together with her offspring, at the joys of everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

[The priest sprinkles the mother with holy water in the shape of a Cross.]

The peace and blessing of God almighty, the Father  and the Son and the Holy Ghost, descend upon you and remain forever. ℟. Amen.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 02/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Lent)
  • Tue. 02/24 7:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Matthias, Apostle)
  • Sun. 03/01 2:00 PM: High Mass at Rosary Chapel at Assumption Church, Windsor (Second Sunday of Lent) – Special location this week only, as Holy Name of Mary Church is booked for an event.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for February 22, 2015. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

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

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cardinal Sarah: The Church of Africa will stand on orthodoxy no matter what the Europeans do

Recently named Prefect for Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah, in a new book entitled Either God or Nothing (Dieu ou rien) addresses a concept absolutely central in the current debates initiated from the Vatican and even the very top of the hierarchy, according to Rorate:
"The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice -- which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions -- is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. I affirm solemnly that the Church of Africa will firmly oppose every rebellion against the teaching of Christ and the Magisterium."
Thank you, Cardinal!!

The status of "science": Geocentrism, Evolution, Global Warming, Creationism, etc.

I have made the point that "hot button" issues related to "science" interest me precisely because of the controversy they engender among equally intelligent individuals who unaccountably disagree -- sometimes vociferously -- with one another, each just as sure as the other than he is right. This is interesting both psychologically and epistemologically, in terms of the "paradigms" that each view point assumes.

So when I got another carrier pigeon message from our friend, Guy Noir - Private Eye, precisely about this issue, I was thrilled ... only to have my hopes of giving this topic a thorough treatment dashed by an email I just received from the University of Notre Dame Press telling me they're interested in publishing my manuscript; and they want to know how soon I can get them the entire manuscript with completed edits. Ugh! What can you do? Sometimes I wish I could bi-locate like St. Padre Pio and be working on one thing at one desk and another thing at another right beside it.

So, in brief, here's the lowdown from Noir:
Over at Catholic World Report there is a feature on Karl Keating's takedown of the Geocentrists. [Carl E. Olson, "Circling the New Geocentrists: An Interview with Karl Keating" (CWR, February 13, 2015): "A new book by the founder of Catholic Answers addresses the scientific mistakes, theological errors, and conspiracy-minded promoters of geocentrism."] I too find the Geocentrists more than a bit ... discomfiting ... But, I think there is more than a small axe being ground here.

Are Geocentrists a priority of Catholic apologetics, at such a time as this?!

Rome bats its eyes at liberation theologians and maps out ways to welcome gay pairings, and we worry about the SSPX? Catholic biblical scholarship jumps its rails and exalts Kasper as exegete celbré, the Vatican gets more insistent about evolution than about classic doctrine, and we worry about a guy who writes a faithful Catholic commentary and promotes inerrancy? (Is this in sync with the Pontifical Biblical Commission saving its most worrisome rhetoric for 'fundamentalists,' or Fr. Feeney getting excommunicated while Fr. de Chardin gets exonerated by Fr. De Lubac?).

Geocentrists to me seem backwoods in their claims, but I think they seem pretty advanced in that most people can't follow either side of the arguments. But I am not sure they matter much regardless, given everyone blinks on certain questions of 'established science.' I get [understand] dismissing them, but not clubbing them. Here is [Jonah] Goldberg:
"All Hail Science!" (NRO, February 14, 2015):
So my column from yesterday was about the quizzing of Scott Walker and other Republicans about evolution. This is an incessant question every four years. And while it deserves to be cessant, it will never will be. (Okay, I’m done now.)

As many have noted, liberals in and out of the media are very selective in their celebration of science. Guy Benson reminded me of this nicely splenetic post I wrote three years ago in the Corner:
Why does the Left get to pick which issues are the benchmarks for “science”? Why can’t the measure of being pro-science be the question of heritability of intelligence? Or the existence of fetal pain? Or the distribution of cognitive abilities among the sexes at the extreme right tail of the bell curve? Or if that’s too upsetting, how about dividing the line between those who are pro- and anti-science along the lines of support for geoengineering? Or — coming soon — the role cosmic rays play in cloud formation? Why not make it about support for nuclear power? Or Yucca Mountain? Why not deride the idiots who oppose genetically modified crops, even when they might prevent blindness in children?

Some of these examples are controversial, others tendentious, but all are just as fair as the way the Left framed embryonic stem-cell research and all are more relevant than questions about evolution. (Quick: If Obama changed his mind about evolution tomorrow and became a creationist, what policies would change? I’ll wait.)

The point is that the Left considers itself the undisputed champion of “science,” but there are scads of issues where they take un-scientific points of view.

Sure they can cite dissident scientists — just as conservatives can — on this or that issue. But everyone knows that when the science directly threatens the Left’s pieties, it’s the science that must bend — or break. During the Larry Summers fiasco at Harvard, comments delivered in the classic spirit of open inquiry and debate cost Summers his job. Actual scientists got the vapors because he violated the principles not of science but of liberalism. During the Gulf oil spill, the Obama administration dishonestly claimed that its independent experts supported a drilling moratorium. They emphatically did not. The president who campaigned on basing his policies on “sound science” ignored his own hand-picked experts. According to the GAO, he did something very similar when he shut down Yucca Mountain. His support for wind and solar energy, as you suggest, isn’t based on science but on faith. And that faith has failed him dramatically.

The idea that conservatives are anti-science is self-evident and self-pleasing liberal hogwash. I see no reason why conservatives should even argue the issue on their terms when it’s so clearly offered in bad faith in the first place.
Recently, others have made this point better than I have, but as the Marines say of their rifles, this “news”letter is mine.

Anyway, what I find really intriguing is the way people talk about “science” as if it is so much more — and occasionally less — than it is. Critics on Twitter and in my e-mail box say we need to know if Scott Walker “believes in science,” as if his answer on evolution will tell us if he’s a witch burner or not.

Weigel's striking watchword on the papacy

I have not seen or heard George Weigel criticize any pope during his lifetime, except perhaps to mention that Pope St. John Paul II was never a micromanager, and that this was likely the price to be paid for the benefits of a papacy with great intellectual creativity and public impact. Yet both in his Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999) and in the Letters columns of the March 2015 issue of First Things, he claims the words of Melchior Cano, whose theology helped shape the Council of Trent, as his watchword in correspondence and conversation with and about the pope.

In the latter (p. 10), he quotes Cano as follows:
Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See -- they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations."
And he adds: "As it was with John Paul II and Benedict XVI, that has been my watchword in correspondence and conversation with Pope Francis, and in my writing on his pontificate; and it will continue to be so."

Hmmmm ... Okay ... A stalwart exemplar, no doubt.

No breeding like rabits. Periodic continence. A cinematic interpretation

[Advisory: "adult" content] Raider Fan, "No breeding like rabbits. Periodic continence." (Nesciencent Nepenthene, February 21, 2015), writes:
Sometimes these seemingly complicated moral matters are best expressed cinematically.
[Hat tip to R.F.]

Friday, February 20, 2015

Roger Scruton & Pergolesi's Stabat Mater

I do not, like Roger Scruton, believe that beauty can substitute for religion, nor is my interest in posting his video due to his thesis about "why beauty matters," although he does make some salient points. Rather, I am posting it because, as I have told my students, his discussion (beginning around 52:40) accompanied by his playing of Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat Mater on the piano, serves as an engaging introduction to this piece, which is particularly appropriate for Lent. I hope to post a couple of other performances of Pergolesi's piece, which was written just weeks before his death from tuberculosis on March 16, 1736, at the age of 26. Inspirational.

Why Beauty Matters ∇ Roger Scruton BBC from Vue Fine Art & Design on Vimeo.

I hope I'm not suffering psychological "imbalances"

I used to think the "Reform of the Reform," the purging of the Novus Ordo of all its accumulated abuses, a good thing. Fr. Joseph Fessio, James and Helen Hitchcock and a host of other faithful Catholics devoutly hoped and prayed for this. Adoremus Bulletin, a publication of the Adoremus Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, was founded by these individuals; and they both promoted the "Reform of the Reform."

After my more recent discovery of the older, more traditional liturgy, I began to lose interest in the "Reform of the Reform," which seemed a bit like a losing rearguard battle with little hope of getting anywhere. By the time Pope Benedict's publication of Summorum Pontificum (2007) and the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae (2011) guaranteeing universal permission for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and promoting its proper instruction, I had become more familiar with the ancient liturgy and learned not only to appreciate lack of politically-correct abuses and innovations attendant to it, but had time to process the learning curve involved in it and to appreciate its own particular virtues.

Now a ZENIT report (February 19, 2015) [via Rorate Caeli] on the Holy Father's recent two-hour meeting with the Roman Clergy in Rome has just been published in which he evidently declares his opinion that the "Reform of the Reform" is a "mistake," and seminarians (and presumably others, like myself?) attached to the "traditionalist" liturgy may be suffering "psychological" problems and certain "imbalances." I surely hope the Holy Father is being misquoted here, or, in order to regain my sanity, I may have to start praying for the gift of speaking in tongues -- a gift thus far denied me.

"The Actual Root Causes of Islamic Terrorism"

Worth a read: Ira Straus, "Hint: [The root causes] have nothing to do with Western 'exploitation'" (NRO, February 20, 2015):
Sensible people are discouraged from thinking about the root causes of Islamic terrorism, because of the routine nonsense from the Left, including the Obama administration, about “poverty” being the root cause. The root cause of leftists’ saying that is obvious: By “poverty,” they really mean Western “exploitation.” And if that is the cause, then Western military power is no solution.

Nevertheless, root causes do exist, and to have a successful military campaign we must know what they are.

The root causes are two, and only two: Islam, and Islamism.

Islamism has emerged in stages, out of two historical contingencies: (1) The historical failure of Islamdom, as experienced in its replacement by Christendom as the leading global force 500 years ago. For Islam, this was an unacceptable, insane inversion of God’s order. (2) The reaction to this in the 20th century was in the manner of what scholars are nowadays calling “generic fascism.” This reaction was able to grow into a movement thanks to the reversal of the spirit of the times from imperialism to anti-imperialism in the decades after 1914. It picked up steam with the access of huge oil wealth after 1970. Read more >>

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Antonio Socci: "Let's look [the martyrs] in the face"

How can the Church waste time with pseudo-questions, such as "communion for 'remarried' divorceed", when scores of Christians are being slaughtered every single day?

Antonio Socci,"'The Heroism of the Christian Martyrs' - Let's look at them in the face" (RC, February 19, 2015)

We need to look at those 21 young Christians in the face. Rather than deny Christ they underwent martyrdom in Libya and before having their throat cut by ISIS - in reading their lips (which was done) – they were continuously pronouncing the name of Jesus. Like the martyrs of old.


Their Bishop says: “That name whispered at the last instant was akin to the sealing of their martyrdom.” Coptic Christians are strong people, tempered by 1400 centuries of Islamic persecutions. They are heirs to that St. Athanasius of Alessandria, who saved the true Catholic Faith from the Arian heresy, held by most of the bishops [at that time]. They are tough Christians, not like the spineless, tepid-Catholics we are here in the West.

Here’s what real strength is: it’s not what hates and kills the defenseless (even children) and crucifies those who have a different faith, rapes the women - waving a black flag, faces hidden.

The real strength is the one of the defenseless who accept even martyrdom rather than deny their own dignity - that is to say, their faith - giving witness to the wonders of “ the Beautiful Love” as an ancient definition of the Son of God names Him.

"We didn’t get the shout-out, but we were very, very close..."

Sister Jeannine Gramick, left, and Francis DeBernardo, executive director of Catholic gay rights group New Ways Ministry, posed for a photo in front of St. Peter's Basilica after attending Pope Francis' weekly general audience Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The undercover correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, sent me a message by carrier pigeon today from Portland, Oregon, where he was on assignment, saying that he had just spent seven hours with high-tech surveillance equipment outside the Portland home of an Evangelical pastor who had just had his support pulled over his sympathetic LGBT stance. I telegraphed him back where he was staying at a small B&B next to a Whiskey Hill microbrewery in Yamhill County, saying never mind: John Allen's CRUX column at the Boston Globe had just posted an article by Kevin Eckstrom on the story.

Undaunted, Noir managed to get someone to telegraph him the Crux story, about which he carrier-pigeoned me back the following:
Remember, first it is the mantra that "marriage is for men and women only," then comes the revelation that it is also for "good faithful Jesus followers." Tradition comes to be more clearly understood through the Living church. Cardinal Schonborn, call your office a.s.a.p.! You are now a theological long-suffering servant like your heroes De Lubac on von Balthasar... Oh wait, this is only the Evangelicals. It could NEVER happen in Rome!
Phillips said he agrees with the denomination’s position that calls for “celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage,” but said the same standards should extend to LGBT members. Since 2004, the Covenant’s official position has been to not allow gay marriages, and pastors are told that individual beliefs “must never overshadow” denominational policy.

In an interview, Phillips said “there was a clear red line in terms of performing gay marriages, and I was more than ready to uphold that,” but he also said he supports “the invitation and welcome of gays and lesbians into full inclusion of the church, and that includes the invitation to marriage, or the invitation to celibacy.”

Phillips said he was assured “that the Covenant was a safe place for me to hold these personal convictions” before and after he was ordained in 2007, and that wide-ranging discussions would continue.

“The Covenant assured me everything was OK, until it wasn’t,” Phillips said in a video posted to the church’s website, adding that he was “heartbroken” to be told he and his church were no longer “Covenant-compatible.”

I’ve been on a journey,” Phillips said in the video. “I once believed that fully welcoming and including the LGBT community into our churches could not be reconciled with Christian teaching. These beliefs began to change, however, once I encountered good faithful Jesus followers who happened to be gay.”

Phillips said including LGBT parishioners “was not only consistent with the whole arc of Scripture, but was where the Holy Spirit was guiding the church today.”
God of surprises? But no surprise, really, from the galaxy of Evangel-millenials. But then again, as Noir reminded me, by means of yet another telegram from the Internet cafe next door to a Whiskey Hill, Oregon, microbrewery: there is this, also from CRUX... Nicole Winfield, "Gay Catholics get Vatican welcome, but no papal shout-out" (Crux, February 18, 2015):
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican did something it has never done before by giving a group of U.S. gay and lesbian Catholics VIP seats at Pope Francis’ weekly general audience Wednesday... Francis didn’t mention them...

Even without a papal shout-out, New Ways Ministry officials were nevertheless pleased that they had been invited to sit up front by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, the prefect of the papal household who dispenses the coveted reserved tickets for Francis’ audiences. Gaenswein for years has also been the top aide to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. [Inexplicably, Gaenswein is devoted to Benedict XVI, but oddly, w]hen Benedict headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he permanently prohibited the New Ways Ministry co-founders, Sister Jeannine Gramick, and the Rev. Robert Nugent, from ministering to gays after determining in 1999 that they didn’t sufficiently adhere to church teaching on the “intrinsic evil” of homosexual acts. [Liviing Tradition, I guess, or 'That Was Then, This is Now.' Hope and Chnage.] Nugent abided by the directive and died last year. Gramick has continued her ministry, changing religious orders to the Sisters of Loreto, and was on hand for Wednesday’s audience... “Pope Francis gives me hope,” she told The Associated Press. “To me, this is an example of the kind of willingness he has to welcome those on the fringes of the church back to the center of the church.” The group’s executive director, Francis DeBernardo, said New Ways Ministry had tried unsuccessfully under the previous two popes to get VIP seats for its Rome pilgrimages.

This time, the Vatican ambassador in Washington and the archbishop of San Francisco
forwarded their requests onto Rome [W-T ... ??], a sign that Francis’ call for the church to be more welcoming to gays has filtered down to local church leaders.

“We didn’t get the shout-out, but we were very, very close,” DeBernardo said.
Then came the call. It was Noir again, on the phone this time. I could tell he was disturbed. I could hear him taking a deep breath before he began:
"Pertinacious Papist? Um ... well, it's two steps forward, three steps back, or vica versa or something like that. It cannot be just me. You'd have to be willfully suspending your critical faculties to not see where this is all heading. But then again, wait: we are talking about a crowd that will run with a phrase like 'hermeneutic of continuity' even if it means swallowing the Resourcement Crowd being caricatured as staunch conservatives or Obama's coopting of the legacy of Ronald Reagan or the idea that No one Can Be More Catholic Than a Pope. How long do you think it will be until Harvey Milk and Ceasar Chavez will be facing bookplates in a USCCB volume on People of Faith and Goodwill?"
I asked him if he was running low on his Prozac. Sometimes it takes desperate measures these days to keep a guy on the straight and narrow.

Fr. Rosica brings lawsuit against a private Canadian blogger over

Michael Hichborn, "Fr. Rosica's Ironic Lawsuit" (Lepanto Institute, February 19, 2015). This is simply amazing. Apparently Fr. Rosica is offended by the blogger's public criticism of his (Rosica's) promotion of the October Synod's "liberal" agenda embodied by the mid-term Relatio. But there's much more to it than this, as you'll see in the article.

But wait, there's more:

See also "Conflicts of Interest" 02-19

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Revealing Dietrich von Hildebrand letter takes issue with previous Wanderer editor over new Mass

F.Y.I. [Disclaimer: See Rules 7-9]: "The Remnant Scrapbook History ~ In The Beginning" (Remnant, February 18, 2015) offers a meaty history of a couple of traditionalist brothers involved in the beginnings of two newspapers, The Wanderer and The Remnant, the second founded by Walter Matt as a result of a falling out over the new Mass with his brother, Alphonse Matt, who was then left as editor of The Wanderer. Walter Matt opposed the liturgical changes and Alphonse supported them.

Walter Matt’s strong stand against the new Mass was not shared by everyone, but Dietrich von Hildebrand quickly allied himself with Walter Matt and his fledgling Remnant in trying to mount a "Catholic counterrevolution." In a letter dated April 27, 1970, von Hildebrand wrote a letter to Walter Matt’s brother, the new editor of The Wanderer, summing up, in effect, the substance of the issue that had separated the two Matt brothers. Von Hildebrand wrote:
Dear Mr. Alphonse Matt:

I thank you very much for your kind letter. But I believe that there is some misunderstanding. You assume that the new ordo missae and especially the rubrics constitute for me merely a personally painful change by replacing something very beautiful and perfect with something less beautiful and less perfect. But unfortunately it is my conviction that the new ordo missae is the greatest pastoral mistake and that its consequences for the Church may be disastrous.

I agree however completely with you that it is a grave problem, whether one should criticize it publicly or only intra muros. Concerning this problem every one must follow his conscience. But I frankly cannot understand that you do not only abstain from a public criticism of the new ordo missae but make the “Wanderer” an instrument for propagating and praising the new ordo. You even suggest in your letter, dear Mr. Matt, that I should join this propaganda. As you say that you agreed with my article in “Triumph” in which I stress that obedience to practical decisions of the Pope does not imply approval of them – it is difficult for me to understand why you expect me to utter a univocal approval of something which seems to be, from the purely religious point of view, a “suicidal” practical decision. I do not believe that a mere loyalty to the present Pope who does not act against those who destroy the Catholic faith daily more and more – like Kueng, Schillebecks, Padovano, Greeley and many others – and who does not use the means by which the Church survived through 2000 years: anathema and excommunication – can preserve Catholic faith untarnished.

Dear Mr. Matt, it is painful for me to disagree with you because of my sincere admiration for the “Wanderer” throughout the past years and our warm personal union in Christ. This disagreement, however should in no way affect our friendly relations.

Faithfully yours in Christ
Dietrich von Hildebrand

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Pastor's Descant: St. Valentine, Lent prep, Ash Wednesday

In his "A Pastor's Descant" [link inactive] this week (Assumption Grotto News, February 15, 2015), Fr. Eduard Perrone writes, in part:
Observers of the traditional liturgical calendar could still celebrate in all truth Saint Valentine's Day on the 14th of this month. His feast day, however, had been excised from the revised ordo and so he lay languishing in liturgical obscurity (aside from the Tridentine liturgy) only to become celebrated by the world as a kind of religious Cupid, more an occasion of sin and scandal than of spiritual edification.

Lent is coming this week. Be prepared. Don't wait until Wednesday to figure out what you mean to do this Lent. It does take some planning to have a fruitful season of penitence. In whatever way you approach it, there ought to be prudence. Pledging heroic deeds that you can't sustain the forty days is foolish; doing little or nothing for Lent is dangerous and selfish. The self-imposed discipline is for personal gain and for readjusting the imbalance caused by your sinful deeds. Viewed in this light, you ought to welcome the approach of Lent and set about it doing something profitable. I wish to remind you here of the main points.

Every Catholic from age 14 must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent (the Fridays throughout the year are also days of abstention from meat). There are only two obligatory days of fasting which permit one full meatless meal, and one -- or even two -- smaller meal(s) taken according to need: these days are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This law of fasting binds everyone (unless one is dispensed for good cause by a priest) from ages 18 through 59. Marsh 19 (feast of St. Joseph) and March 25 (the Annunciation) are solemnitities (in the new rite calendar) wherein one may relax imposed penances. The entire forty days is a time for penance, however, and practices may vary according to prudence, personal preference and generosity. A Catholic home should undergo some noticeable change for this period and what is superfluous or boisterous ought to be omitted. Moreover, Lent is not a time for parties, movies and entertainments; rather it's the time to quit otherwise lawful enjoyments for the sake of Christ and in recognition of His suffering for our redemption....
For those of you in the area, the Assumption Grotto Gift Shop & Bookstore has an abundance of good reading material for Lent (as well as one of the best Catholic bookstores anywhere around). I found a promising book of Lenten sermons by St. Francis de Sales, which looks to make some good reading for the season; and there's much, much more.

Monday, February 16, 2015

WASP infestations

Our own Guy Noir - Private Eye, referring to Mark Tooley's "Triumph and Decline of America’s Protestant Ascendancy" (American Spectator, February 3, 2015), writes:
He talks here about WASPs (and Catholic-WASP hybrids like the Kennedys), but I believe there is a Catholic parallel. I think immediately of Robert Hughes, Gary Wills, and Wilfrid Sheed... Raises a whole set of thoughts and questions about Modernity, Education, and Affluence. Especially this:
In a 1984 C-SPAN interview with Brian Lamb, Alsop good-naturedly smokes through half a pack of cigarettes while admitting the WASP ascendancy is over, perhaps for the best. In his final days before dying in 1989 he repeatedly asked listeners if God exists. His funeral at a historic Episcopal D.C. church concluded with a hymn that had always concluded his family reunions in his youth, “God Be with You till We Meet Again.”

Alsop’s religious doubts were evidently common among the Georgetown Set. Phil Graham, during his ongoing collapse, had sought spiritual solace from New York Times columnist James Reston, mistakenly believing him to be devout. Reston could not help. The Set, along with the larger WASP elite, lost their confidence and prominence partly because they had lost their own faith, only periodically celebrating rites at tasteful Protestant sanctuaries. Alsop’s stepson, after his own spiritual crisis, became a Unitarian Universalist minister.

Back to the Prayer Breakfast dustup over "high horses" and Christians criticizing Islam

Mark Tooley, "Obama, Lincoln, and Niebuhr" (First Things, February 13, 2015). Solid.

The Seminary of Montreal: powerhouse seminary of the 19th century

My friend, A.S., writes from California:
I think you would enjoy the first 8 to 10 pages of In Its Corporate Capacity by Brian Young (history, McGill U.). He studies the Sulpician Seminary in Montreal as a business. The first pages are devoted to the founder, Fr. Jean Jacques Olier. I have always wondered why the Sulpicians had such an enviable reputation. Professor Young explains why. Fr. Olier was a genius. From one seminary in Paris, soon he had 20 all over France. The relevant text is online at Google Books:
This makes for an inspiring and eye-opening story that helps to fill in some significant gaps, certainly in my own intellectual history of the Church in the New World.

Why Francis is not a fan of Benedict's Anglican Ordinariate

Sandro Magister, "Ecumenism Behind Closed Doors" (www.chiesa, February 2, 2015): "While Benedict XVI made it easier for Anglicans in disagreement with the “liberal” direction of their Church to enter into the Catholic Church, Francis is not, he prefers that they remain where they are. The revelations of two Anglican friends of the pope." An interesting and revealing study.

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

"Lord Jesus, receive the souls of these Thy martyrs"

The words are those of our friend, canon lawyer and seminarian Tim Ferguson, about the twenty-one Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS radical Muslims. Our President, still in his fantasy world where all religious differences can be settled by reasonable men on a golf course, evidently could not bring himself even to refer to the victims as "Christians" or their killers as "radical Muslims." He called the Coptic Christians "Egyptian Citizens." Indeed. It's a wonder he didn't summarily dismiss the acts as "workplace violence."

If you have a heart, pray for the souls of these Christian martyrs. As one commentator wrote: "Even under the blade, some were making their last prayers and as the blade came to their neck they all cried in unison 'Ya Rabbi Yasou’ (O My Lord Jesus) the caption by ISIS stated 'these insisted to remain in unbelief.'” You should force yourself to watch the video of the beheadings even thought it is brutal. Hollywood movies can be as brutal. But this is real.

Then check out the Christian commentary by Walid Shoebat HERE. Wretched times.
[Hat tip to T.F.]

Cardinal Kasper's earlier denials of the miracles and prophecies of Jesus gain new airing

Joe Sparks, "The Gospel According to Cardinal Kasper: Did the Miracles and Prophesies of Jesus Really Happen?" (The Catholic Household, February 4, 2015), reveals some disturbing realities about the Cardinal's perspective. Quoting from Walter Cardinal Kasper's Jesus the Christ (Paulist Press, 1976), Sparks offers a number of passages strikingly at odds with Church teaching. For example, about our Lord's miracles, he writes:
"The probability is that we need not take the so-called ‘nature miracles’ as historical.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 90-91)
"We must assume therefore that we are faced not with historical details but with stylistic devices intended to attract the attention and raise excitement in the minds of those listening….” (Jesus the Christ, p. 127)
All of which, of course, is brazenly at odds with Catholic teaching. For example, in the documents of Vatican II we find this:
“Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven.” (Dei Verbum, 19)
Which means that Kasper is more beholden to the currently ascendant and fashionable Biblical hermeneutics of the self-congratulatory post-Enlightenment establishment emanating from the erstwhile fevered swamplands of liberal Protestant "higher criticism" than he is with the teaching authority of his own Church. Should anyone be surprised?

Read Sparks' article. It's a good, solid exposé that deserves reading; and it goes far beyond the two bits I've quoted above.

Court: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Commisioner Volpi guilty of defamation and lies, must pay 20K Euros, make public apology

If this report is true, this is utterly deplorable. For English account see Adfero's post (RR, February 17, 2015). The Franciscans of the Immaculate have been eviscerated as a result.

There is no easy way to express the magnitude of the destruction of this religious order. There is, however, the following video we posted back on February 2nd of this year, a video claimed to have been obtained exclusively by Rorate, in which the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate filmed an entire day, documenting the way of life in their seminary for posterity. That day was December 8, 2013, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the very day the Theological Seminary of the Immaculate Mediatrix (STIM) was closed by their Apostolic Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi.

Update (2/27/2015): Confirmed: court record confirming Volpi must pay by March 3rd, etc.
[Hat tip to K.M. Tierney]

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bishop Athanasius Schneider visits USA SSPX seminary, continues doctrinal discussions per CDF decision of Sept. 23, 2014

As reported by DICI HERE via Rorate Caeli HERE:
"These meetings are a way of continuing the doctrinal discussions between the Society of St. Pius X and the Roman authorities « in a larger and less formal context than that of the preceding meetings », according to the decision made during the meeting of Bishop Fellay with Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on September 23, 2014.

"The [February 11, 2015] visit in Winona coincided with the annual meeting of priests, during which 80 priests of the United States District met at the seminary for a week of studies."

John Allen: the "real Pope Francis," the global village College of Cardinals, and Vatican money

John L. Allen, Jr., "Will the real Pope Francis please stand up?" - "PLUS: The College of Cardinals becomes a global village, and Vatican money in context" (Crux, February 14, 2015).

[Hat tip to E. Echeverria]

Is the "Reform of the Reform" dead?

As a friendly commenter noted recently, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society in England and Wales, Joseph Shaw [pictured right], has an excellent series of articles on why trying to find a "compromise" between the traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo is so difficult. He quotes Shaw as follows:
"I have in the past pointed out the practical, pastoral problem of the RotR [Reform of the Reform]: far from it being, as its proponents ceaselessly claim, easier to foist on a parish than the Traditional Mass, it is harder. The argument is simple: if a priest gets rid of the Altar girls, moves the Altar round to celebrate facing East, and introduces some Latin, in the typical parish Novus Ordo, he will create a civil war in the parish which he will almost certainly lose. If he introduces a Traditional Mass in a new time-slot, he may blot his copy-book with a hostile Dean and Bishop, but he will very probably get away with it in the short and medium term. (In the long term, of course, he may be moved.) This has been confirmed over and over again. Many of the commentators over on the NLM need to free themselves from their illusions on this. RotR is not the easy option.

"But I want to introduce another idea. While I am in favour of Latin, worship ad orientem and pretty well everything the RotR promotes, it is clear to me that the difficulty of imposing them on the Novus Ordo is not just a matter of parochial habits. The problem with the texts and ceremonies, in terms of bringing them closer to the Traditional Mass, is not just a matter of how many changes you would need to make. The problem is that the Novus Ordo has its own ethos, rationale and spirituality. It encapsulates its own distinct understanding of what liturgical participation is. It is to promote this kind of participation that its various texts and ceremonies have been done as they are. If you put it in Latin, ad orientem, and especially if you start having things not currently allowed, like the silent Canon, then you undermine the kind of participation for which the Novus Ordo was designed.

"This means that there is a danger, in promoting something which amounts to a compromise between the two Missals, of falling between two stools."
Here are the links to the series of articles by Joseph Shaw, all from LMS Chairman - The Chairman's Blog:
  1. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform? Part 1" (February 23, 2014)
  2. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform? Part 2: The Liturgical Movement" (February 24, 2014)
  3. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform Part 3: Falling between two stools" (February 25, 2014)
  4. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform, 4: Novus Ordo in Latin?" (February 26, 2014)
  5. "The Death of the Reform of the Reform, 5: 1965?" (February 27, 2014)

Michael Voris interviews John Allen, Edward Pentin, others on various defects in Catholic media coverage

[Advisory & Disclaimer: See Rules 7-9] "On this episode of Mic'd Up, Michael Voris breaks down the players in the UN-Catholic Media: various media outlets that present themselves as Catholic but undermine the Faith.

"Guests include Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register and John Allen of Boston Globe's Crux, along with CMTV's own Matthew Pearson, Christine Niles, and Peter O'Dwyer."

  1. [0.14] Voris' introduction to this episode of Mic'd Up
  2. [4.15] Interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register
  3. [10:05] Conversation with Matthew Pearson about anti-Catholic dissenting "Catholic" media outlets
  4. [34:33] Discussion with Chistine Niles and Peter O'Dwyer about the "Reactionary Catholic Media"
  5. [48:10] Interview with John Allen about secular media coverage of the Catholic Church [very interesting]
In the fourth section, Christine Niles summarizes how CMTV intends to position itself between two extremes it wants to avoid: (1) what she calls the "Church of Nice" Catholics, who provide the wrong diagnosis and the wrong cure for the current crisis, because they think everything is rosy, don't see the crisis, and regard everything coming from this pontificate as perfectly fine, and therefore see nothing to worry about; and (2) "Reactionary" Catholics, who provide the right diagnosis, recognize there are real problems that sometimes go all the way up to the top, but they provide the wrong cure, because their modus operandi is to mock, denigrate, bash and trash the Holy Father in ways that are absolutely unacceptable, and they drive people to independent Catholic communities that may be materially, if not formally, schismatic.

[I'm paraphrasing here, in the foregoing as well as in what follows.]

What, then, is the right diagnosis and right cure? Whatever the problems, says Voris, you can't depart from Peter ... even if Peter is wrong (and he won't be wrong on official teaching because that is protected by the Holy Spirit), and he can be wrong in the way he says something, even the way in which he understands things on the natural level. The doctrine of papal infallibility, stresses Niles, has very narrowly defined parameters. The Holy Father can say things that are vague, confusing, even wrong. But one must never depart from Peter. At one point, Voris refers to renegade bishops and stresses that even if they are notorious dissidents who are on the wrong side of major moral issues, one must respect the authority of their office and remain under their authority so long as they require of you only what is in keeping with Church teaching.

Related responses:

Extraordinary Community News - Shorter visits to the Blessed Sacrament; Paul Schultz to speak on "Juventútem: Young Adults That Love the Latin Mass"; Mass schedule

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

Tridentine Community News (February 15, 2015):
Shorter Visits to the Blessed Sacrament

Last week’s column mentioned the benefits to be gained from making a Holy Hour. Holy Mother Church does not require us to spend that much time in Eucharistic Adoration, however. Even short visits to the Blessed Sacrament have always been encouraged. Consider stopping by a nearby church or adoration chapel on your way to or from work, on your lunch hour, or during your errands.

A Partial Indulgence is granted to the faithful who visit the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration for any amount of time; no particular prayer or action is required. Even the briefest of visits qualifies. If you have 15-20 minutes, you can gain a Plenary Indulgence by praying the Holy Rosary in a church, privately or with a group, under the usual conditions of Confession with 20 days, reception of Holy Communion [within a small number of days], prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions, and freedom from attachment to sin. Praying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament is a beautiful form of devotion.

If you’re looking for shorter prayers to offer, a Partial Indulgence is granted to those who “offer any duly approved prayer to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament (e.g., the Adóro Te Devóte, the prayer O Sacrum Convívum, or the Tantum Ergo)”. The above quote and the approved texts below for the latter two are from the Enchrídion Indulgentiárum / Manual of Indulgences:

O Sacrum Convívium

O sacrum convívium, in quo Christus súmitur; recólitur memória passiónis ejus, mens implétur grátia, et futúræ glóriæ nobis pignus datur.

O sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

Tantum Ergo

Tantum ergo sacraméntum
venerémur cérnui:
et antíquum documéntum
novo cedat rítui:
præstet fides suppleméntum
sénsuum deféctui.
Genitóri Genitóque
laus et jubilátio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedíctio:
procedénti ab utróque
compar sit laudátio. Amen.

℣. Panem de cælo praéstitisti eis,
℟. Omne delectaméntum in se habéntem.

Orémus. Deus, qui nobis sub sacraménto mirábili Passiónis tuæ memóriam reliquísti: tríbue, quaésumus, ita nos Córporis et Sánguinis tui sacra mystéria venerári, ut redemptiónis tuæ fructum in nobis júgiter sentiámus: Qui vivis et regnas in saécula sæculórum. Amen.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high,
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty. Amen.

℣. You have given them bread from heaven,
℟. Having all delight within it.

Let us pray. O God, Who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Your Passion: grant, we implore You, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Your Redemption. You Who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Monthly Talk at OCLMA Reception Next Sunday

All are invited to attend the talk being given at the monthly reception after the 9:45 AM Mass at the Academy of the Sacred Heart next Sunday, February 15. Paul Schultz, co-founder of Juventútem Michigan, will speak on “Juventútem: Young Adults That Love the Latin Mass”. Come and learn about this international phenomenon; our local chapter is one of the most active on the globe. The Oakland County Latin Mass Association is endeavoring to invite additional speakers to future receptions in 2015.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 02/16 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria)
  • Tue. 02/17 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Votive Mass of the Angels)
  • Wed. 02/18 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Ash Wednesday)
  • Wed. 02/18 7:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption Grotto (Ash Wednesday)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for February 15, 2015. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]