Tuesday, 19 January


Grim numbers from Iraq: thousands of civilians suffer death, displacement, slavery [CNA Daily News]

New York City, N.Y., Jan 19, 2016 / 04:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A new United Nations report has tried to count the civilian toll of continuing conflict in Iraq, largely at the hands of Islamic State militants, and the numbers are "staggering."

“Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Jan. 19.

“The figures capture those who were killed or maimed by overt violence, but countless others have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care.”

He said the report showed the sufferings of Iraqi civilians and “starkly illustrates what Iraqi refugees are attempting to escape when they flee to Europe and other regions.”

“This is the horror they face in their homelands.”

Between January 2014 and October 2015, at least 18,802 civilians were killed in Iraq. About half of them died in Baghdad province. Another 36,000 were injured.

The deadliest tactic against civilians has been the use of improvised explosive devices, both in vehicles and in the vests of suicide bombers.

Another 3.2 million people were internally displaced in the 21-month time period measured by the report. The displaced include about 1 million school-aged children.

The figures were recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering,” the report said.

The report noted the Islamic State group’s continued “systemic and widespread violence and abuses” and its systematic persecution of different ethnic and religious communities.

“These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide,” the report continued.

The Islamic State has controlled Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, since June 2014. It has imposed a rigid version of Islamic law in territory it controls, but its rule also features arbitrary violence.

The U.N. estimates that the group holds about 3,500 slaves. The slaves are mainly women and children of the Yazidi religion. Some of the women are killed for trying to escape or for refusing sexual relations with Islamic State fighters.

The report said that 800 to 900 children in Mosul have been abducted and put through Islamic State religious and military training. There have been accounts of child soldiers who were killed for fleeing fighting on the front lines of Iraq’s Anbar province.

Islamic State courts have sentenced their opponents to punishments including death, stoning, or amputation. Those targeted included people affiliated with the government, doctors, lawyers, journalists, and tribal and religious leaders.

The report said actual casualties could be “much higher than reported” due to difficulties in verifying incidents. This is true particularly of Anbar province, in Iraq's west, much of which is controlled by the Islamic State.

The Islamic State group has targeted ancient sites, churches, mosques, shrines, and tombs it considers to be un-Islamic.

U.N. agencies have also received reports of human rights violations and abuses by pro-government forces. These include unlawful killings, abductions, movement restrictions, and forced evictions. Military airstrikes, shelling and other operations have killed civilians and damaged their property.

At least 2,365 civilians were killed by unknown perpetrators in 2015 from May 1 to October 31.

The U.N. report noted new discoveries of mass graves. Many of the mass graves are recent, while some date to the time of Saddam Hussein.

Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq, especially denounced the Islamic State group’s treatment of civilians.

“I strongly reiterate my call to all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians from the effects of violence,” he said.


A Word about the Word - DSPT Aquinas Lecture 2016 [News - thomistica]

Fr. Olivier-Thomas Venard, OP, Professor of New Testament and Vice Director of the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem, will deliver the 2016 Aquinas Lecture at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology in Berkeley, California. In his presentation, “Life, Language and Christ: A Thomistic Approach,” Venard will posit that Aquinas sees a deep analogy, even a participation, between the Word and our words. The event, to be held Tuesday, February 23rd, at 7:30 pm PST (10:30 pm EST), will be available via live-streaming.


As Supreme Court takes up immigration case, LA archbishop weighs in [CNA Daily News]

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2016 / 04:44 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on an immigration enforcement case will affect many immigrants in the U.S., and the Los Angeles archbishop says the court should rule on the side of humanity.

“I cannot speak to the constitutional questions in this case. I speak as a pastor. And as a pastor, I know that the situation is unjust and intolerable for millions of people who are forced to live in the shadows of our great country,” Archbishop Jose Gomez said Jan. 19.

“People do not cease to be our brothers and sisters because they have an irregular immigration status. No matter how they got here, no matter how frustrated we are with our government, we cannot lose sight of their humanity – without losing our own.”

The Supreme Court will rule on the State of Texas’ challenge to President Obama’s immigration program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Under the program, as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants who are the parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents could apply for work permits and avoid deportation.

The program was set up on the president’s own initiative without congressional approval.

The State of Texas, acting on behalf of 26 states, challenged the program’s constitutionality and has won every legal challenge so far, the Associated Press reports. In November the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the states.

Texas had asked the Supreme Court not to hear the case. However, the court’s justices have added their own questions to the case about whether the president had violated his obligations to enforce the nation’s laws, the New York Times reports.

U.S. solicitor general Donald Verrilli Jr. said ending the program would force millions of people “to continue to work off the books, without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families.”

He said the program will discourage illegal hiring that depresses wages for American workers.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case shows that it recognizes the importance of the constitutional concept of the separation of powers.

The Obama administration had challenged Texas’ legal standing to challenge the program. However, lower courts have said Texas has standing because it would be responsible for subsidizing costs like drivers licenses and work permits for 500,000 people if the program stands.

Arguments in the case will take place in April. The Supreme Court will rule on the case in June.

An estimated 11 million people are in the United States illegally.

Archbishop Gomez said the Supreme Court may be “our last best hope to restore humanity to our immigration policy,” given lawmakers’ inaction.

“Every day in our parishes and schools and neighborhoods, we see the rising human toll of our failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform, especially on families and children,” he said. The president’s executive actions are a temporary solution, but one that provides “a measure of mercy.”

The Obama administration’s enforcement actions have focused on criminals, people who are threats to national security or public safety, and people who have recently entered the country.

Under President Obama, a record high 409,000 people were deported in 2012. However, in the last fiscal year about 235,000 people were deported, the smallest number since 2006.

Archbishop Gomez said that many of those deported are parents forced to leave behind their spouses and children.

“Millions more are living in constant fear that they too might be rounded up for deportation, that one day without warning they won’t be coming home for dinner and may never see their families again,” he said.




"What is it with the giggling about Trump saying 'Two Corinthians' instead of 'Second Corinthians'? Either one sounds fine to me." [The Badger Catholic]

Having once heard a lector at Sunday Mass at our parish introduce a reading as from "Paul's letter to the Philippines", I'm with Althouse's quoted commenter on this one.



Cardinal Pell: The Free Market Is Here to Stay [The Daily Register]

By Edward Pentin | Cardinal George Pell has told religious and business leaders in Rome that the free market is “here to stay” and “no better” economic model is currently available. Addressing delegates at a conference on Sunday hosted by The...


Mitarbeitermotivation à la Vatican [Beiboot Petri]

Viele kennen das ja aus dem Berufsleben: Wie bemüht die Personalabteilungen in großen und kleinen Unternehmen sind, dafür zu arbeiten, dass die Mitarbeiter zufrieden sind.
Das fängt schon bei der Suche nach dem Personal an, wenn sich ein Unternehmen von seiner besten Seite darstellt, aufzeigt, welche Leistungen den Mitarbeiter erwarten und zu welch gutem Image der Mitarbeiter in Zukunft beitragen kann... So ist es und so soll es ja auch sein. Motivierte Mitarbeiter bringen Freude und Begeisterung in ihre Arbeit ein - das ist eine WIN-WIN Situation für Mitarbeiter und Unternehmen.

So hält man es eigentlich in der westlichen Welt. In der ganzen westlichen Welt? Nein, es gibt eine Ausnahme:

Wir haben es ja schon mehrmals kurz angerissen. Die Mitarbeiter im Vatikan haben seit der Übernahme des Pontifikates durch Papst Franziskus nix mehr zu lachen. Offiziell werden ja die Sklaventreiber und Ausbeuter in der westlichen Welt von seiten des Papstes gerne mal beschimpft und als das Böse schlechthin niedergemacht .... aber vor seiner Haustür sieht er das mit dem Ausbeuten und beschimpfen ganz anders.

Es begann kurz nach seiner Amtsübernahme, als der Papst den Mitarbeitern erstmal den Bonus gestrichen hat, den die Mitarbeiter normalerweise zu Beginn eines neues Pontifikates bekommen.
Danach wurden auch noch die Gehälter gekürzt, so dass sich so mancher Mitarbeiter einen Zweitjob suchen musste, um seine Familie zu ernähren. Und um die Stimmung weiter zu steigern, wurden dann auch noch die Arbeitszeiten erhöht.
Freut Euch! Wird man sich wohl gedacht haben - es ist eine Ehre für diesen Papst zu arbeiten.

Könnte man fast glauben, wenn da nicht gestern der Catholich Herald auf die bedrückende Situation innerhalb des Vatikans hingewiesen hätte:
"Manche schämen sich dafür, wenn sie ihren Leuten erzählen, dass sie im Vatikan arbeiten"
Mit diesen Worten führt der Catholic Herald zu einem Interview mit Erzbischof Angelo Becciu, der immer wieder betont, dass der Vatikan keine Räuberhole sei. Und auch keine Ansammlung von Falschheit und Neid. Er findet es extrem ungerecht, dass Mitarbeiter, die früher sehr stolz darauf waren für den Papst und die Kirche zu arbeiten, permanent angegriffen und beschuldigt werden.

Harte Zeiten im Vatikan, könnte man da fast glauben, aber diese Situation zieht sich jetzt über die Jahre durch die Medien ... vielleicht ist das ein weiterer Grund, warum derzeit so wenige Besucher zu den Generalaudienzen oder zum Angelus-Gebet kommen.

Wir können nur beten und auf bessere Zeiten hoffen, auch und besonders für die Mitarbeiter, die dort täglich ihren Dienst tun.


Note on Brothers K [Just Thomism]

The definitive speeches of Ivan and Alyosha are both discourses on children who have just died. Ivan uses a child who he never knew to make a philosophical point whereas Alyosha eulogizes a once broken, rotten and spiteful child who was redeemed by someone who loved him in his rottenness.


Storytime: When our lord and savior Pope Francis Bergoglio Threw a Raging Fit So Bad They Had to Clear Out the Luxury Hotel He Lives In…. [Barnhardt]

So, you’ve totally heard the reportage on the time, during the last Sin-nod Against the Family, the early evening of Monday, October 12, ARSH 2015 that our lord and savior Jorge Bergoglio threw a massive, raging fit after being told of the letter sent to him by 13 Cardinals expressing their concerns about the format and goings-on at the Synod?

No?  You didn’t hear about that? You mean the press in the English speaking world suppressed this? Almost as if the press – the FREEMASONIC ATHEIST GLOBAL MEDIA JUGGERNAUT – wanted to protect the false image of Bergoglio as a “kindly old man” and not the raging diabolical narcissist thug that he is?


Well, let’s take care of that.

I am posting this because I have a contact in Rome who was told about it by a priest who WAS PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN THE DINING HALL AND HEARD IT WITH HIS OWN EARS.

Long-short, Bergoglio, when told about the 13 Cardinals’ letter immediately flew into a screaming rage, which dozens of people there present heard.  He was screaming, “If this is the case, they [the 13 cardinals] can leave. The Church does not need them. I will throw them all out!” And, repeatedly, “I’ll take their hats! I’ll take their hats!”, meaning, he would depose them, stripping them of the Cardinalcy. It was further reported that he was raging so hard that he “caught the vapors” and had a fake heart attack thing.  (No, that’s not queeny at all.  Nooo….)

Here’s the link to the Italian reportage – one of many.  It was all over the Italian press.


Bergoglio’s raging was so loud and so violent that the Swiss Guards CLEARED THE DINING HALL, including the priest that related/confirmed all of this to my contact in Rome.  This incident is now COMMON KNOWLEDGE in Rome – too many people eye/earwitnessed it for it not to get around.  And, it was widely reported in the Italian press, but, as I said, it was buried and suppressed in the English-speaking world.

Now, ask yourself, if Pope Benedict XVI, flawed as he was, but still, you know, a ROMAN CATHOLIC, had so much as raised his voice beyond a whisper, the entire planet would have been saturated with breathless reportage of “former Nazi” Ratzinger blah, blah, blah….

In Bergoglio, we have a genuine, full-blown diabolical narcissist tyrant THUG squatting on the See of Peter, throwing screaming rage fits and NOT. A. WORD.

You know why? Because Bergoglio is systematically destroying the Church as an institution, AND driving countless human souls into hell with his humanistic, narcissistic, nihilistic heresy.  He is doing exactly what the prince of this world, satan, and his Freemasonic, New World Order toadies want.  Priests all over the world are reporting that not only are people NOT returning to the Church, NOT returning to the sacraments, some that do come are, in fact, coming into confessionals demanding that the priest apologize TO THEM ON BEHALF OF THE CHURCH for “judging” them – CITING POPE FRANCIS AND HIS PUTRID HERESIES EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Not only is Bergoglio NOT bringing anyone to the True Faith, he is spreading his own diabolical narcissism – and yes, diabolical narcissism is most definitely contagious.  Raging thugs beget raging thugs. Loveless, self-absorbed heretics beget more loveless, self-absorbed heretics.

So, wake up, Pollyanna.  Bergoglio’s “kindly old man” schtick is as phony as Bruce Jenner’s left tit.

our lord and savior, Jorge Bergoglio, is, quite simply, a complete asshole.

(Coincidentally, Steve Skojec over at OnePeterFive just posted a piece on this very topic…)


Did Pope Francis Threaten the Authors of the 13 Cardinals Letter? [OnePeterFive]


While the Synod of Bishops on the Family was being conducted in Rome last October, the revelation of a letter expressing the concerns of 13 cardinals over the proceedings marked a turning point in the event. As I reported at the time, it was on 8 October, 2015, that a close friend of the pope himself – the La Stampa journalist Andrea Tornielli – first publicly mentioned the existence of the 13 Cardinals Letter, which had been given to Pope Francis three days earlier by George Cardinal Pell. The cardinals’ main concern was that the Synod was being manipulated in an unorthodox direction with the help of new Synod rules and the placement of questionable prelates in important synodal positions. Tornielli’s own treatment of the letter was dismissive, implying that the cardinals’ concerns were unfounded, and thus, little better than conspiracy theories that should be ignored.

On 12 October, the well-informed Vatican expert Sandro Magister published a full version of the letter in order to give the public a just assessment of what these prominent cardinals – among them the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith himself, Cardinal Gerhard Müller – were saying, and whether or not their concerns were valid. (At the time, Magister’s Vatican press credentials were revoked; it appears that his contacts within the Apostolic See were not.)

Word soon spread that the same day the letter was made public, Pope Francis unleashed an angry public outburst against its authors. The first reports of the spectacle were published by journalist Roberto d’Agostino, founder of the Italian tabloid website Dagospia. The site — known for interspersing news with salacious gossip and lewd pictures — is not fitting to receive a link from a Catholic publication. But the story was soon picked up by the more reputable Italian daily, il Giornale. These early reports indicated that during the evening of 12 October, after learning of Magister’s publication of the letter, the Holy Father fell into a fit of rage at his residence at Casa Santa Marta — in front of some priests and bishops then present. He was said to have shouted, “If this is the case, they [the 13 cardinals] can leave. The Church does not need them. I will throw them all out!”

At the time of this report, I contacted one of the editors with whom I was then working, and his reaction was that it came from a gossip website and that he did not believe the story. With nothing further to go on, I dropped it.

Last December, however, several other incidents brought this topic back to mind. First, I received an email from a priest friend who, after a recent visit to Italy, shared with me that during his visit he had heard from several sources about the incident at Santa Marta. This priest then put me in contact with another priest — an Italian — whom, for the sake of anonymity I will call Fr. Giuseppe. It was Fr. Giuseppe who had personally told my priest friend about the incident. Fr. Giuseppe responded to own my inquiry as follows:

Greetings! The incident certainly appears to be true. I have heard from several second-hand sources who know people who were present that the Holy Father had a terrible outburst in the dining room at Santa Marta in front of bishops, priests, seminarians and many others. He was apparently screaming “Full power has been given to me! I run the show around here. Who do these cardinals think they are? I will remove their [red] hats.” He was so angry that he almost fainted; some say he almost had a heart attack. People were shocked, and the news spread like wildfire in certain circles in Rome.

As a journalist, I wanted more to go on, so I asked if Fr. Giuseppe would contact those those with whom he had spoken who had first-hand sources. Would any of them, I asked, be willing to write down carefully and accurately what they had witnessed, even if only anonymously?

The unanimous response was a resounding, “No.” All of these eye-witnesses appeared to be too afraid even to write an anonymous account of what had transpired! Father Giuseppe was unwilling to let it go. He also had several contacts who live at Casa Santa Marta. Surely, these must have been present in the dining room when Pope Francis spoke, or had at least have heard about what happened? Their response to his question was not to deny it, but only to change the topic. Their unwillingness to confirm it was telling, but their refusal to deny it even moreso.

Father Giuseppe assured me, however, that the story about the papal outburst of anger is now known everywhere in Rome, a city “where there are no secrets; it is too small a place for that.”

I later mentioned the story to a nun of my acquaintance who lives not far from Rome, who has many important and trustworthy contacts in the Vatican. She immediately responded affirmatively, saying: “Oh, yes, I have heard about it, too.” She said that yet another priest had related the story to her, “just after the Synod was over.”

Before publishing this article, I sent a draft of it to two well-informed sources in Rome whom I very much respect. One of them confirmed that he, too, has heard of the story from different people but that he also could not find anyone willing to give a first-hand account. He considers this story to be probable and in line with Pope Francis’ character and conduct. He said, and here I quote him anonymously, but with his permission:

I have heard the same kind of things, from different sources; but I have not been able to find somebody who witnessed the event and was willing to speak about it. Confidentially: I think that it is very likely that the accident was true, considering the character of the Pope and the kind of public reactions he had later.

The other source, Marco Ansaldo of the Italian liberal newspaper La Repubblica, thought the article was accurately written, but he doubted the words of Pope Francis as quoted by Father Giussepe, saying that it does not sound like Pope Francis and adding that Pope Francis would not act like this even when angry. (Father Giuseppe, as we know, had the words from second-hand sources, so it is probable that even if the story is true, they were not an exact account of what was said, but merely descriptive of the tone.) Ansaldo wrote:

I read your article, which is interesting and accurate in the way is reported. The story on the discomfort of the Pope regarding the letter written by the 13 Cardinals could be reliable. But what seems untrue to me are the words of Francis quoted by Father [Giuseppe]. Bergoglio is not expressing himself in that manner. Those are not his common words. Never. And, that the one that is now described is not his way of behaving, even when he could be angry.

This entire story, though widely corroborated through various sources in a position to know, has been impossible to verify definitively. It seems that once again, an atmosphere of fear, and of concerns over papal reprisal, keeps people unwilling to go on the record about what they witnessed. We know that Pope Francis is unafraid to make enemies; he has been described as deeply autocratic; his removal of Cardinal Burke in the wake of the latter’s defense of traditional Catholic teaching on marriage has been described by some as “punitive”; and we have of course seen the atmosphere of fear of papal retribution described elsewhere, perhaps most memorably in the recently-published Open Letter to Pope Francis, composed by a former high-ranking member of the Curia. Another important witness which Sandro Magister recently published was also released by an anonymous author, out of fear for reprisals against the his testimony.

What is the whole truth about this matter? Why has there been so much fear and timidity, so much self-censorship and reticence?

The Vatican has ever been a source of rumor and intrigue, where matters of politics obscure the very fullness of truth that is, perhaps ironically, found only in the Catholic Faith. The answers to these questions are worth knowing, not for satisfying a need for idle gossip, but because they directly indicate the direction of the Church under the present pontificate, and offer insight into just what the Synod agenda truly was, and who was behind it. They may very well also help us to understand why so few bishops have spoken up against the more troubling things that have taken place in Rome since 13 March, 2013.

For the truth to come out, men of courage must come forward. Are there any such men left in Rome?

Editor’s note: the original article has been updated to include two quotes (the first from an anonymous source, the second from Marco Ansaldo), as well as an additional link to a recently-published article by Sandro Magister. The rest of the text remains unaltered.

The post Did Pope Francis Threaten the Authors of the 13 Cardinals Letter? appeared first on OnePeterFive.


Is There an "Organized Movement" Against Pope Francis? [The Eponymous Flower]

Andrea Tornielli at the Presentation of his Interview Book "The Name of
God is Mercy" to Pope Francis
(Rome) Andrea Tornielli is considered in Rome as the House and Home Vaticanist.  He enjoys the privilege of having easy access to the leader of the Catholic Church. Before important initiatives, Tornielli is a regular guest in Santa Marta. His information comes firsthand. He also advises the Pope in matters of public relations and acts as its indirect mouthpiece. Yes according to plan and need, Tornielli announces in his articles steps the Pope takes or tries to give them an official interpretation in the face of criticism. This also includes, occasionally straighten out things.
In Argentina, the journalist Elisabetta Piqué, the Rome correspondent of the daily newspaper  La Nacion, takes a special position. The Pope's special friend has already published   her biography "Francisco. Vida y Revolución " (Francis. Life and Revolution)  about her compatriot on the papal throne before.
Both, Tornielli and Piqué, see their tasks as to put  the words and deeds of the Pope, medially, in a good light. They comply with this, albeit indirectly, especially in this pontificate where this is not a task to be underestimated.  Pope Francis is to remain a mystery. In fact, the mystery does not grow less in the passing of time.
Inconsistencies complicate interpretation of his thought and action. Tornielli's products are guaranteed to appear in the daily newspaper, La Stampa and the Internet portal,  Vatican Insider:  they reveal, whether expressly mentioned or not, the intention of the Pope.
The Tornielli interview in "La Nacion"
The Tornielli interview in "La Nacion"

Tornielli Interview for La Nacion

Elisabetta Piqué is now letting Andrea Tornieli have his say in La Nacion have his say. The reason for the interview was the conversation book recently published by Tornielli with Pope Francis "The Name of God is Mercy". Here, too, we learn some of what is thought in Santa Marta.
"For the organized sector, the Pope can't do anything right," says Tornielli in a citation in the title. "The renowned Italian Vatican expert, author of a book interview with Francis, is astonished at the systematic attacks of a conservative group against the Argentine Pope," writes Piqué.
In an interview Piqué and Tornielli also speak of  the criticism of Pope Francis.
Piqué: But in the past few months things have happened that one has never seen before, such as the letter of the 13 cardinals who wrote the Pope during the last Synod, who defied his authority and practically accused him of manipulation.
Tornielli: Like Paul VI.  who published the encyclical Humanae Vitae, there were articles with very severe criticism. But it is true, at the Synod, there was a moment of tension. And it seems to me that there is an organized movement, which uses all media, including the Internet, to spread discord and criticism of the Pope. What amazes me is that they find something to criticize every day.  In this movement, it does not really matter what the Pope  says or does. That surprised me a lot and this perseverance clearly points to a prejudice, because it has not taken into account what he actually says and does, when it does not fit into clichés.
Piqué: Can this daily critique of Francis, especially by blogs, who accuse him of being a populist, of being ambiguous,  desacralizing in matters of doctrine and the papacy, hurt him?
Tornielli: If the criticism is not right, but on the basis of prejudice when it is systematic, even ridiculous, because of their insistence and their instability, they turns in the end against those who express them.

Pope Francis informed about criticism

The interview confirmed that Pope Francis is aware of the criticism of statements and decisions about him. That was  apparent early on when Francis, on November 1, 2013, called the intellectually upstanding, but  one of his especially toughest critics, the Catholic law philosopher Mario Palmaro. Mario Palmaro was already suffering a serious illness, which he would succumb shortly thereafter.
The existence of an "organized movement" that "systematically" criticized Pope Francis may be a personal impression of Tornielli, but he did not reveal any evidence. It seems doubtful that the Pope's critics are  "all media."   In fact, it is believed, taking Tornielli's and Piqué's statements together, that just the "blogs" are responsible. The Internet, because of its free access, thus appears to be the only medium where criticism of the current Pope can be expressed. That says something about the medium of the Internet, but it says even more about the press and radio.
This is interesting,  as the Argentine Master of Ceremonies of the Pope, Msgr. Guillermo Xavier Karcher, said  for the first time in interview in April 2014  that the Pope reads a single newspaper, La Repubblica, and that it prepares a map for him of the daily press. But he neither reads the Internet nor could he use a computer.Curial Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said on June 23, 2015 at the Europe Forum in Bilbao, the Pope had confided to him on 18 June in Santa Marta: "I know that there are many blogs against me."  It was a statement that he could only make from information provided by others. 

Tornielli All Inclusively Dismisses Criticism of Pope Francis  

Also, given  the assertions that the criticism of the Pope  was "not sincere", based on "prejudices" and was therefore "baseless," Tornielli states no example.
Specifically, the point in the interview is that there is only a general discrediting of any criticism of Pope Francis.
An "organized movement" against Pope Francis has not yet been determined for us. What concerns Katholisches.info, we can assure you,  is that we are  not on the lookout for acts of Pope Francis which could be criticized. We hold no contact with any group which forges  against Pope Francis or anyone else who intrigues in an "organized movement" of which we have not heard anything and we therefore attribute its existence to the imagination of Andrea Tornielli.
But as chief editor I will not deny, that sometimes I rise in the morning with the anxious thought about what the news of the Pope now holds. One would probably be exaggerating, if they wanted to say  you have won a very confident impression. Still less,  can we claim as the  Francis-worshipers do,   constantly seeking the Holy Spirit to play Him off against Tradition, Scripture and the Magisterium as needed.
But Tornielli and Piqué do not reveal what they criticize.
Unlike Tornielli and Piqué,  we are anyhow independent and impartial in our coverage, since we have entertain no close relationship to the subject of reporting  unlike Piqué, who has been friends with Francis for many years and who baptized her children, and unlike Tornielli, who has lived since 13 March 2013 with one foot in Santa Marta, and quite exceptionally owes this pontificate for his privileged position.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Radio Vaticana / Secretum meum mihi (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com
Link to katholisches...
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The Great Commission: It’s for ALL of Us [OnePeterFive]

untitled shoot-001

The author, center-right, with the late Bishop Lawrence Aloysius Burke of Nassau, Bahamas; January, 1996

The East Coast of the United States is bracing for a possibly “historic snowstorm.” Earlier this month, we observed the 20th anniversary of another historic snowfall — the Blizzard of 1996. The fact that two decades has passed since that unique and memorable event makes me feel incredibly old, but it also brings me back. I remember distinctly where I was and what I was doing as the snow piled high and deep. 18 years old at the time, I watched the plows through airplane windows. I wound up stuck in the Pittsburgh airport as everything was shut down by the weather. My luggage got lost, it was below freezing, and I was in shorts and a t-shirt. As flights were cancelled and I unsuccessfully struggled to plot a route to make it back to Upstate New York, I didn’t yet realize that the travel troubles were just part of the adventure. Where I was coming from — and what I had just finished doing — turned out to be major milestones in my life.

I was returning from my first trip as a foreign missionary.

The mid 1990s were, for me, heady days. I had become deeply involved during those years with the (now-disgraced) Legionaries of Christ and their lay apostolate, Regnum Christi. Through a Legionary priest I knew who was stationed there, I wound up spending part of my summer as a camp counselor at The Highlands School just outside of Dallas, Texas. At the conclusion of the camp, I had made some new friends, and was enjoying my first visit to the Lone Star State entirely too much to go back to my humdrum life in a small, rural town. At the invitation of the priests who ran the school, I decided to stay on to finish my senior year there, the distaste of 11 years of public school and an unsatisfying attempt at homeschool thereafter still fresh in my mind. Five months later, when classes let out for Christmas break in 1995, I made a short visit home to see my family, then flew to the Bahamas at the beginning of the new year for my first attempt at being a Catholic missionary in a foreign land.

I went with a group called Youth for the Third Millenium (YTM), a pseudonymous apostolate of Regnum Christi that had been started the previous summer as a project (ostensibly) designed to accomplish parish revitalization and evangelization. In reality, it was yet another recruitment tool for an organization that more closely resembled a pyramid marketing scheme than a religious congregation, but at the time, I didn’t know that. And since many of my best friends to this day were also actively involved before the truth about the Legion’s founder was revealed, I can say with confidence that my experiences weren’t all bad. The Legionaries had a knack for attracting good, faithful Catholics. Most came to the work with very sincere intentions, and as such, they were capable of accomplishing fruitful things.

untitled shoot-002

YTM Missionaries with the late Bishop Lawrence Aloysius Burke; January, 1996

Taken on its own, the YTM model was a good one. Until I joined up, I had never heard of a Catholic organization that organized door-to-door missions for evangelization, with the goal of bringing people into the Church. Each mission was coordinated with a local parish in a target area. The missions were most attractive when they were held in exotic locations, and the mission in the Bahamas was the first attempt by YTM to put together a major initiative for both young men and women. Armed with well-designed, pocket-sized manuals of Catholic apologetics, we intrepid missionaries headed out two-by-two, knocking on doors in a designated geographical area and talking to those willing to listen about Christ and His Church. In later missions, we brought professional apologists with us to help bolster areas where our own knowledge was insufficient. In every case, standing on a person’s doorstep and initiating a conversation about Catholicism put every ounce of the missionary’s knowledge, faith, and resourcefulness to the test.

Click to view slideshow.

It was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’d ever done.

By January of 1997, I had completed six such missions. In addition to the Bahamas, I went door to door in Dallas, Texas; New York, New York; Michoacan, Mexico; Berens River (First Nation), Manitoba, Canada; and Miami, Florida. On the last two missions, I was mission coordinator and mission director, respectively. The Miami mission, which I organized and oversaw in 1997, would be my last. It would also mark the parting of ways between myself and the apostolate I had dedicated so much time to. (I would soon become one of the most outspoken critics of the the Legionaries and Regnum Christi, but that’s a story for a different essay.)

Click to view slideshow.

I learned a great deal from my time spent as a missionary, and the experiences I had not only deepened my knowledge of the Catholic faith in ways that will stay with me forever, they taught me first hand just how important the Great Commission truly is:

And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:16-20)

This is the Church’s mission; as such, it is our mission. ALL of us. And while we’re not all called to be missionaries in foreign lands, we are all called to do our part according to our state in life to give witness to the truths of our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith.

We are supposed to bring the light of Christ into the world, to preach the saving mission of His Church from the housetops. Any attempt to hide the Church’s essential role in salvation history, any action which seeks to diminish her exclusive claims, work against Christ’s own mission and purpose, and the one He handed on to her.

What message are Church leaders sending about their faith?

What message are Church leaders sending about their faith?

Religious indifference — the idea that usually takes shape under the deception that people all religious faiths are on a shared journey to salvation — has become alarmingly commonplace among the Catholic clergy. So much so that it comes as a shock when we hear a priest, bishop, or pope say something which indicates to the hearer that conversion to Catholicism is of the utmost importance. It is much more likely that we’ll hear apologies for the historical fact that Catholic missionaries brought the saving faith of their Church to the indigenous peoples of various lands, often at the cost of their own lives.

I’ve written before on why we can’t be indifferent to indifferentism. Eric Sammons has discussed one of the most important missing components of effective evangelization. We talk constantly in these pages about the importance of good liturgy, of reverence, of authentic devotion, and spiritual warfare.

At the heart of it all, though, is one simple question: do you believe that membership in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation? 

If you can’t answer that question with a resounding, “Yes!”, you can’t be an effective missionary. If you don’t have a conviction that Christ established ONE Church for the purpose of transmitting the sacraments and thereby offering access to the graces necessary for heaven, you will never have the courage to share that treasure with others. If you believe that people are probably “just fine where they are” and never even give them a reason to consider Catholicism, you may be unwittingly neglecting your role as the person God sent to invite them to a life of eternal happiness.

20 years ago, in the slums of a little Caribbean island known more for its stunning resorts along pristine white sand beaches than its native poverty, crime, or hunger for God, I learned that to be an effective missionary meant I had to believe in my purpose, right down in the very core of my being. I had to know that I might be the only person who ever reached out to the soul on the other side of that door to tell them the Good News. I had to take that duty incredibly seriously.

To this day, I still do. And I’ll have to answer for the times when failed to live up to that conviction.

Perhaps more than ever, we need Catholics with apostolic zeal, which comes first and foremost from a sharing in God’s love of souls and His desire that they spend an eternity with Him in heaven. I have hope that men and women of this caliber still exist, because Christ promised that the Church will endure, and she surely can’t survive without them.

The truth is, we mustn’t sit back and hope that leaders will come forward, and it only does so much good to complain that the people who should be leading have abandoned their posts. We can’t wait for the priests. We can’t wait for the bishops. We can’t even wait for the pope.

It’s up to us. Every day, wherever we go, to be ambassadors for Our Lord and His Holy Church.

The post The Great Commission: It’s for ALL of Us appeared first on OnePeterFive.


Sedevacantism ... [Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment]

... and references to our Holy Father as the "Apparent Pope" or the "Copope" or anything similar, I will not enable. Popes have been heretics before, but they did not thereby cease to be popes, even though condemned by an Ecumenical Council and/or anathematised by their own successors. Sedevacantism is nonsense. Not that, even on the most pessimistic analysis, Pope Francis has actually


Audio is up from my Building the Benedict Option talk in Boston [Unequally Yoked]

I had a wonderful time in Boston last week, talking about some of our Benedict Option efforts here in DC, and some of my starter kit ideas for beginning to build closer ties in your own community.  (The simplest one: serve one more snack at the end of events, to give people an excuse to [Read More...]


A parable: feeding the One Bob [Zippy Catholic]

Suppose there is only one Bob.  Suppose the Neeches and the Screeches engage in different practices that they call “feeding the One Bob”.

The Neeches have a better understanding of Bob’s nature than the Screeches (though of course really knowing Bob is not a matter of fully grasping his essential properties from a philosophical point of view, if that is even possible).  Both groups do things that they understand to be ‘feeding the One Bob’, but because of their different understanding of Bob’s nature they have very different understandings of feeding.  The Neeches feed the One Bob by making him a sufficiently nutritive meal, according to instruction from Bob himself.  The Screeches ‘feed’ the One Bob by throwing excrement at his house and beheading people.

There are plenty of other people around too, who are neither Neeches nor Screeches, who have varying understandings of Bob’s nature. Some have more in common with the Neeches, others have more in common with the Screeches, and sometimes it is a complex mix of commonality and difference. These people don’t come into the story, except that who wants to have cocktail parties with whom may be a motivating factor for the insanity which is about to follow, and some of them join in on the insanity.  In addition still other people are wandering around carrying signs that say “there is no Bob!” or “there are many Bobs!”

Some Neech ecumaniacs stand up in the public square and proclaim “both Neeches and Screeches feed the One Bob!” and start carrying around buckets of excrement as a show of solidarity with the Screeches. These ecuneeches seem to think the fact that the One Bob is the focus of the various actions each group calls “feeding” has some significance.

This so outrages other Neeches that they lose their minds, and start insisting that because the Screeches’ concept of Bob is radically incompatible with the Neeches’ concept of Bob, the Screeches aren’t even referring to Bob when they use the word “Bob”.  These contraneeches develop a theory of the essential properties of Bob, insist that nobody can even talk about Bob without first accepting their theories and their understanding of Bob’s essential properties, and go on an Internet rampage.  They insist that the Screeches are not even referring to Bob when they use the word “Bob”, because they don’t understand Bob’s essential properties.

Bob, who at the end of the day is perfectly capable of feeding himself, encloses the ecuneeches, contraneeches, and Screeches in an insane asylum where they scribble things on the walls and mistake their scribbles for the real world outside the padded walls.


Abp. Listecki: The Mother of God is a Packers fan, time for a team pilgrimage to Good Help Shrine [The Badger Catholic]

I can assure you that if that had happened in a street football game in my childhood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, there is no way a second coin flip would have been tolerated without yelling, shouting or throwing a few punches. If it was “re-tossed,” it would have been best two out of three.

There is no doubt that the Packers are a class organization. I know that any other team would have been moaning about the injuries that were sustained – not only in this playoff game, but all throughout the year. One key injury after another, and yet the Packers seemed to play through it and still capture the admiration of fans everywhere.

If there is a silver lining to this otherwise tragic playoff game, I believe that it is found in the area of spirituality. I don’t believe that there is any other team in the history of the NFL that was granted by God the completion of not one, but two Hail Mary passes in one professional season. If I am right, that means that the Mother of God is a Packers fan. Why not? The only officially recognized apparition in the United States is found in the Diocese of Green Bay at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, which is located in the community of Champion (Are we getting any hints of divine inspiration?), 4047 Chapel Dr., New Franken.

I would suggest that Coach McCarthy, as part of his pre-season practices this coming year, rent a bus and take his players to the Shrine. First, in gratitude for the two successful Hail Marys, we better say thank you – especially to Mother. Second, to dedicate the team to Our Lady of Good Help (so that injuries are kept to a minimum), while impressing upon the team their connection to the community of “Champion.”

Seriously, at least a private pilgrimage?  Protection from injuries isn't God picking sides.  Well, it makes the upcoming Green Bay Men's Conference interesting.... someone should ask the question!


An Oblate of Silverstream Meditates the Holy Rule [Vultus Christi]


Inclina Aurem Tuam
Musings of a Paterfamilias Trying to Live According to the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict

I take a fatherly pride in recommending Marco da Vinha’s deeply edifying reflections on the Rule of Saint Benedict. Marco and his wife Isa are Oblates of Silverstream Priory. They are the parents of two beautiful children. Marco meditates the Rule of Saint Benedict from his perspective as a husband and father. Marco’s insights are refreshing and profound. All of Silverstream’s Oblates will benefit from a daily visit to their Oblate brother’s ongoing commentary on the Holy Rule. Thank you, dear Oblate Brother Gregory, for your love of the Holy Rule and your serene passion for the things of God.


Even the saints had sin in their past, Pope Francis recalls [CNA Daily News]

Vatican City, Jan 19, 2016 / 12:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Even great saints had at times succumbed to sin, Pope Francis said Tuesday during his Mass at the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.

“During the Christian journey, the journey the Lord has invited us to undertake, there is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future,” the Pope said in his Jan. 19 homily, according to Vatican Radio's translation.

The Roman Pontiff based his reflections on the day's first reading, and spoke about King David as a saint who nonetheless committed some serious sins.

“The life of this man moves me,” the Roman Pontiff said, speaking of David.

"A saint and a sinner. A man who managed to unite the kingdom, he was able to lead the people of Israel. But he fell into temptation,” the Pope said. He recalled how David committed murder in order to hide having committed the sin of adultery.

“When God sent the prophet Nathan to point this reality out to him, because he was not aware of the barbarity he had ordered, he acknowledged his sin and asked for forgiveness.”

Pope Francis uses David's life as an example of how even saints sinned and were tempted. God chose the young David to be king, even though he did not fit the role by human standards.

God rejected Saul "because his heart was closed", and chose David because “the Lord looks into the heart.”

"We are often the slaves of appearances and allow ourselves to pursue appearances: ‘But God knows the truth’,” the Pope said.

The Roman Pontiff recounted the story of the prophet Samuel choosing David as king, even though he was the youngest of Jesse's seven sons.

God told Samuel to anoint him, and “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David,” the Pope said.

“The whole of David's life was the life of a man anointed by the Lord, chosen by the Lord.”

Pope Francis looked at the question of whether God made David a saint.

“King David is saint King David, this is true, but he became a saint after living a long life,” the Pope said.

Although David would later commit adultery and murder, “his life went on,” Francis explained. “He suffered personally following the betrayal of his son, but he never he never used God for his own purpose.”

The Pope recounted how, in the face of insult, David would say: “It’s what I deserve.” He added that David was magnanimous, and did not killed Saul.

“We have all been chosen by the Lord to be baptized, to be part of his people, to be saints,” the Pope said.  

“We have been consecrated by the Lord on the path towards sainthood. Reading about this life, the life of a child – no… not a child, he was a boy – from boyhood to old age, during which he did many good things and others that were not so good.”


With new initiative, Knights aim to work more closely with parishes [CNS Top Stories]

IMAGE: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

By Liz O'Connor

LEVITTOWN, Pa. (CNS) -- The Knights of Columbus has announced an initiative designed to bring the Knights into closer cooperation with parishes.

Changes were noted in an address delivered by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in November to a San Antonio meeting of state deputies and reprinted in the December issue of Columbia, the Knights' magazine. "We will use our resources of time, talent and money to strengthen parish-based and parish-sponsored programs," he wrote.

According to Anderson, the 1.9 million-member Catholic fraternal group, organized into over 15,000 councils operating in the United States and a number of other countries, will continue its focus on spirituality, charity, unity, brotherhood and patriotism. But it will strive to bring its activities into greater identification with parishes under the supervision of parish pastors, avoiding duplication or any perception of competition.

Among the changes involved, the Knights will not build or acquire any new council halls. This change, where parish rather than separate facilities are used for meetings and activities, has already allowed the formation of councils that would not have been able to afford a building, and will avoid members having to devote too much time and effort to support the building by renting it for unrelated activities.

In another significant change, by the end of this year, the Knights of Columbus will no longer sponsor Scout groups. Instead, the group will work to support parish youth ministry programs, including parish-based Catholic Scouting.

The Knights, Anderson wrote, should strive to integrate the activities of their Squires Circles -- affiliated groups of boys and young men ages 10 to 18 -- with those of the parish youth ministry. He said councils and assemblies in the U.S. and Canada that do not currently have Squires groups should not begin new ones but instead should support existing parish-based youth ministry programs.

The Knights, Anderson wrote, are devoted to building up the family as the domestic church and to evangelizing family life, a work that can be done most effectively by working in and with the parish.

Andrew T. Walther, vice president for communications and strategic planning of the Supreme Council, noted in an interview with Catholic News Service that it is important to remember that the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 in a parish by a parish priest -- Father Michael McGivney, recently declared venerable, whose sainthood cause has taken its first steps. In re-emphasizing its focus on the parish, Walther said, the organization is going back to its roots.

"Most of our councils are based in parishes," Walther said, and Knights traditionally put themselves at the service of the parish. The group "really wants to focus in a very specific way on what we're doing in the parish," which includes prayer and the sacramental life, charitable works, and taking a holistic approach to being united with the parish. Different parishes have different priorities, and the Knights of Columbus can be flexible to help with different needs, he noted.

Walther said the change in sponsorship of Scout groups is not intended to diminish the Knights' commitment to Catholic Scouting, but to bring it back to focus in the parish.

Asked whether the lack of a council hall would lessen the fellowship aspect of the Knights' interaction with each other, Walther said he didn't think that would be a problem. Members in current parish-based councils find ways to get together and experience fraternity, he said. "I don't think you need a separate building. I don't think you lose fraternity, and you gain a lot of unity with the parish."

The current initiative is designed to promote "the involvement of families within the parish. The parish is our home, and we should be working first and foremost through our parish." Making the parish and interaction with the parish the top priority is, he said, a re-assertion of the model on which the Knights were founded.

- - -

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.


A fixed, "unified" Easter? Not so fast!Part I: Why a unified Easter will not be implemented in the foreseeable future. [RORATE CÆLI]


Last year, Pope Francis reportedly spoke of the need to unify the date of Easter among Christians during the meditation that he preached to the World Retreat of Priests at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome. The text of the meditation itself seems to be missing from the Vatican website (although there is a video) and Zenit's own translation of the meditation (Part 1, Part 2) does not include any references to Easter. The Pope's call to spread the charismatic-pentecostalist practice of "Baptism in the Spirit" (his third and most explicit endorsement of it, by our count) actually warrants far more attention, although none has been forthcoming.

Now we have Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury speaking of the need to put Easter Sunday on a fixed date. Various news reports (such as this) quote him as saying that it should be fixed on the second or third Sunday of April and that he expects the change to happen between 5 and 10 years' time. Although the reports don't mention it, he is echoing a proposal first made by Paul VI in 1975. (See below.) Some of these reports mention Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II as a proponent of a unified Easter, specifically on the third Sunday of April. It is true that Tawadros II has been vocal about the ideabut it remains to be seen if his fellow Oriental Orthodox (especially the more numerous Ethiopians) are willing to follow him on this matter. Welby reportedly mentioned the support of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for a unified Easter, but for reasons explained further in this article this support seems to be overstated.

These reports have morphed into even more outlandish ones claiming that "Christian churches are close to deal to fix common date for Easter". The reality is that there are no reasons to believe that a "unified Easter" much less a "fixed Easter" will happen anytime soon.

Vatican II and the post-Vatican II Popes on a "unified Easter"

On the Catholic side there is nothing new with the latest proposal to unify Easter. Francis already mentioned it in 2014 during his in-flight press-conference while returning to Rome from his trip to Turkey. The unification of the date of Easter was discussed by some Synod Fathers during the 2010 Synod on the Middle East that took place under Benedict XVI. John Paul II expressed the same wish in his January 25, 2001 homily at the conclusion of that year's "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity". Paul VI was more active. An article on the World Council of Churches' website (Celebrating together Redemption in Christ) summarizes the activity of Paul VI and Cardinal Johannes Willebrands on this topic. According to this article it was Paul VI who first proposed in 1975 that "Easter should always be celebrated on the Sunday following the second Saturday of April".

This was superseded in 1997 by the "Aleppo Consultation" that agreed on the following formula:

a) to maintain the Nicene norms (that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first vernal full moon), and
(b) to calculate the astronomical data (the vernal equinox and the full moon) by the most accurate possible scientific means,
(c) using as the basis for reckoning the meridian of Jerusalem, the place of Christ's Death and Resurrection.

The consultation was attended by representatives of the Catholic Church, many Protestant communities, and some of the Orthodox Churches (including the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Antioch and Moscow) but as everyone can see there has been no concrete movement on these proposals. Cardinal Edward Cassidy, at the time the President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, reportedly gave an "initial affirmative reaction" to the idea. 

Rome's openness to the idea of "unifying" Easter is in line with the Appendix to Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, "A Declaration of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council on Revision of the Calendar" which states:

The Sacred Council would not object if the feast of Easter were assigned to a particular Sunday of the Gregorian Calendar, provided that those whom it may concern, especially the brethren who are not in communion with the Apostolic See, give their assent. 

Take note that even Vatican II considered the Gregorian Calendar as an indispensable element in calculating any future unified date of Easter.

An Eastern compromise?

Patriarch Bartholomew clarified last year in a Vatican Insider interview that any change of the date of Easter on the part of the Eastern Orthodox will have to be done in a "Pan-Orthodox" manner. This all but ensures that there will be no compromise on their part for the foreseeable future. The "Pan-Orthodox Council" of 2016, should it actually push through, will have the question of a common liturgical calendar as part of its agenda. An AsiaNews article from June 16, 2015 (Moscow Patriarchate to Pope: On Easter a gesture of goodwill, but we will not overturn old traditions) quotes Russian Orthodox church official Fr. Nikolai Balashov to the effect that Constantinople and Moscow are at loggerheads over this question, with Moscow favoring the retention of the status quo for the Orthodox. This alone ensures that there will be no decree changing the date of Pascha and binding upon all the Orthodox because the decisions of the "Pan-Orthodox Council" will require consensus or unanimous vote among the representatives from all of these Churches.

None of this should be surprising except to those who have been deluded by ecumenist propaganda that Catholic-Orthodox reunion is "imminent".

With the exception of the small Orthodox Church of Finland (under the Patriarchate of Constantinople) the Eastern Orthodox continue to observe Easter or Pascha according to the Julian Calendar (or more technically the "Julian Paschalion"). The question of the liturgical calendar is highly volatile for the Eastern Orthodox as witnessed by the large and long-standing "Old Calendarist" schisms among the Greeks and Romanians. These schisms developed over the acceptance by their hierarchies of the "New Calendar", sometimes called "Revised Julian", a hybrid where the fixed feasts (e.g. Christmas, Annunciation) are de facto on the Gregorian dates but Lent and Pascha (Easter) and their attached panoply of movable observances remain on the Julian Calendar. The Greek and Romanian Orthodox accepted the "Revised Julian" in the 1920's, nearly a century ago, but the Greek and Romanian Old Calendarist movement to this very day is alive and even showing signs of consolidation.

If a partial reform of the liturgical calendar, not involving Easter / Pascha itself, could cause such havoc among the Eastern Orthodox, how much more a wholesale move to the Gregorian calendar? The Finnish situation is unique (dating back to 1924) and not likely to be repeated anytime soon. It bears observing that the great majority both of nominal Orthodox, and of Orthodox bishops, clergy and monastics observe not only Easter but the whole liturgical cycle on the Julian Calendar. They include the vast majority of the parishes of the Patriarchates of Moscow, Jerusalem, Serbia, Georgia and all the monasteries on Mount Athos. The Polish Orthodox Church formally returned to the Julian Calendar in 2014. Constantinople itself has jurisdictions for the Russian, Carpatho-Rusyn and Ukrainian diasporas with numerous parishes on the Julian Calendar.

It is necessary to mention that the majority of Greek Catholics also continue to observe the Julian date of Easter used by their Orthodox counterparts. For the vast majority of Ukrainian and Rusyn Greek Catholics this is not an "ecumenist" concession but a practice dating back to their Churches' reconciliation with Rome centuries ago. This demonstrates that observing Easter on different Sundays has not been seen for centuries by Rome as opposed to Catholic unity. If Rome could allow the Greek Catholics to observe Easter on the Julian date rather than on the Gregorian date, then what reason could there be to force the faithful of the Roman Church herself to abandon their own Gregorian Easter? Unfortunately "ecumenical" reasons, as we will next see, are considered sufficient by the Rome of today to effect division among Latin Catholics when it comes to Easter.

A Roman compromise?

Could a "unified Easter" take place with the Holy See deciding to move the entire Catholic Church into observing Lent and Easter according to the Julian Calendar? We think that this is highly unlikely to be implemented in the universal Church. Nevertheless, this move has already been implemented in the post-Vatican II era for all Catholics (including Latins) in select areas, such as Greece, Syria, Cyprus and the Holy Land (i.e Palestine, Jordan, Israel), except in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Here are some articles about the change in the Holy Land:

ASIA/HOLY LAND - In Jordan and Palestine Catholics and Orthodox celebrate Easter according to the Julian Calendar (2015)

Not 2015 Easter yet

Easter 2013 in the Churches of the Holy Land

Latin Patriarchate will celebrate Easter 2013 according to the Julian Calendar

Tale of two Easters: Holy Land Catholics, Orthodox to celebrate as one

Ironically the Catholic Church continues to observe Easter on the Gregorian date in the Basilicas of the Nativity and the Holy Sepulcher. This is due to the Ottoman-era "Status Quo" that governs the delicate relations among Catholics and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, not to speak of the needs of Catholic pilgrims from all over the world. Far from "unifying" Easter in the Holy Land, the Latin hierarchy's unilateral adoption of the Eastern Orthodox date of Easter has resulted in the Latin Catholic community being divided in its observance of Easter.

Changing Easter for Roman Catholics in lands where they are a small minority is one thing; changing it for traditionally Catholic lands is another. In the next installment of this commentary I will discuss the numerous reasons why changing the date of Easter will cause incalculable harm for the Catholic Church, with no real benefits accruing from it.


This is a keeper: A quote from Pope Francis ... [Abbey Roads]

Penitence of David

"There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future”. - Pope Francis

That is taken from his homily discussing King David, anointed by Samuel to succeed Saul.

David committed a lot of sins - very serious crimes.  Yet as the Holy Father pointed out, "but he never used God for his own purpose”.  A great sinner, but a repentant one.


Kathy Schiffer takes on embarrassing hack job by Detroit Free Press on Abp. Nienstedt [The Badger Catholic]

The Detroit Free Press is running a story this morning about retired Archbishop John Nienstedt which is peppered with misunderstandings and factual inaccuracies. The article by Jennifer Bowman apparently originated with the Battle Creek Enquirer; but I would insist that the Free Press, whose reporters saw firsthand Archbishop Nienstedt’s kindly leadership when he was an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, has a responsibility to vet the articles which appear on its pages.

For starters, the headline reads “Controversial Ex-Priest Now Serving in Battle Creek.”

Please allow me to clarify: Archbishop Nienstedt is not an “ex-priest.” He is a “retired archbishop.” His resignation from office does not erase his standing in the Roman Catholic Church and he is entitled to the respect due an archbishop.
continue at Seasons of Grace

I've said many times, when the press lies about the facts in these cases it does damage to their own agenda.  There's plenty of actual facts here that need to be examined, but this journal-ivism gets published makes Neinstedt look like the victim of a political hack dragging him through the mud.

Just read the last line:
Indeed, Nienstedt has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, supporting in 2012 an unsuccessful ban proposal in Minnesota. He also ordered an end to a gay pride pray service at a Minneapolis church while he was archbishop, according to the Star Tribune.
Now we know that Neinstedt's statement that there is no truth to any charges of mishandling of abuse reports really is just politically motivated.  Nienstedt said this in 2014.
In a written response to Commonweal, Nienstedt dismissed the charges as a “personal attack against me due to my unwavering stance on issues consistent with church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same-sex marriage.”
So as far as the current situation that Abp. Nienstedt find himself in,  the DFP seems to agree, there's no substance to any of the charges, his real crime is opposing the radical agenda of the homosexualist movement.  


“Why Don't You Put the Circumcision Back on the Calendar?” [New Liturgical Movement]

From the Facebook page of TV2000, the television channel of the Italian Episcopal Conference, comes this video of a brief encounter between an elderly Jewish man and the Pope during His Holiness’ recent visit to the principal synagogue of Rome.

"Listen, since you are a great rebuilder, why don’t put you the Circumcision back on the Calendar, as it was when I was a little boy? It’s a good idea, no? In that way, it would be for us, we are (interrupted.)... Well, very simpatico *, we’re all very fond of you."
Visita di Papa Francesco alla Sinagoga di Roma
Un simpatico incontro all'esterno della Sinagoga e una richiesta particolare rivolta al Santo Padre.
Posted by Tv2000 on Sunday, January 17, 2016
Good question.

The Circumcision of Christ, as depicted in the Menologion of Basil II, ca. 1000 A.D. The feast of the Circumcision is still kept in the Byzantine Rite, and in the post-conciliar reformed versions of the Ambrosian and Mozarabic liturgies.
* simpatico - a famously difficult-to-translate Italian word, broadly indicating a person or thing that is found pleasing or congenial.


Keine Integration ohne Mission – das Vorbild des hl. Franz von Assisi [Mathias von Gersdorff]

„StFrancis part“ von Parzi - Own work basing on Stfrancis.jpg from WikiCommons. Lizenziert unter Gemeinfrei über Wikimedia Commons  „Wir müssen zur Integration zwingen." Das gab Sachsens Ministerpräsident Stanislaw Tillich gegenüber der „Welt“ von sich. Ähnlich äußern sich eine ganze Reihe deutscher Politiker von rechts bis links. „Integration“ wird dabei stets als eine Art Zauberstab in


Against the axiom of nature’s infinite precision [Just Thomism]

Working at any art gives us an experience of what might be called the stubbornness of matter: you have an idea in your head for a picture or a melody or a paragraph, then in trying to make it work you find the materials have a mind of their own. Those who make things end up expecting some divergence between what they set out to make and what gets made, and whether this is a disappointment or a pleasant surprise involves a changing ratio of luck and skill. I’m literally having this experience right now in trying to get this paragraph to work.

From Galileo until now, we’ve taken it as an axiom that the totality of natural causes does not have to deal with the stubbornness of matter since they are infinitely precise. If I am trying to cut a straight line but get a crooked one, we assume this is because there were competing forces that account for these slight deviations. My line is crooked because I only account for a part of the forces that gave rise to it. The total forces are infinitely precise and perfectly mathematical since any deviation from absolute precision requires us to posit another force to explain what caused the deviation. At this point we are supposed to humbly say we can never know all these forces and so science does the best it can with degrees of approximation.

But even total awareness of forces would not suffice to explain the end result since even an infinite intelligence would not suffice to make nature a math problem. Forces act only so far as they are given mathematically, and math is non-temporal. You can imagine formal or mathematical quantities taking time to execute a process, but they don’t take time as mathematical: how long does it take to sum all the parts of an integral? How long does it take to add 2 and 2? For that matter, how long is a yardstick as mathematical? One doesn’t need three feet of space to use the “yard” that gets used in an equation.

Trying to sufficiently explain either time or distance by purely mathematical considerations ends up leaving off the very motion and time we are trying to explain in the first place. Actual motion can’t be just an instance or concretion of mathematical “motions”. There is a non-formal element in them making them temporal, mobile, and therefore unintelligible to us. Some theory of hylomorphism or participation seems inevitable.



Nunquam peribit [Denzinger-Katholik]

Gestern - zum Schreiben kam ich da leider nicht mehr - wurde ich an den Todestag von Fritz Esser erinnert. Der Name wird vermutlich niemandem etwas sagen, und er gehörte beileibe auch nicht zu den Großen dieser Welt. Und gewiss wollte er das auch niemals sein. Im Jahr 1900 in einfachen Verhältnissen im Rheinhessischen geboren, sein Vater starb bald darauf ... war wohl das erste Bemerkenswerte in seinem jungen Leben, dass er nach einer gefährlichen Krankheit im Kindesalter den Wunsch äußerte, Priester zu werden. Nur durch die Hilfe des Pfarrers wurde es dann auch finanziell ermöglicht, dass Fritz Esser ins Internat der Pallottiner nach Schönstatt kam. Schwer hatte er es aber auch da, die Schule schaffte er nur mit Müh und Not ... und gleich folgte die nächste Not, in den letzten Kriegsmonaten wurde er eingezogen, kam aber aufgrund schwacher Konstitution nicht mehr an die Front. Schließlich begann er sein Noviziat bei den Pallottinern, das ein kurzes bleiben sollte ... denn beim Kartoffelbetteln in meiner Westerwälder Heimat zeigten sich die ersten Anzeichen einer Tuberkulose. Nach dreijähriger Krankheit schied er dann dahin.

Was ist dabei nun die Moral von der Geschicht? Die sich doch so anhört, wie die Geschichte vieler scheinbar so überfrommen, schwächlichen Jünglinge? Abgesehen vom beispielhaft mannhaften, geduldigen und hochherzigen Ertragen aller Opfer, Leiden und Kreuze dieses Lebens zum Erwerb der ewigen Krone ... fasste er seine Lebenserfahrung in die wenigen kleinen Worte, die heute wohl weltbekannt sind ... und die vielen, ob groß ob klein, alt oder jung, stark oder schwach ... die nötige Kraft und die nötige Hoffnung gibt in den vielen Fährnissen und Widrigkeiten des Lebens: Servus Mariae nunquam peribit, ein Diener Mariens geht niemals zugrunde. Es sind Worte, die zweifelsohne unterm Kreuz gewonnen wurden.
Als Sakristan der kleinen Kapelle, die heute als Urheiligtum bekannt ist, schnitzte er den Lichtbogen mit dem benannten Ausspruch um die Dreimal Wunderbare Mutter von Schönstatt. Angelehnt dürfte der wohl an die dem hl. Ignatius Märtyrer zugesprochenen Worte sein, Numquam peribit, qui Genitrici Virgini devotus, sedulusque Cultor exstiterit, ein andächtiger und eifriger Verehrer der Jungfrau-Mutter wird niemals zu Grunde gehen. Ähnliches formulierten andere Heilige immer wieder über die Zeiten.

Ich selbst erstand meinen ersten selbstgekauften Rosenkranz, gerade, als ich mich erstmals intensiver mit dem Glauben auseinandersetzte, in Schönstatt. Mag man von allem Drumherum halten, was man will ...  mit dem Nunquam peribit begann mein Weg zum und in den Glauben, dort, vor dem ausgesetzten Allerheiligsten ... und mit dem Nunquam peribit, so bitt' ich, wird mein Lebensweg hoffentlich auch einmal enden, komme, was da wolle.


Paul's Pagan Quotations I [Siris]

Aratus, Phaenomena (Mair, tr.):

From Zeus let us begin; him do we mortals never leave unnamed; full of Zeus are all the streets and all the market-places of men; full is the sea and the havens thereof; always we all have need of Zeus. For we are also his offspring; and he in his kindness unto men giveth favourable signs and wakeneth the people to work, reminding them of livelihood. He tells what time the soil is best for the labour of the ox and for the mattock, and what time the seasons are favourable both for the planting of trees and for casting all manner of seeds. For himself it was who set the signs in heaven, and marked out the constellations, and for the year devised what stars chiefly should give to men right signs of the seasons, to the end that all things might grow unfailingly. Wherefore him do men ever worship first and last. Hail, O Father, mighty marvel, mighty blessing unto men. Hail to thee and to the Elder Race! Hail, ye Muses, right kindly, every one! But for me, too, in answer to my prayer direct all my lay, even as is meet, to tell the stars.

Aratus's work, a poem about the constellations, is rarely read today, but it was highly regarded in the Roman Empire. Its greatest claim to fame, however, is that one of the lines is quoted by St. Paul in his Areopagus sermon:

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ [NIV]

It's worth keeping in mind that quoting a text often alludes to context not quoted, and when one does this, it becomes easy to see that this quotation is quite appropriate. The beginning of Paul's speech to the Athenians had noted that they had altars To the Unknown God. The unquoted part of the context says that we should never leave Zeus unspoken/unexpressed/unnamed, i.e., that we should never fail to call upon him. The Aratus passage says that Zeus is everywhere and Paul says God is not far from us.

What is more, there is at least one text Paul might have known as his immediate source, a quotation of Aratus by the Jewish author Aristobulus, that explicitly and deliberately replaces Aratus's 'Zeus' with a more generic 'God', increasing the similarities. Eusebius (Preparatio Evangelica 13.12) describes him, immediately after having quoted Aratus, as saying:

It is clearly shown, I think, that all things are pervaded by the power of God: and this I have properly represented by taking away the name of Zeus which runs through the poems; for it is to God that their thought is sent up, and for that reason I have so expressed it. These quotations, therefore, which I have brought forward are not inappropriate to the questions before us. For all the philosophers agree, that we ought to hold pious opinions concerning God, and to this especially our system gives excellent exhortation; and the whole constitution of our law is arranged with reference to piety, and justice, and temperance, and all things else that are truly good. 


Theology-ology [Theological Flint]

This is from Theological Flint

The post is small but the issue massive. Theology ought to be study of GOD. However, very often, it ends up being the study of … the study of God. That is, it is simply the study of Augustine’s thought or Aquinas’s thought or Newman’s thought or Balthasar’s thought or O’Collins’s thought or Rahner’s thought, […]

The post Theology-ology appeared first on Theological Flint.


God as a fan fiction character [Zippy Catholic]

Let me tell you a story.

Bob and Fred met up with Ted.

(I didn’t say it would be a good story).

Some people can’t tell the difference, or assert that they cannot tell the difference, between reality and make believe.  The story is something that I made up, so in a sense it is not possible for me to be wrong about it.  If someone says “Bob and Fred did not meet up with Ted” either I am right and they are wrong, or they are just writing fan fiction – a different story from the one I wrote. More subtly, if someone says “Bob and Fred were not walking on a sidewalk!” he is wrong. It is my story, a bundle of concepts I crafted in my own mind, and when I wrote it I was thinking of them meeting while walking on a sidewalk. The object under contention is a story I made up myself; so, again, there is a fairly strong sense in which it is not possible for me to be wrong about its content: though it is possible for me to lie, or to tell a different story from the one I originally crafted — to make a new edition of the story. When an author revises his own story it isn’t that the original is destroyed: it is that he has written his own fan fiction, if you will, making a new and different story out of the old.  A new arrangement of some old music is in some sense a new song and in some sense is the original song; but the original song does not cease to exist when a new arrangement is made.

This is why Gandalf is a Maiar and Dumbledore is gay in the original stories.  Fan fiction is, uh, a different story — but in the original stories Gandalf is a Maiar and Dumbledore is gay, unless Tolkien and Rowling are telling lies about their own stories.

Now, I am not presenting a rigorous analytic theory of art or counterfactuals or the relation between implicit and explicit content here, and someone who jumps all over this as if it were a rigorous analytic theory will have missed the point. Just about any theory of make-believe stories will do for my purposes, because the main point is just that reality and make-believe are ontologically different.  (This is something that children understand, but it has to be explained to adults). It is of course possible to make fictional characters with the same names as real people and some of ‘the same’ characteristics – though of course they are fictional characteristics in the case of a fictional character, so they aren’t really ‘the same’ characteristics – or even for listeners or readers to mistake fiction for reality.

None of that, I trust, casts even a slight whiff of doubt upon the fact that fiction and reality are ontologically distinct.  If we cannot agree that fiction and reality are ontologically distinct, I’ll just tell a story about a nice little padded cell in which you can go live and we’ll call it a day. But be careful, because in the modern world you might get charged real rent for the imaginary padded cell.

The Pythagorean Theorem isn’t just some story that Pythagoras made up, because if it were something he just made up then it wouldn’t be possible for him to get it wrong. Understanding the Pythagorean Theorem would just be a matter of understanding whatever Pythagoras wanted it to mean, and the theorem would imply only what Pythagoras agrees that it implies in his story. A historical account of real events can be more or less accurate and complete (though it can never be, um, completely complete); but historical accounts are not the same kind of thing as make believe stories. Historical accounts make reference to real persons, objects, and events; fictional stories make reference to fictional persons, objects, events, aliens, creatures, magical powers, and authorial gods of the different universes standing behind the fourth wall making the fictional universe in their own image and to their own liking.

Whatever else may be the case, when we are talking about reality it is a different kind of discussion from when we are talking about make-believe. When Aquinas and Spinoza disagree about God they are not contending over whether Dumbledore is or is not gay, flitting equivocally back and forth between some original story and fan fiction, changing universes from one in which the original author is ‘god’ to one in which the reader or writer of fan fiction is ‘god’. When Aquinas and Spinoza disagree about God they are disagreeing about God, not writing two different fan fictions in which the God-character of one story isn’t really the same character as the God-character in the other story.

God actually exists, is indeed the grounding of all existence.

Folks who insist that when Mohammedans refer to God they are not referring to God have become confused, or perhaps in some cases are sowing confusion for rhetorical purposes, about the difference between reality and make believe. It isn’t that Mohammedans don’t believe in God, despite having a highly defective concept of God: it is that anti-realist ‘not the same God’ critics themselves don’t believe in God, God as real not just a character in a story. They have confused the world of concepts for the reality which those concept are about. They have become trapped in their own stories, unable on their own terms to make reference to reality outside of the fan fiction written by the post cartesian mind.

An atheist who (incorrectly) believes God to be fictional might view the Christian and Mohammedan “Gods” to be different characters: one character written by Mohammedan fans, and a different character written by Christian fans. He can view things that way because he is an atheist: he believes God to be a made up character in a fictional story.  (In this sense he himself actually does make reference to God, though, in asserting God’s nonexistence).  A polytheist is in the same position as the atheist in this respect: he asserts the existence of gods but denies the existence of God. Someone who grasps that God is in fact real must view this as simply false. The Mohammedan concept of God is very wrong: very different from the truth. (So is the Calvinist concept of God, for that matter). But that doesn’t make it about a fictional character.

When folks attempt to apply post cartesian anti-realism consistently they tend to become trapped inside their own theories. Rather than subordinating their theories to reality they become positivistic: refusing for example to believe in authority despite being presented with the counterexamples of property owner and parent. Because their theories don’t explain the ontological/deontological existence of intangible things like mathematics, love, loyalty, authority, etc – for example their theories don’t provide them with demarcation criteria giving an algorithm for comprehensively distinguishing all genuine authority from all false authority – they refuse to believe in these manifestly real things at all, and become solipsistically imprisoned in their own minds.

As with all crazy modern doctrines, nobody sane can assert a consistently anti-realist view of everything. That inconsistency is a feature not a bug.


Wis. GOP Leader Lies About Aborted Fetal Tissue Research [The Badger Catholic]

Last week, Media Trackers, a state-based conservative watchdog group, reported that the University of Wisconsin – Madison for at least two years worked directly with Planned Parenthood’s Madison, Wisconsin clinic to obtain up to 40 aborted fetal tissue samples for an academic study. The revelation was the latest in a long-running investigation that Media Trackers launched in the wake of undercover videos released last summer showing Planned Parenthood officials callously negotiating the sale price of aborted fetal body parts to tissue suppliers and academic and scientific researchers.

Stunningly, on Sunday, Speaker Robin Vos, the top Republican lawmaker in the Wisconsin Assembly, took to the airwaves to dismiss pro-life lawmakers pushing for legislation that would ban the use of aborted fetal tissue in research in Wisconsin.

Vos claims to be a conservative.

Vos claims to be pro-life.

Vos claims to be “disgusted” by the Center for Medical Progress videos released last summer.

Vos lied when he claimed on television (2:15 mark onward) that aborted fetal tissue is not used in research in Wisconsin.
continue at The Resurgent

University of Wisconsin doctors admitted to needing freshly killed babies for their research.


HT BC Aunt


Liturgy Guy: Why Families Need Traditional Parishes [OnePeterFive]


Over at long-time 1P5 contributor Brian William’s blog, Liturgy Guy, there is an important guest post by Chris Lauer, a founder of the Charlotte Latin Mass Community, entitled Why Families Need Traditional Parishes. Lauer adds a layer of consideration to the much-discussed article, What I’m Never Going to Tell You About Homeschooling, by Elizabeth Foss. The latter — which essentially warns parents that to expect homeschooling to be a magic bullet against the temptations of the Devil, the world, and the flesh is to set ourselves up for crushing heartbreak — is something I’d also like to reflect on here, but not today.

Instead, I’ll let Lauer’s essay speak for itself:

In short the author [Foss] reminds people that, while homeschooling may give families a “better shot” of raising holy children who will grow up to be faithful adults, it is by no means a guarantee. No matter what curriculum or preparations that parents employ, there will always be children who make bad choices and fall away from the faith. We must not be prideful or naive in our human efforts, and must continue to strive in personal holiness while praying for our children. I will add that we also must not underestimate the depravity and allure of the world, or overestimate our ability to maintain virtue and holiness through reason alone. While Ms. Foss focuses on our roles as parents, I wish to expand the topic to discuss the roles played by our Catholic parishes in the formation of our children.

The Catholic Church has always recognized that parents are the primary catechists of their children; however, few would dispute that the parish church is of vital importance. The parish is an important refuge for families where they can not only receive the sacraments, but also find fellowship with other families, learn more about their faith, and share in the devotional life of the Church which in turn serves as a means to pass along the faith to younger generations.

Isolation from the world is not the goal; rather the parish provides a shelter where young Catholics can be trained to defend their faith before going out into the world. Similar to what we ask of St. Michael, the parish provides “protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil, who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

As an analogy, consider the modern military base. A military that allowed enemy soldiers onto the base, or one that attempted to train their newest recruits in the thick of a battle, might not yield the best training outcome. Instead new recruits are trained on military bases surrounded by tall fences and armed patrols in order to provide them with shelter. They receive combat training from battle hardened experts who teach them how to recognize and defeat the enemy. The soldiers are molded into cohesive units where bonds are formed and accountability to one another is instilled.

This too is how we need to transmit the faith to our children. Our children need a sheltered environment in which they can practice virtue and learn how to exercise their free will in a way that is most pleasing to God. They need a shelter in which bad decisions are met by a peer group of faithful Catholics who will hold them accountable in a loving way – not a secular peer group that will often celebrate their bad decisions. Only in our sick modern culture is providing shelter for a child considered a pejorative.

With this in mind, it is important for us to make an honest assessment of the state of the Church in the context of the vocations shortage and consider what type of formation and sacramental life we can expect from our parishes.

In one seemingly typical American diocese who publishes statistics, the ratio of active Catholics to priests is about 3,700 to 1. We can presume that this ratio will continue to get worse as the baby boomer generation of clergy continues to retire and pass away each year. With few exceptions globally, the pace of retirements and deaths of priests are severely outpacing ordinations with no relief  in sight. The ecclesial crisis in Europe is even more grim. It would be naïve to think that the crisis will not become this severe here in the United States.

Consider what parish life is like now and try to imagine what it will be like with a ratio of 5,000 Catholics to 1 priest or even 10,000 to 1. Ratios such as these may very well occur in our lifetimes. Imagine how difficult will it be to receive the Sacraments? Will there be a priest available to administer last rites when the time comes for you or a member of your family? Will spiritual direction even exist anymore or will it be a distant memory? How long will it take to schedule a baptism or to schedule an appointment on Father’s calendar?

We must concede that we are now living in a post-Christian country. When the moral foundations of the world are crumbling, at the same time as the sacramental life of the Church is in decline, what are parents supposed to do? How are we to give our children the formation they will need to stand any sort of fighting chance in the world? While Ms. Foss paints a grim picture, there is good reason to believe that it may actually get a whole lot worse. She enjoins us to pray and continue striving for our children, but I feel  there is more that can be done.

Holy Mother Church, in her wisdom, provides us an  alternative form of parish for which these dangerous trends  do not apply: parishes devoted solely to the Extraordinary Form or Traditional Latin Mass as it is also known. Setting aside all discussions about the liturgy itself, there is a compelling case for Catholic families, even those who might not prefer the Traditional Latin Mass, to start attending for the sake of their children.

Why does he think that TLM parishes may be essential for Catholic families wishing to give their children the best shot at heaven? For his answer, you’ll have to go read the rest. (I can’t steal the whole thing!)

But I can give you a brief synopsis: even setting the more reverent liturgies aside, traditional parishes tend to have more priests, more vocations to the priesthood, more access to the sacraments, more frequent confessions, and parishioners who are truly dedicated to a more authentically Catholic way of life. Many who attend TLMs — even well-established ones — still travel long distances to get there. The willingness to make sacrifices to be a part of something larger than themselves increases the likelihood that such devotion infuses the lives of those in attendance, and helps to create an environment where children (and parents) can build the sort of friendships that will be a help, not a hindrance, to sanctification.

There are no guarantees here either. I’ve come into contact with some rotten eggs even in traditional Catholic families. But as with homeschooling, attending one of these parishes should not be done with the thought that it will eliminate the chance that your children will take a wrong turn into a life of sin — an impossibility in our fallen nature — but rather about giving them the best possible chance of success.

And isn’t that what all of us want?

The post Liturgy Guy: Why Families Need Traditional Parishes appeared first on OnePeterFive.


“Hermeneutic of continuity” leads to loss of Catholic faith [AKA Catholic]

Readers of this space are by now familiar with the 10,000 word treatment on Nostra Aetate that was published last month by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. As I wrote in a previous post on the matter, this document has exposed the hypocrisy of the neo-conservative “hermeneutic-of-continuity” crowd. While many of them cannot help (one hopes) but bristle at the document’s insistence that “it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God,” more »


Something to Consider About Pope Francis [The Eponymous Flower]

[Father Hunwicke] Like most readers, I rarely or never feel quite sure what our Holy Father actually means. Added to this is our natural inclination to treat with respect whatever a Roman Pontiff says (even when he speaks in a low Magisterial register). Accordingly, I am unwilling to join in the widespread criticisms of statements like his homily yesterday (Monday), in which he spoke about accepting new teaching, or 'surprises', from the Holy Spirit, 'new wine', and such things.

But I will remind you of something which we know we are bound to believe because it is the dogmatic teaching of an Ecumenical Council (Vatican I), worded with clarity.

"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter so that, by his revelation, they might reveal new teaching,



Catholic University of America Students to Lead 2016 March for Life [Cardinal Newman Society All Posts]

This year, the Newman Guide-recommended Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., will have the honor of leading the 2016 March for Life — a first-time opportunity for CUA and one which the students are eagerly anticipating, according to Father Jude DeAngelo, university chaplain and director of campus ministry at CUA.

“We’ve been participating in the March for Life for years, but we have never led the March to my knowledge,” Fr. DeAngelo told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview. “It’s quite a privilege and our students are really honored and excited.”

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, reached out to John Garvey, president of CUA, to invite the University to lead the 2016 March for Life.



Pope to migrants: Do not be robbed of hope, joy of living [CNS Top Stories]

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Welcoming thousands of migrants and refugees to the Vatican for their own Year of Mercy celebration, Pope Francis urged them to resist everything that would rob them of hope and joy.

"Each of you is the bearer of a history, culture and precious values and, unfortunately, also often of experiences of poverty, oppression and fear," the pope said Jan. 17. But gathering in St. Peter's Square for the Holy Year "is a sign of hope in God. Don't allow yourselves to be robbed of hope and the joy of living, which spring from the experience of divine mercy, also thanks to the people who welcomed and helped you."

The pope prayed that passing through the Holy Door and attending a special jubilee Mass "will fill your hearts with peace." He also thanked the inmates of a maximum security prison in Milan who prepared the hosts consecrated at the Mass.

According to the Italian news agency, ANSA, an estimated 7,000 migrants from 30 countries were present. The group passed through the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica, following a 9-foot tall, 3-foot wide wooden cross made out of the wreckage of boats carrying migrants from northern Africa to Lampedusa, Italy's southernmost island.

The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, who said in his homily that the cross was "an expressive symbol" of the tragic circumstances facing migrants who risk their lives seeking a better future.

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he said, was "a fitting occasion to remember that the church has always contemplated in migrants the image of Christ. Moreover, in the Year of Mercy, we are challenged to rediscover the works of mercy where, among the corporal works, there is the call to welcome the stranger."

The presence of migrants is a visible sign of the universality of the church and the integration of newcomers is not about "assimilation" but an opportunity to recognize "the cultural patrimony of migrants" for the good of the universal church.

"Everyone has something new and beautiful to contribute, but the source and steward is the Spirit," he said. "No one should feel superior to the other, but all must realize the need to collaborate and contribute to the good of the sole family of God."

Recalling Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Cardinal Veglio compared the plight of migrants to the Holy Family exiled in Egypt, which serves as a reminder that the "welcoming of the stranger means welcoming God himself."

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Paschal Candles [New Liturgical Movement]

Here are some examples of Paschal candles created by Gina Switzer of Columbus, Ohio. Her parish is St Patrick’s in Columbus, the Dominican church in the city.
I give you this information for two reasons. The first is that if your parish needs a paschal candle, you might consider commissioning one from Gina. Her website ginaswitzer.com has details of how to order and the designs that she has done in the past. So far she has six main themes, and churches ask for modifications that make it appropriate to their parish. On the Paschal page of the website there is a downloadable catalog that has details. Smaller candles also make good gifts, such as named candles for baptisms.
I asked Gina about her methods and she told me the following: “We design and decorate liturgical grade, 51% beeswax Paschal candles. We have designed images that express Christological themes, and so they are appropriate for their liturgical use. I create the artwork which is then reproduced onto a thin gelatin film. Metal leaf is applied by hand along with some hand painting directly onto the candle before the gelatin is applied, also by hand, to the candle. Because each candle is custom-made to order, our basic designs can be tweaked to fit a particular parishes needs; for example, the Dominican cross for a Dominican parish, a Celtic border for St. Patrick parish, and so on.”

The other reason for writing about this is that I hope it might inspire other artists to do the same. I am regularly asked by priests where they can get hold of Paschal candles, as they find the designs in the usual catalogs unsatisfactory. There seems to be a dearth in the market.


Aleppo verdurstet [Beiboot Petri]

Marco Tosatti bei la.stampa, San Pietro edintorno über einen dramatischen Appell für Aleppo, über jene Syrer, die zwischen den Fronten des Bürgerkrieges gefangen sind und einen dort verstorbenen Freund.
Erinnern wir uns, daß der Westen-also auch wir- die Rebellen, die für diese Situation verantwortlich sind-militärisch unterstützen. Wieder -wie schon beim ersten Irak-Krieg auf den Propaganda-Erfindungsreichtum der Ölmonarchien am Golf hereingefallen.....
Hier geht´s zum Original  klicken


"Während sich die Aufmerksamkeit der westlichen Medien- und hoffentlich nicht nur desinteressiert-auf die Situation in Madaya konzentriert: "Helfen wir Syrien", richtet eine italienische NGO, die versucht den zwischen den Kriegsfronten gefangenen syrischen Zivilisten zu helfen, einen dramatischen Appell für Aleppo an die Welt. Eine traurige Nachricht über einen verstorbenen Freund aus Aleppo.


"Die Lage der Einwohner von Aleppo wird immer dramatischer. Zu den Bomben, die täglich die Stadt bedrohen ( gestern wurde die Armenisch-Evangelische Kirche getroffen, glücklicherweise gab es keine Opfer) kommen das Fehlen von Elektrizität, die Unterbrechung der Wasserzufuhr und schließlich die intensive Kälter dieser Jahreszeit," schreibt uns der Präsident der NGO, Francesco Giovanelli.

Die verschiedenen Antiregierungs-Gruppierungen- ISIS, Jabhat, al Nusrah, unterbrechen seit Monaten die Wasserzufuhr für die Stadt, um den Widerstand ihrer Bewohner zu brechen, die sich weigern, sie zu verlassen. "Unter der geschwächten Bevölkerung breitet sich in deisen letzten Wochen das H1N1 -Virus aus, und hat viele Personen gezwungen ein Krankenhaus aufzusuchen, während der Mangel an Medikamenten die Situation noch problematischer macht."

Und gestern hat Aleppo an eine andere Kriegsverletzung erinnert: es sind jetzt 1000 Tage seit der Entführung der beiden Orthodoxen Erzbischöfe der Stadt vergangen. Die Msgri.Y.Ibrahim und Boulos Yazigi, verschwunden am 22. April 2013, gefangen von den Antiregierungs-Rebellen. Man hat nie wieder von ihnen gehört.

Wir erinnern daran, daß die Tageszeitung der italienischen Bischofskonferenz CEI, Avvenire, gefordert hat, daß Italien sich nicht mehr an den Sanktionen gegen Syrien beteiligt, weil sie nicht die Regierung treffen, sondern das Leben der Bevölkerung tragischerweise noch schwerer machen.

Und erlauben Sie mir noch eine traurige persönliche Bemerkung hinzuzufügen.In den vergangenen Tagen ist in Aleppo Armen Mazloumian, der Eigentümer des Baron-Hotels gestorben, die Primärquelle und der Protagonist der "Baroni di Aleppo"
Die "Baroni di Aleppo" waren ein Fenster auf den Mittleren Osten und auf ein Jahrhundert Geschichte-gesehen durch die Fenster dieses Hotel, das das schickste und berühmteste der Region war. Das Hotel, in dem Lawrence von Arabien und Agatha Christi übernachteten, in dessen Räumen die ersten Dokumente an-und verkauft wurden, die den Genozid an den Armeniern durch Zeugenberichte belegten.
Armen hat Flavia Amabile und mir die Geschichte des Hotels erzählt, das er in diesen Jahren des Krieges nicht verlassen wollte, obwohl er ernsthaft erkrankt war und es immer schwerer wurde, sich zu erholen. Ein weiteres  "Kollateral"-Opfer dieses absurden Krieges, ausgelöst und unterhalten von den islamischen Fundamentalisten der Golfmonarchien und von einigen Westmächten.

Quelle: La Stampa, Marco Tosatti
                                            Christus nobiscum state


Black Lives Matter Activists at Notre Dame: We Don’t Need ‘Christian, Cis-Heteronormative Man’ Like MLK to Lead [Cardinal Newman Society All Posts]

Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, spoke at the University of Notre Dame on Monday during a week of events meant to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the pair used the opportunity to push gender ideology, attack police as a “very big enemy” of their movement and said a “Christian, cis-heteronormative man” like King isn’t needed to lead them “to the Promised Land.”  

The event, “Black Lives Matter: The Hashtag Behind the New Civil Rights Movement,” was part of “Walk the Walk” week at Notre Dame, “A series of University and department-sponsored events, community-building dialogues and opportunities of reflection.” University President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., hoped the week’s events would give the campus community the opportunity to “reflect on the values that are so central both to Dr. King’s legacy and to Notre Dame’s mission.” The BLM event attracted nearly 500 attendees.



Tim Kelleher on the Power of Theology [Symposium]

Christ_Pantokrator,_Cathedral_of_Cefalù,_SicilyMr Kelleher published this piece last June, but I have only just now discovered and read it. Like so much of his work, it is well worth the effort.

It is, of course, the hope of the Theotokos Institute here in the UK that it, too, might be counted among the institutions about which Mr Kelleher speaks, casting the keys so necessary for unlocking doors of progress in the face of so many global challenges.


Pilgrims beware! Mexican bishops warn against papal ticket scams [CNA Daily News]

Mexico City, Mexico, Jan 19, 2016 / 04:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Following the rise of fraudulent papal ticket “sales” online, the Mexican Conference of Catholic Bishops has reminded the faithful that tickets to attend events during Pope Francis’ trip are free.  

Pope Francis will visit Mexico in a highly anticipated trip Feb. 12-18. In the weeks leading up to his trip, various scams have arisen, including several efforts on Facebook to encourage people to “buy” tickets to the papal events for several hundred dollars. 

Countering these efforts, the Mexican bishops released a press statement reminding the faithful that tickets for all events with the Pope have already been designed and “besides being stamped FREE,  have certain security features and information about when and where to enter the event  and what items cannot be brought in.”

The tickets are already being printed and will be delivered in late January to the bishops of the 93 dioceses of Mexico “so that each bishop can distribute them in his respective diocese as he deems appropriate, also trying to include those who do not participate in the Church,” the bishops said.

The allocation of tickets takes into account “the number of inhabitants in each diocese, the number of Catholics, religious men and women, seminarians, deacons and priests, as well as the geographic proximity to where the Mass or event will be held.”

“It is important to reiterate that the tickets are absolutely FREE,” the Mexican prelates emphasized. 

The bishops renewed their call to young people who want to participate in this trip as volunteers and encouraged them to sign up on the website for the visit: www.papafranciscoenmexico.org

They explained that a very significant moment during the visit “will be the pope’s meeting with Mexican young people on February 16 at 4 p.m., at the José María Morelos y Pavón Stadium in Morelia. Young people who are not close to the Church or part of it will also be able to participate.”


The Gift of Work [Dominicana]

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus instructs the Pharisees that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath is a gift from God for man: a day for people to set aside their usual work, to focus on worshipping God, and to enter into the Lord’s rest. Echoing Jesus’ […]


Starting Tuesday Off Right: King Saint Canute, Idolater and Divinator, Edition [Barnhardt]

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

The death of Canute IV of Denmark in the Church of Saint Albanus (1086) ,Christian Albrecht von Benzon

The death of Canute IV of Denmark in the Church of Saint Albanus (1086) ,Christian Albrecht von Benzon

Meet King Saint Canute IV of Denmark.  He was an extremely pious and devout Roman Catholic king who was slaughtered by his enemies in ARSH 1086 while kneeling before the altar at the Holy and August Sacrifice of the Mass being offered in the Venerable Gregorian Rite – very, very close and certainly recognizable as the VERY SAME RITE OF THE MASS being offered for you, my benefactors, this very day.

Now, according to our lord and savior jorge bergoglio (I’m just going to refer to him as that from now on, all lower-case, because let’s face it – that is who Bergoglio thinks he is), King St. Canute totally had it coming – that is, being run through the abdomen with a lance which then shattered his sacrum – being an “idolater” and “divinator” for rigidly clinging to antiquated liturgical forms that were already centuries and centuries old.  And, I mean, LOOK at him.  Look at him smugly KNEELING with his hands in that ridiculous position of faux-piety.  Who did he think he was kidding? Obviously, no one who puts on such a show could ever have a tender encounter of merciful caresses with the god of surprises (and the god of surprises is, of course, our lord and savior jorge bergoglio, and the “surprises” are whatever our lord and savior jorge bergoglio wants.)


“What Catholics once were, we are.
If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.

We are what you once were.
We believe what you once believed.

We worship as you once worshipped.
If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.
If you were right then, we are right now”.
-Robert DePiante

King St. Canute of Denmark, pray for Denmark, pray for Scandinavia, pray for Europe, pray for us.


Fortune [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Dante, Inferno 7.73-96 (tr. John D. Sinclair; slightly altered):

He whose wisdom transcends all
made the heavens and gave them guides,
so that every part shines to every part,        75

dispersing the light equally.
In the same way for worldly splendours
He ordained a general minister and guide

who should in due time change vain wealth
from race to race and from one to another blood,        80
beyond the prevention of human wits,

so that one race rules and another languishes
according to her sentence
which is hidden like the snake in the grass.

Your wisdom cannot strive with her.        85
She foresees, judges, and maintains
her kingdom, as the other heavenly powers do theirs.

Her changes have no respite.
Necessity makes her swift,
so fast men come to take their turn.        90

This is she who is so reviled
by the very men that should give her praise,
laying on her wrongful blame and ill repute.

But she is blest and does not hear it.
Happy with the other primal creatures        95
she turns her sphere and rejoices in her bliss.

Colui lo cui saver tutto trascende,
   fece li cieli e diè lor chi conduce
   sì ch'ogne parte ad ogne parte splende,        75

distribuendo igualmente la luce:
   similemente alli splendor mondani
   ordinò general ministra e duce

che permutasse a tempo li ben vani
   di gente in gente e d'uno in altro sangue,        80
   oltre la difension d'i senni umani;

per ch'una gente impera e l'altra langue,
   seguendo lo giudicio di costei,
   che è occulto come in erba l'angue.

Vostro saver non ha contasto a lei:        85
   questa provede, giudica, e persegue
   suo regno come il loro li altri dei.

Le sue permutazion non hanno triegue:
   necessità la fa esser veloce,
   sì spesso vien chi vicenda consegue.        90

Quest' è colei ch'è tanto posta in croce
   pur da color che le dovrien dar lode,
   dandole biasmo a torto e mala voce;

ma ella s'è beata e ciò non ode:
   con l'altre prime creature lieta        95
   volve sua spera e beata si gode.


Pope Francis again, I'm afraid. [Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment]

Like most readers, I rarely or never feel quite sure what our Holy Father actually means. Added to this is our natural inclination to treat with respect whatever a Roman Pontiff says (even when he speaks in a low Magisterial register). Accordingly, I am unwilling to join in the widespread criticisms of statements like his homily yesterday (Monday), in which he spoke about accepting new teaching,


On the feast of the Circumcision [LMS Chairman]

The other day, Pope Francis visited a synagoge.

Near the beginning of the video of the visit (below) an old Jewish man greeted the Pope and then says to him: "Senta, siccome Lei un grande ricostruttore, perché non mette "la circoncisione" un altra volta nel calendario come... quando ero ragazzino, è una buon'idea, non? Sarebbe per noi..." 

"Look, since you're a great rebuilder, why not put The Circumcision once again into the calendar as it was when I was a little boy? It's a good idea, don't you think? It would be for us..."

The re-naming of the feast of 1st Jan is one of the odd and unsatisfactory things about the 1962 Calendar. Unsatisfactory, because the solution they came up with in 1962 - renaming the 'Circumcision', 'the Octave of Christmas', didn't satisfy the reformers only a few years later, when it was renamed 'the Feast of the Holy Mother of God'. It is the only one of the ten Days of Obligation listed in Canon law where the name is different in the 1962 Calendar and the 1970 one.

The theme of the circumcision came into the Roman calendar from Gallican sources, something which made it unpopular with the minimalist fanatics of the era of reform. But it is of great significance: that Jesus was a Jew, and submitted to the Law of Moses in this concrete way, even as a tiny baby.

There's more detail in the Position Paper on Holy Days.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.


Civility [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Ernest Renan (1823-1892), Recollections of My Youth, tr. C.B. Pitman (London: Chapman and Hall, 1883), pp. 312-314 (footnote omitted):

Theirs was the true French politeness; that which is shown not only towards acquaintances but towards all persons without exception. Politeness of this kind implies a general standard of conduct, without which life cannot, as I hold, go on smoothly; viz. that every human creature should be given credit for goodness failing proof to the contrary, and treated kindly. Many people, especially in certain countries, follow the opposite rule, and this leads to great injustice. For my own part, I cannot possibly be severe upon any one a priori. I take for granted that every person I see for the first time is a man of merit and of good repute, reserving to myself the right to alter my opinions (as I often have to do) if facts compel me to do so....The right way to behave at table is to help oneself to the worst piece in the dish, so as to avoid the semblance of leaving for others what one does not think good enough—or, better still, to take the piece nearest to one without looking at what is in the dish. Any one who was to act in this delicate way in the struggle of modern life, would sacrifice himself to no purpose. His delicacy would not even be noticed. "First come, first served," is the objectionable rule of modern egotism. To obey, in a world which has ceased to have any heed of civility, the excellent rules of the politeness of other days, would be tantamount to playing the part of a dupe, and no one would thank you for your pains.

C'était la vraie civilité française, je veux dire celle qui s'exerce, non seulement envers les personnes que l'on connaît, mais envers tout le monde sans exception. Une telle politesse implique un parti général sans lequel je ne conçois pas pour la vie d'assiette commode; c'est que toute créature humaine, jusqu'à preuve du contraire, doit être tenue pour bonne et traitée avec bienveillance. Beaucoup de personnes, surtout en certains pays, suivent la règle justement opposée; ce qui les mène à de grandes injustices. Pour moi, il m'est impossible d'être dur pour quelqu'un a priori. Je suppose que tout homme que je vois pour la première fois doit être un homme de mérite et un homme de bien, sauf à changer d’avis (ce qui m'arrive souvent) si les faits m'y forcent.... La bonne règle à table est de se servir toujours très mal, pour éviter la suprême impolitesse de paraître laisser aux convives qui viennent après vous ce qu'on a rebuté. Peut-être vaut-il mieux encore prendre la part qui est la plus rapprochée de vous, sans la regarder. Celui qui, de nos jours, porterait dans la bataille de la vie une telle délicatesse serait victime sans profit; son attention ne serait même pas remarquée. «Au premier occupant» est l'affreuse règle de l'égoïsme moderne. Observer, dans un monde qui n'est plus fait pour la civilité, les bonnes règles de l'honnêteté d'autrefois, ce serait jouer le rôle d'un véritable niais, et personne ne vous en saurait gré.


A. Soccis Gedanken angesichts des päpstlichen Besuchs in der Großen Synagoge in Rom [Beiboot Petri]

Was A. Socci in LoStraniero im voraus über den Papstbesuch in der Großen Synagoge zu Rom schrieb.
Die Worte der Rabbiner di Segni und Laras über den politischen Islam kann man so manchem unserer Poitiker und Journalisten nur dringend zur Lektüre empfehlen.
Hier geht´s zum Original:  klicken


"Vielleicht wollte er der erste Papst sein, der in einen jüdischen Tempel eintritt, seit den Jahren des Hl. Petrus -aber lange vor Franziskus, der heute der römischen jüdischen Gemeinde begegnet, besuchte Johannes Paul II den Großen Tempel in Rom: am 13. April 1986.
Benedikt XVI war außer im Tempel der Hauptstadt, den er am 17.1.2010 besuchte, am 22.8. 2005 in die Synagoge von Köln gegangen, die von den Nazis 1938 während der Kristallnacht zerstört worden war.
Wojtyla und Ratzinger, die als Protagonisten eines einzigen Pontifikates betrachtet werden können, füllten den brüderlichen Dialog mit der jüdischen Welt mit Inhalten.

Papa Benedetto ging auf der durch seinen Vorgänger eröffneten Straße weiter- auch mit seinen Büchern über Jesus. Aber da ist noch viel mehr. Giorgio Israel der große, kürzlich verstorbene jüdische Intellektuelle, hat mit mir oftmals mit Enthusiasmus über die wichtigen theologischen Texte und wertvollen Aussagen des lichtvollen Ära von Johannes Paul II und Joseph Ratzinger gesprochen.
Gegenüber diesen beiden Giganten hat Papst Bergoglio ein sehr viel kleineres Maß und sein Besuch wird vor allem dazu dienen, einige "Aufnäher" drauf zu setzen,

In der Tat hat der Großrabbiner von Rom, Riccardo di Segni, Franziskus vor kurzem wissen lassen, daß es absurd und gefährlich wäre, fortzufahren-wie er es tut- Jesus dem Gott des Alten Testament entgegen zu setzen, das "streng und rachsüchtig sei".  Und auch den Begriff "Pharisäer" immer mit einer negativen Konnotation zu benutzen. Bergoglio sollte das verstanden haben, Aber heute- was wird er sagen?
Man hofft, daß er nicht die synkretistischen Inhalte des Epiphanias-Videos wiederaufnimmt, wo es schien, daß alle Religionen gleich  viel wert sind, sondern an die spezielle Beziehung zwischen Christentum und Judentum erinnert, wie es Benedikt XVI tat, der- nachdem er den Antisemitismus und Antijudaismus verurteilt hatte- sagte: "In unserer Welt kennen viele Gott nicht, oder halten ihn für überflüssig, ohne Relevanz für das Leben. Es sind andere und neue Götter geschaffen worden, vor denen der Mensch sich verbeugt,. Unserer Gesellschaft die Öffnung zur transzendentalen Dimension wieder zu öffnen, den einzigen Gott zu bezeugen, ist ein wertvoller Dienst, den Juden und Christen zusammen anbieten können und sollen."

Leider ist es unmöglich, zu denken, daß Franziskus den Wunsch nach "Zusammenarbeit und Zeugnis" wiederholt, den Benedikt im Hinblick auf den Schutz des Lebens und der von Mann und Frau geformten Familie äußerte. Felder der Zusammenarbeit, die beide teilen, wie Rabbiner di Segno definiert.
Bergoglio könnte in diesem Dialog auch die gerade stattfindende Tragödie der verfolgten Christen besser verstehen, die manchmal von der jüdischen Welt besser gefühlt zu werden scheint als von ihm.

Am 23. November ist ein Artikel von Rabbiner di Segni mit dem bedeutsamen Titel  "Das schuldhafte Schweigen und die ungenügenden Reaktionen hinter dem Drama der Christen" erschienen.
Er schrieb:
"Man ist perplex wegen der Schüchternheit der christlichen Reaktionen auf den gesamten Horror. In der Erfahrung der jüdischen Gemeinschaft gibt es genügend Vorfälle von antisemitischer Intoleranz in letzter Zeit, wir haben sie kraftvoll verurteilt und viele haben uns Sympathie und Solidarität bekundet. Für die verfolgten Christen wollten wir unsere Sympathie und Solidarität zeigen und auf die Straße gehen, um zu demonstrieren wie es viel für uns getan haben. Jemanden zu finden, dem man seine Solidarität hätte ausdrücken können, von einer organisierten Antwort gar nicht zureden, hat einen gewaltigen Eindruck hinterlassen.
Einmal wollten wir mit der Gemeinde von Sant´ Egidio einen Demonstrationszug machen, da wurde uns gesagt, für einen Demonstrationszug brauche man so viele Menschen, und die haben wir nicht. Wir haben uns also auf einen Platz vor dem Kolosseum beschränkt. Im Publikum und auf dem Platz wichtige Abwesende.
Die brennende Schlußfolgerung:
Es ist eine Erleichterung, daß Papst Franziskus begonnen hat, die Tatsachen öffentlich zu verurteilen. Es hätte sich andernfalls um eine vorsichtige politische Entscheidung handeln können, die diskrete Interventionen dem medialen Lärm vorzieht, um mit anderen Mitteln und Wegen zu agieren. Wir möchten beruhigt werden, daß es wirklich so ist. Damit das Schweigen zu etwas nützt und nicht nur eine Entschuldigung ist."
Klare und bedeutsame Worte.

An die Adresse der islamischen Welt richtete auch Rabbiner Giuseppe Laras in einem Interview mit dem Corriere della Sera nach den Attentaten von Paris härteste Worte.
"Verbündete des djihadistischen Islams sind jene Politiker, Denker, Historiker und Religionsvertreter, die den Frieden in Pazifismus verdreht haben, Toleranz und Inklusion in Laissez faire, die Kraft der Wahrheit in die Schwäche einer beliebigen Meinung, den gesunden Dissenz in einen intoleranten, politisch korrekten Konformismus. (...) Das Drama ist, daß das mit blinder Ignoranz der laizistischen Kultur den politischen Islam vereinfachend mit Christentum und Judentum und ihrer Geschichte gleichsetzt- die auch nicht ohne Schatten ist.
Aber so ist es nicht. Schluß mit dem gutmenschlichen Mantra der Religion des Friedens! Man sieht die Plätze in den Islamischen Staaten voller Jubelnder über die Taten von Paris, wie bei Charlie, über die toten Juden,. die Twin Towers, und was soll man zu den von Taliban zerstörten Buddha-Statuen sagen?"
Laras fährt fort:
"Beleidigen wir nicht die Intelligenz mit diesem " das ist nicht der Islam". Schluß mit den anachronistischen Schlägen wg. der Kreuzzüge und des Kolonialismus: die City von London, die Mitte von Paris unf die neuen Wolkenkratzer von Mailand sind in heute in islamischem Besitz, der politische Islam hat mächtige Waffen. Zum....kommt heute der Terror hinzu. Einige wollen- durch wirtschaftliche, demographische und militärische Ängste gelähmt, mit den Auftraggebern des Terrors  zusammenarbeiten indem sie eine "besserer Inklusion und Integration" vorschlagen, das Nicht-zu-tolerierende  rechtfertigen und drnken, daß man das Schlimmere verhindern kann, wenn man einen Pakt mit dem Bösen schließt. Das funktioniert so nicht.
Papa Bergoglio sollte nachdenken und noch ein Realismus-Bad nehmen auch hinsichtlich des Themas Immigration.

In einem Interview hat Rabbiner di Segni vor kurzem daran erinnert, daß die Juden das Drama der Migranten, der Vertriebenen und Flüchtlinge sehr gut verstehen, weil es ihre eigenen Geschichte ist. Deshalb drücken sie ihnen ihre ganze Solidarität aus.
Aber zwischen dem Fall der Juden und dem gerade stattfindenden gigantischen Phänomen gibt es einen substantiellen Unterschied: Hier handelt es sich um Millionen, um die Verlagerung von ganzen Völkern, was die Kennzeichen Europas komplett verändern wird.
Und di Segni fügte hinzu:
"Die Sorge ist sehr groß. Traditionell sind wir solidarisch mit denen, die fliehen und aufmerksam für die Gefahren. Dass es jene Fanatiker mit dem Kopf voller entgleister religiöser Gedanken sind, die ihr MG in einem jüdischen Supermarkt abfeuern, aber auch mit anderen Signalen verknüpfte.
Di Segni schloss:
"Jemand sagte, Europa ist in Auschwitz geboren. Ich möchte nicht, daß es mit einem anderen Auschwitz endet.Wenn man an diese Millionen von Menschen denkt, über die wir gesprochen haben und die Bilder von vor 20 Jahren, würden Sie es wagen, ein friedliches Zusammenleben für die Zukunft zu sehen?"
Bergoglio hat im Gegensatz dazu ungeregelte Empfangsbereitschaft gepredigt und jede Art von Grenze als eine Niedertracht.

Er ist so davon überzeugt, daß Mauern Symbole des Bösen sind, daß er mit palästinensichen Regierungsvertretern an die Mauer ging, die die Israelis errichtet haben und vor der er in stiller Polemik stehen blieb.
Und dennoch hat diese Mauer viele Leben gerettet, indem sie den Attentaten in Israel ein Ende bereitete und bewies, daß Mauern auch Schutz und Verteidigung sein können.

Andererseits ist in Teilen der Bibel die Metaphorik der Mauer keine negative, Gott selbst vergleicht sich mit einer Mauer.
So hat Benedikt XVI eine dieser biblischen Passagen erklärt: "die folgenden Texte im Buch Nehemia über die Erbauung der Mauer der Stadt erscheinen bei der ersten Lektüre in ihrer sehr konkreten und prosaischen Eigenheit. Dennoch bilden sie ein wirklich spirituelles und theologisches Thema.
Ein Prophetenwort aus dieser Zeit sagt, daß " Gott selbst eine Mauer aus Feuer um Jerusalem legt. Gott selbst ist die lebende Verteidigung der Stadt, nicht nur zu jener Zeit sondern immer."
Hoffen wir, daß Bergoglio, wenn er der Jüdischen Gemeinde begegnet, über die Hl. Schrift meditiert."


Patriae Solum Carum [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Ovid, Letters from Pontus 1.3.35-36 (my translation):

By some inexplicable charm our native land attracts us all and doesn't allow us to forget her.

nescioqua natale solum dulcedine cunctos
    ducit et inmemores non sinit esse sui.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal (November 12, 1853):
I cannot but regard it as a kindness in those who have the steering of me that, by the want of pecuniary wealth, I have been nailed down to this my native region so long and steadily, and made to study and love this spot of earth more and more. What would signify in comparison a thin and diffused love and knowledge of the whole earth instead, got by wandering? The traveller's is but a barren and comfortless condition.


SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders [Cardinal Newman Society All Posts]

Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers threatens the well-being of students and the culture of Catholic campuses.

Planned Parenthood is, by its mission, directly opposed to Catholic values on sexuality, artificial contraception and abortion. Many of its centers perform abortions and distribute contraceptives.

In its review of 188 four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S., The Cardinal Newman Society found that 92, or 49 percent, are within five miles of a Planned Parenthood facility. Of these, 13 are within one mile or less, 37 are within 1.1-3 miles and 42 are within 3.1-5 miles.



Glamour! [Beiboot Petri]

Das Fürst Albert und Fürstin Charlene von Monaco besuchten heute den Papst ...

Die Fürstin in weiß und mit Schleier! Ein schönes Vorbild! Tres chic!


His holy grace is enough for you [Vultus Christi]

M.Zał-e1389388608317At Silverstream Priory, we are seeking the intercession of Catherine Mectilde de Bar for a special intention. To our prayers, I shall attempt to join each day a little work of love: the translation of a page or, at least, of a few lines of Mother Mectilde’s writings. The text offered today, dated 1678, is from one of Mother Mectilde’s letter to a religious of the monastery of Toul. Mother Mectilde was 64 years old when she wrote it. It is a mature expression of her thought. The motifs running through this letter characterise Mother Mectilde’s own spiritual journey: abandonment; trust in Divine Providence; confidence in Our Lady; detachment from all things; submission to the Will of God; the casting of oneself into nothingness before God; the loss of everything; reliance on God alone; the sufficiency of divine grace; the secret operations of the Holy Ghost; and God alone. The great Benedictine mystic of the 17th century is worthily paired with Saint John of the Cross. Their spiritual doctrines, though expressed differently, converge in a sober awareness of the nothingness of all things and in a consuming passion for God alone.

Mother Mectilde de Bar to a Religious of the Monastery of Toul, 1678 (Part I)

I abandon myself to God’s good pleasure and I adore His counsels upon your soul, as well as His holy conduct over all your holy community. I give you over to his divine Providence, trusting that His goodness will care for you always and protect you, just as He has done until now.

I abandon you to the power of the Father, to the adorable wisdom of the Son, and to the fulness of divine of love, the Holy Ghost. I invoke upon you all the blessings of heaven through Jesus Christ, and I beg the most holy Mother of God to be your guide. I leave you all to this blessed Mother, giving her to you as your most worthy Superior. She will look after your comings and goings in holy perfection and will obtain from her Son the holiness that I desire for you.

I counsel you to abandon everything to God and to believe that He is in no wise attached to objects. His judgments are deep, and very often our lights exist only in the piety of our thoughts. But the hand of God is powerful; He does His works as He sees fit, drawing our sanctification out of the things that seem to be our ruin. The crosses of Providence have an unction sweeter than all others; they are visits of our divine Master. One must adore them and submit to them. It is true that we are in a realm of annihilation. I pray Our Lord to give us the grace to annihilate ourselves in the love of God’s good pleasure for time and for eternity.

Your spiritual necessity consists only in being very faithful and unshakable in the way that His divine mercy has shown you. Whatsoever doubt may come upon you or temptation come against you, do not give up. Lean upon the obedience that enjoins it. Do not become upset because you are deprived of a creature powerless to help you and to sanctify you. God alone — but entirely alone — is enough for you. Allow the means to be annihilated so as to remain closely united to the End. I know well that the greatest happiness in the interior life — after the possession of grace — is to find a person  who understands one’s dispositions and who, with the Holy Ghost, may serve one as a guide. But, alas, my dear N., I am of no use to your soul. God knows the impurity and ignorance of mine. It belongs only to Him to sanctify his chosen ones and to make them arrive, through frightful tempests, into a happy port.

Take heart; His holy grace is enough for you. One must lose everything in order to find God. God cannot be found except by leaving behind all creatures and oneself. Remain entirely tranquil in pure annihilation, without worrying so much about your salvation. Remember what Our Lord says in His Gospel: “He that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Let us, then, lose ourselves, my dear Mother, and abide in pure abandonment. Leaving to God the conduct of your soul, you will not lack the Holy Ghost.


The Name of God Is Mercy – Review [The Jesuit Post]


Lord, forgive me if I have forgiven too much. But you’re the one who gave me the bad example!”

This line, from a priest who had doubts about whether he was too forgiving in the confessional, is one of many priceless anecdotes from Pope Francis in the newly-released The Name of God is Mercy (Random House, 2016).

This book is a collection of conversations on God’s mercy between Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli and Pope Francis.

It is quintessentially Francis.

The Pope elaborates on some of the most quoted lines from his papacy, such as the question-heard-’round-the-world regarding gay people who seek the Lord: “Who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis emphasizes the need for merciful shepherds, not modern-day “scholars of the law,” and gives many memorable — even folksy — examples, such as an analogy between a corrupt man and a person with bad breath.

We also get to know the heart of Francis in these conversations. When hearing confessions, Francis reveals how he often thought about his own sins and his need for mercy, “and so I tried to forgive a great deal.” He talks several times about his encounters with those who are incarcerated, including the thought he has every time he goes to a prison: “Why them and not me? I should be here.”

There is a lot in this little book with which one can pray and reflect, including the Pope’s insight that serves as the title of the book: “The name of God is mercy.” Pope Francis says that recognizing oneself as a sinner is a gift in that sin is where I encounter the mercy of Jesus.

There is also a bodily component to this mercy that comes across in the Pope’s responses. He says that the Church exists “to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.” We, then, “touch the flesh of Christ” in those who are most in need.

The Pope says that he wants “a Church that warms people’s hearts with its closeness.” His own warmth and nearness to people jumps off the page and serves as a challenge to us today. All of us can be part of that heart-warming, merciful Church.

The whole thing sounds a like a fireside chat with your grandpa or a series of great homilies strung together. The book is quite short, but just as I have never left a homily thinking, “Wow, I really wish that was longer,” the brevity works.

These conversations are packed with wisdom that I will be chewing on for a long time. I, too, hope to learn from God’s “bad” example of forgiving too much.


Here is Pope Francis opening the Jubilee Year of Mercy. (Who knew that he collaborated with Adele?)



Europe's 'new nationalism' is problematic, Austrian cardinal warns [CNA Daily News - Vatican]

Vatican City, Jan 19, 2016 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Vienna has warned that as Europe’s migrant crisis reaches a fever pitch, the continent risks falling into old fears that could build new walls that are contrary to the Christian concept of charity.

“Faced with the challenge of many migrants and refugees, which is a great challenge, there is the risk that everyone withdraws into their own limits; that the borders, barriers, walls, the Iron Curtain, will return, will exist again, even if in a different way,” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said Jan. 18.

An “enormous challenge” for Europe is to have the Christian virtues of prudence, mercy, and charity overcome the fears and “new nationalisms which seem outdated,” but which are, in fact, alive and well, he said, adding that “we are again in a new wave of neo-nationalism in Europe.”

The cardinal spoke at a news conference presenting the European Apostolic Congress on Mercy, which is set to take place in Rome March 31-April 4 as part of the Jubilee of Mercy.

In response to the migrant-refugee situation, which hit Europe especially hard in 2015, “there are things to do on many levels,” especially for the Church and for politicians who have faith, he said.

“We must not forget that Europe was in blood and tears for centuries of wars between Christians,” the cardinal observed, and lamented that the continent which once prided itself on openness and acceptance seems to be falling into old mentalities of fear and closed-mindedness.

He said that European leaders, including those from the Church, haven’t yet been able to generate a unified response to large numbers of immigrants.

In 2015 alone more than 1 million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe, sparking a continent wide crisis that has created division in the EU on how best to handle the influx.

“I hope that European bishops have the ability to find a common word, a common encouragement. Right now we still haven’t gotten there, to be honest,” he said.

Cardinal Schönborn lamented that the Council of European Churches has been able to give neither a “strong word” on this challenge, “nor an analysis on the causes.”

However, whatever decisions are made, mercy must be at the heart, he said, pointing to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are being encouraged during the Holy Year as a good source of reflection.

“A good policy is a work of mercy,” the cardinal said, adding that the fight against corruption, which is so important to Pope Francis, “is a work of mercy.”

The work done by courageous politicians “who fight at the risk of their lives against corruption is a work of mercy that we need on all levels,” he added.

Cardinal Schönborn then voiced his hopes for the outcome of the upcoming Apostolic Congress on Mercy.

The goal is that for attendees, mercy would become “not only devotion, but charity, mercy in action,” he said.

Witnesses of mercy are especially important on this point, he said, and pointed to his involvement in a death row case in the United States as an example.

Texas death row inmate Richard Masterson, is scheduled to be executed Jan. 20. Masterson was convicted in 2001 for the murder of Darin Shane Honeycutt, and has been on death row for 12 years.

According to Cardinal Schönborn, Pope Francis is also aware of Masterson’s case and pending execution.

“It’s a scary thing, to be executed tomorrow,” the cardinal said, and praised “the apostolate of mercy” being carried out by various groups of Christians who have been following the case since the beginning, including the Community of Sant’Egidio, urging prayer.

Without pointing to specifics, the cardinal said that what these groups are doing for Masterson and his family “is a witness of the closeness of Jesus to this man” which shows “the sweet experience of the merciful heart of Jesus.”


The Eclipse and Reappearance of St. Thomas Aquinas [RSS]

The new Hungarian ambassador to the Court of St. Peter, Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, who wrote a dissertation on Thomism, comments in an interview about why Thomistic philosophy disappeared for a while in the twentieth century:

"I found that the Thomistic philosophy that I wrote about was always closely linked to Thomistic theology.  And Thomistic theology, of course, began to disappear in the 1950s, because all the theologians discovered the Church fathers and patristic theology and, while Thomistic theology made sense to prepare you for Thomistic or scholastic theology, it didn’t seem to make sense to prepare you for patristic theology.  So, in a way, all this apparatus for formation suddenly seemed to have become obsolete; and that’s how, in my opinion, it disappeared.  Even the most stout defenders of Thomism didn’t really see what they were fighting for anymore.  Thomism disappeared for 20 years."

He adds, "now it's back with a vengeance.  Everywhere in the world, there are centers .... Good philosophy never dies.  It will transform and come back differently."

I am sure Mr. Habsburg-Lothringen is right that many theologians of the time thought Thomism didn’t prepare them to understand the Fathers, but what an irony that is:  St. Thomas did his work in large part to understand the Fathers better.  At every opportunity, he quotes them; his work is drenched in them; his pages drip with their words.  But what they had said unsystematically, he tried to say systematically, working through the difficulties and obscurities with the help of new philosophical tools. 

It seems to me that anyone who thought St. Thomas did not prepare him to understand the Patristic writers must have understood neither St. Thomas nor the Patristic writers very well.



Reformkatholiken Frankfurts: Segnungen von Homo-Paaren und Geschiedenen [Mathias von Gersdorff]

Foto: ArcCan – Kaiserdom St. Bartholomäus in Frankfurt am Main  Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons Der katholische Progressismus in Frankfurt ist fest entschlossen, die katholische Kirche in der Stadt am Main nach eigenem Gutdünken zu „reformieren“. Entsprechende Ideen wurden in einem „Stadtkirchenforum“ entwickelt, in welchem sich 200 Vertreter aus den diversen


Ordinariate Rites [The Rad Trad]

In the last year or so the Ordinariate has made great sense to me, the finalization of the Oxford Movement and a cultivation of constant, sound liturgical practice. It did not make so much sense when I witnessed the erection of the English Ordinariate in 2011, with Msgr. Burnham—a fine man—celebrating a Paul VI Mass on Sunday nights at St. Aloysius. The Ordinariate was not yet using the Anglican Use liturgy, just the reformed Roman rite. To my surprise, while rummaging for my passport (need to escape Texas) I happened upon the booklet for what we were told was the first ever unique Ordinariate liturgy.

It was on a Wednesday and a friend was accompanying me to a lecture on quantum physics. We noticed a mutual acquaintance enter Blackfriars and decided to follow him. No sooner had we greeted him than he shoved this slim volume into my hands, re-assured me it was a "short" service, and turned to the next guest. The church was packed with an unfamiliar crowd. The bell rang and the servers escorted Msgr. Burnham with his two assistants, wearing vestments from the Oratory, to the sanctuary.

What followed was an English-language service of Vespers and Benediction which I am unsure has survived into the observed Ordinariate liturgy.

Msgr. Burnham delivers the sermon. Lots of booklets like the one above. Rad Trad needed a haircut,
but wouldn't get one for another month,
The service began exactly as old rite Roman Vespers, with five psalms, the Veni Creator as the hymn for this votive Evensong of the Holy Ghost, and the Magnificat. A long reading from Exodus replaced the chapter, unless such is the Anglican tradition. Jarringly, there were no antiphons of any sort to frame the service. Another Biblical reading, extracted from Corinthians, followed the Magnificat, then the Nunc dimittis, the Creed, the Our Father, and some versicle prayers.

Then came the collects of the day, for peace, and against perils. Anyone who prays the pre-Pius X Office should recognize the English version of the prayer Deus, a quo sancta.

Then came Benediction, which I did not see, but I did hear in the form of a recording later. Tantum ergo should not be sung in English. My friend, a convert from Anglicanism, felt uncomfortable and wanted to go; "I feel like a protestant again," he whelped. The first half of the service bothered me greatly, in my naivete, for I disliked hearing familiar words in another tongue sung to vulgar melodies.

I had forgotten about the entire service for years until stumbling upon this booklet. After praying Evensong with the Houston Ordinariate I cannot say I recognize much of the service here except for the Nunc dimittis and readings. This clearly was an experimental rite, perhaps one that did not greatly influence what the Ordinariates eventually accepted as their liturgy.

I am happy the Ordinariate exists. I recall many cradle Catholics, especially traditionalists, holding a great deal of resentment back then. We should remember that in the parable of the prodigal son, the good son who never left home was the bitter one. The prodigal returned for less than noble reasons, but the father did not care, for his son is home and making good liturgy.


Sword Names [Tea at Trianon]

From English Historical Fiction Authors:

Throughout history, heroic figures have wielded swords to stave off hordes of enemies, whether man or beast. The style and shape of the weapon varied, depending on the time period and level of craftsmanship at the time. The blade could have been single or double-edged, one or two-handed, exquisite or ordinary.

Many pieces survive to this day, adorning a wall in a writing corner or preserved in a museum. Some are buried inches below the surface, begging to see the light of day and share its tales of glory or infamy. Others have decayed to the point of resembling only a shadow of what they once were.

The Vikings were feared for their ferocity and skill in battle. Their longships with their dragons heads had the ability to sail up shallow rivers, thus terrorizing England and making Saxon mothers wonder whether their men and stockade fences could withstand a sustained assault. Perhaps the attackers had the name ULFBERHT inscribed on the blade, which would have placed no small amount of fear in the defenders.

This type of blade was an early form of a brand name; it was a high-end brand of swords whose maker was ULFBERHT. It is believed that these high quality, super strong weapons were forged in a German monastery between 800 and 1000 AD. The name does not refer to one single person, but rather those who had the skill to forge under this name. The steel was of a high purity that it was not believed to have been available until the Industrial Revolution, which explains why 170 of these pieces bearing this inscription have been found. (Read more.)


Religious Racism, Progressive Christianity, and the Conservative Challenge [Ethika Politika]


Writing for First Things, George Weigel strongly rebukes liberal Catholic clergymen like Belgium’s Cardinal Danneels for their racist statements about African Catholicism. He comments on the scandalously low Mass attendance rates in Europe before saying, “African Catholics are not interested in learning what to do with empty churches, convents, and seminaries.” As a student at an ecumenically diverse college, I’ve noticed that my friends who are drawn to more liberal expressions of the faith are often drawn in this direction because their souls have been deeply shaped by a strong sense of compassion and justice. For example, my Episcopal-leaning friends are well aware of the various ways in which the Episcopal Church involves itself in feeding the poor or advocating for victims of bullying related to sexual orientation. Here, say my friends, is a Church engaged with the world and ministering as Jesus would. Anglican Condescension Well, yes, I want to say, this is also the same Episcopal Church that threatens African Anglican churches with the loss of aid because those churches will not endorse its affirmation of homosexual relationships. This is the same denomination that is stunningly not racially diverse (for all its progressive talk) and might actually be more racially prejudiced than Evangelical and Catholic churches. Most concerning to me, as an African-American, has been the way in which the Church of England and the Episcopal Church have continued to perpetuate a condescending and racially-charged air of superiority over their African brothers and sisters. I recently heard Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi of Nigeria (and other Nigerian clergy) give testimony to the incredible advancement of the Gospel in Nigeria. They spoke of a flood of converts, an increasing number of ordinations, and churches filled with worshippers every week. And this despite the pervasive and constant threat of terrorism. Archbishop Kwashi and his family, which includes 54 orphans whom he and his wife care for, have suffered directly from violent attacks by Boko Haram that almost claimed their lives. After that, to hear the way in which the leadership of the Church of England continues to dismiss African clergy’s concern with the liberal abandonment of the Gospel in the West and the conflation of progressive secular agendas with their church’s teaching on marriage and the family is deeply saddening. To hear firsthand accounts from various bishops and clergy about the way in which governing bishops within the Church of England openly mock African clergy, including referring to them as “boys”—when these men of God are risking their very lives to preach the Word—that is infuriating. This air of condescension is certainly correlated with the stunning lack of racial diversity among the clerical governorship of the Church of England—a problem described by the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford as directly affecting the credibility and mission of the Church. Also deeply upsetting to me, as one who holds to a traditional understanding of marriage, is the way in which the Episcopal Church has, like secular progressive voices, conflated the history of the enslavement and oppression of African-Americans with the opposition to gay marriage. In his response to the recent sanctions placed on the Episcopal Church by the Church of England, its Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (himself an African-American) referenced his descent from African slaves to say that these recent sanctions conjure up that history and that pain. Commenting on the injustice of this conflation, Esau McCaulley (an African-American ordained in the Episcopal Church) writes: More to the point, it is one thing for Presiding Bishop Curry to articulate his interpretation of the black experience, it is quite another for white progressives confidently to adopt this posture and rely on it to criticize black people who disagree with them. That is not your story, you do not own it. There is no canonical interpretation of the black experience that progressives can use to berate Africans or African-Americans who disagree with them. Conservative Voices Pushing Back As Weigel’s article illustrates, there are plenty of skeletons in our closet and there is plenty of need for racial reconciliation in the Catholic Church. To be clear, what the racist dismissal of African and African-American Christians by certain Catholic and Anglican leaders have in common is a shared dedication to a progressive script that hypocritically claims to represent minorities while dismissing my black experience if I do not forsake the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage and sexuality. Yet it is conservative religious voices, including Catholic voices, that continue to push back against racism even as they affirm a traditional understanding of marriage. Who would have thought that a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention would be the one to declare that the Cross and the confederate flag cannot exist together, as Russell Moore has done? Meanwhile the Evangelical magazine that Billy Graham founded, Christianity Today, recently brought onboard African-American social psychologist Christina Cleveland to write about racial reconciliation as a regular columnist. Even the Acton Institute—the free-market think tank run by Catholic priest Robert Sirico—boasts African-American Dr. Anthony Bradley, a man who writes extensively on race, as a research fellow. The college I attend is on the Main Line outside Philadelphia. This area has one of the highest per capita income concentrations in the nation, and it fits the very definition of racially homogenous. There are a bevy of churches in the area making it the perfect consumer-choice area for young college students seeking to commit to (or at least faithfully attend) this church or that. I’ve seen how progressive Christianity continues to promise in its public speech that it is the future of committed engagement with the downtrodden of the world—but I know from the kind of experiences that I’ve described that it is not. The boundaries of progressive interests are clearly marked both by who sits in the pews (and who doesn’t) and what is said in private about the vibrant, growing, global (non-white) Church. But pointing out progressive hypocrisy and limitations won’t help the people we both care about. And it is through our actions and not merely our words that we must demonstrate that we’re the ones who are championing human dignity, sanctity of life, the rights of the family, and the dignity of work. Jesus taught a “traditional” understanding of marriage when addressing divorce (Matthew 19) but that’s one small slice of his ministry: he spent much more of his time eating with prostitutes. Taking Christ Seriously We spend too much time talking about what we’re against and arguing for our liberties, but not enough time seeking to listen to the concerns of minority communities and striving to address systematic biases, whether in the parish or the town hall. We would do well to take seriously Christ’s instructions to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned. Speaking as a Millennial, I realize that “social justice warfare” is immature and ineffective but I also know that my peers and I are intensely aware of justice issues and we care deeply. Progressive Christianity, as I’ve argued here, does not provide a better framework for combatting racism, but if progressive parishes are feeding the hungry and our parishes aren’t, well, actions do speak louder than words. I would hate to see my friends embrace the false promises of progressive Christianity because we failed to live out the Gospel as we ought. Further Reading: David Mills’ Jeremiah and the Enlightened Racist Michael Bradley’s Ordinary Rights, Extraordinary Claims Catherine Palmer’s Freakonomics, Racism & Hot Fudge Peter Leithart’s Tool Kits Stephen M. Krason’s The True Story—And Tragedy—of Race in America

The post Religious Racism, Progressive Christianity, and the Conservative Challenge appeared first on Ethika Politika.


Don't Pro-Life Conversion Stories Sometimes Sound Flimsy? [Creative Minority Report]

Sometimes the reasons people become pro-life can sound...flimsy? Even silly?

I bring this up because there was some questioning about Donald Trump's commitment to the pro-life cause. Personally I have no confidence in his pro-life credentials at all but I was thinking that sometimes when I'd heard others explain their pro-life conversion, they seemed a little...unimpressive.

Please continue reading at The National Catholic Register>>>



Glenn Frey [Abbey Roads]



Song for this post here.


E Pluribus [The TOF Spot]

The first proposal submitted to the Congress for the Great Seal of the United States:

It was described thusly:
Shield: "The shield has six Quarters... pointing out the Countries from which these States have been peopled."
Three British:
    Rose for England, Thistle for Scotland, Harp for Ireland

Three European:
    Fleur-de-lis for France, Belgic Lion for Holland, Imperial Eagle for Germany

The shield is bordered with the initials for "each of the thirteen independent States of America."
Crest: "The Eye of Providence in a radiant Triangle whose Glory extends over the Shield and beyond the Figures."


Evidently the pluribus from which it was considered an unum to come were six countries, which then accounted for most of the inhabitants of the thirteen "independent states." Imagine what it would have to look like now. There had been a brief Swedish colony as well, but they seem to have all gone home after handing the keys over to the Dutch. The Spanish were down in Florida, but Florida wasn't part of the United States yet. No one apparently considered the Indians as being a pluribus contributing to the unum. The Irish at the time were primarily Irish Protestants, a/k/a "Scots-Irish," who were the descendants of the Scotsmen who had been imported to colonize Ulster. That there were Africans as well seems to have escaped their notice. 

TOF once described an unpainted painting in his Firestar series, titled E Pluribus. The painting, by one of Belinda's Kids -- "Karen Chong," I think -- replaced each star in the flag with a symbol of a people who had been among the pluribus, pretty much in order of arrival. Each was arranged as nearly star-like as feasible. The Oklahoma flag device for the Indians, an Igbo mask with crosses spears for the Africans, then (in eerie coincidence) the rose, thistle, shamrock, fleur de lie, doppeladler, and so on. The Tao for the Chinese, the Rising Sun for the Japanese, the spinning wheel for the Hindustanis, and so on. One of these days, TOF hopes someone will paint it.

The Reverse of the Seal, suggested by Franklin, was a depiction of Moses on the far bank of the Sea closing the waters upon Pharaoh and his army:

"Pharaoh sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his head and a Sword in his hand, passing through the divided Waters of the Red Sea in Pursuit of the Israelites: Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Cloud, expressive of the divine Presence and Command, beaming on Moses who stands on the shore and extending his hand over the Sea causes it to overwhelm Pharaoh. Motto: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God."

That motto was a special favorite of Jefferson. Jefferson's suggestion for the seal was:
The children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. For the reverse side of the seal: Hengist and Horsa, the two brothers who were the legendary leaders of the first Anglo-Saxon settlers in Britain.
which seems a bit more Anglo-oriented than the first. John Adams suggested the following:
The painting known as the "Judgment of Hercules," where the young Hercules must choose to travel either on the flowery path of self-indulgence or ascend the rugged, uphill way of duty to others and honor to himself.  
But the Committee of Three turned the job over to an heraldic expert, who produced the design described above. 
The design was tabled. 

Two more committees labored to create a design, neither of which was approved. Then finally, the redoubtable Charles Thomson took things in hand and added elements from the previous three attempts and produced the seal we have today. 


“I Am Ground, Like a Grain of Wheat” – A Reflection on the Paradoxical Passion of St. Bernadette [Community in Mission]

blog1-18The life of St. Bernadette Soubirous was steeped in paradox and irony. She was the chosen visionary of our Lady at Lourdes and was to bring forth, by heavenly guidance, a spring that would bring miraculous healing to thousands. Yet Bernadette herself was beset with health problems that would cause her dreadful suffering. Her quiet and heroic suffering, something she accepted with obedience and as a kind of mission for souls, is not common knowledge today. Hers was a beautiful, difficult testimony; she suffered mightily. I base my reflections here on a biography of her by Fr. Rene Laurentin: Bernadette Speaks: A Life of St. Bernadette Soubirous in Her Own Words.

Bernadette Soubirous was born in January of 1844. Her father and mother were among the working poor of the town of Lourdes, France. Her father was a resident miller of a mill he did not own. For a time, the family found lodging in the Boly Mill, where Bernadette was born. Surely the persistent, gentle sounds of the mill grinding the wheat were some of her earliest memories. But famine brought financial ruin to the Soubirous family; the mill was sold and they lost everything. So poor did they become that they were forced to live in a cell of the former town jail.

Such poverty and poor nutrition surely contributed to her later health troubles and to her diminutive stature. Bernadette stood only 4 feet 7 inches tall and had an asthmatic condition that would be her cross throughout her life. Many who heard of the visionary of Lourdes and sought to meet her were surprised by the woman they met: diminutive, short of breath, and with a persistent cough. Her life was filled with suffering, and like Jesus, who suffocated on the cross, she would die in a similar (though less violent) fashion.

Bernadette’s suffering began at a young age; her health declined beginning in the sixth year of her life. She had stomach trouble, seemingly a disorder of the spleen. And the cholera epidemic of 1855 struck her cruelly. From that time on Bernadette was asthmatic. Even in the period just after the apparitions, she was so sick that she received the last Sacraments.

Although she recovered, she was constantly sought out by a constant influx of visitors to Lourdes; this tired her greatly. Her pastor and her family sought to protect her as much as possible, but she found it impossible to refuse such numbers entirely. Although Bernadette preferred solitude and shunned the fame that others gave her, she strove to be generous and patient with the steady stream of pilgrims and admirers.

Many were surprised by what they saw when they met Bernadette. They noted that she often coughed and that her asthma seemed to give her much trouble. One visitor was quite startled by her appearance, calling her “puny.” Some years later, another visitor described waiting in the entryway of the convent-school while Bernadette was summoned. As Bernadette came up the hall (with a sister escorting her) the visitor heard the sound of labored breathing and wheezing. The sister entered, followed by a “small child who looked to be merely 13 or 14.” Yet Bernadette was by this time 19 years old. The visitor noted that her face was oval and full, but her cheeks were rather red (a common problem in those who have asthma).

Yes, many visitors were surprised that a woman whose legacy loomed so large was herself so diminutive and in such poor health. They would ask, “Have you prayed for a cure?” The answer often came back simply, strangely, and laconically, “No.”

A visiting priest arrived to question Bernadette about the apparitions and, finding her in bed, asked how long she had been sick:

“Over a week,” she answered.
“And what ails you?”
“My chest,” she noted.
He observed that her cough indicated a considerable weakness in her chest.
“Are you asking the Blessed Virgin for a cure? Hasn’t the water from the grotto helped many people? Why wouldn’t she heal you?”
“Perhaps she wants me to suffer,” Bernadette replied.
“Why would she want you to suffer?”
“Maybe I need to suffer.”
“Why do you need to suffer?”
“Ah, God knows!” she said.
“Yes, people say that she told you that you would suffer very much.”
“Yes,” replied Bernadette, “but she promised me I would be happy in the next life.”

And here is a brief picture of what would be her life: often terrible sufferings, but accepted because she believed that she had been (in some sense) “assigned” this lot. Yes, it is a great paradox.

Despite her many illnesses, Bernadette certainly had her strengths. She stood up to strong interrogation. At one point the town commissioner, anxious about the crowds, warned her not to return to the grotto. She indicated respectfully that she was compelled to go there and that she could not guarantee that she would not. He threatened to lock her away in jail. “Then I guess I couldn’t go to the grotto!” was her fearless response. She was no shrinking violet, despite her illnesses. She knew what she had seen and heard, and no amount of scoffing or threats made her doubt what she had experienced. She also fiercely resisted anyone’s attempts to embellish or misrepresent the apparition. What had happened had happened; there was to be no adding or subtracting from it. She was serenely confident and never wavered from her descriptions.

Bernadette’s teachers among the Sisters of Charity of Nevers noted that her character was strong and that she had her stubborn moments. She could be sensitive to small injustices and was said to be somewhat mischievous, especially in her younger years. Despite her fame for being a saint (because she had seen the Blessed Virgin), she displayed no affectations of sanctity. Bernadette did not play to the crowds. Her family and the nuns who taught her insisted that she was as normal a girl as one could imagine.

As the years went by, her health problems multiplied. One of the sisters in the school she attended noted that Bernadette was regularly short of breath and that she experienced all kinds of other troubles: toothaches, frequent rheumatism in her leg, and a painful shoulder—so painful that it almost caused her to faint. Her frequent coughs brought on vomiting, and she often coughed up blood, sometimes in large quantities. She would often have to be brought to the window to help her breathe.

In sickness Bernadette was never known to be impatient. The winter and the months of early spring were the worst for her.

Many visitors would ask her if she wanted to be a nun. She said, “Yes, but I haven’t the health.” By 1864 her poor health had not improved much, but her attraction to the religious life had grown. Bernadette despaired that she would ever have the health to enter into the religious life. And yet the sisters who saw her growth in holiness were willing to make exceptions.

In 1866 Bernadette entered The Sisters of Charity of Nevers, the same order that had schooled her in Lourdes. Entering the novitiate, she looked forward to the relative seclusion and solitude. The steady stream of visitors and the burden of her fame continued to weary her.

Within a month of entering, as the cool of late September approached, Bernadette’s asthma grew worse. The sisters who ran the infirmary marveled at her ability to withstand suffering. Her choking and coughing were profound yet she did not complain. She said to the sisters, “It’s necessary; it’s nothing.”

So intense were her sufferings that by late October the chaplain was summoned. It was announced to the community that Bernadette would probably not last through the night. The local bishop was summoned as well, and he admitted her into solemn vows that evening presuming that she would not survive the night. Indeed, she had just vomited a basin-full of blood and could barely recite her vows; the Bishop of Nevers recited her answers on her behalf. He left the room that night convinced he would never see her alive again.

And yet Bernadette made another miraculous recovery. Patterns such as this continued until her death in 1879. With every passing year, the asthmatic flare-ups in the winter and early spring worsened, each time bringing her closer to death.

Bernadette entered the infirmary for the last time in December of 1878. In addition to her asthma, she had a tumor that produced rigidity in her knee and caused horrible suffering. The pain was so intense for Bernadette that it sometimes took an hour to move her into a “good” position. Her face was said to have taken on a cadaverous appearance.  If she was able to sleep at all, even the slightest movement of her leg would elicit involuntary screams. She lost weight and was said to have slipped away to almost nothing. The descriptions of her condition at this time included the following: chronic asthma, chest pains accompanied by the spitting up of blood, an aneurysm of the aorta, a tumor on the knee, stomach pains, bone decay, abscesses, and bedsores.

Bernadette revealed that she was no longer able to meditate. She was heard to murmur from time to time, “My God, I offer this up to you. Give me patience.” One of the sisters in the Infirmary said that Bernadette’s poor body seemed to be nothing but one large wound.

During Holy Week of 1879, Bernadette’s bedsores became extreme. She coughed almost continuously. By now she knew and stated aloud, “My passion will last until I die.” Still, she rarely complained, though involuntary groans often came forth. Bernadette’s concern seemed to be more about the others around her in the infirmary who were disturbed by her coughing, than about her own condition.

Added to this were satanic attacks. She was heard to say, “Be gone, Satan.” She admitted that the devil tried to frighten her. But when she invoked the holy name of Jesus, the devil soon disappeared.

As death drew near she marveled, saying, “I wouldn’t have thought it took so much suffering to die.” But she then added, “It is no sacrifice to give up a miserable life, where we encounter so many hardships, to belong to God.” She further lamented, “I’m afraid I’ve received so many graces, and have profited so little.”

Her gaze was now directed most frequently toward the crucifix on the wall. She began to extend her arms in imitation of Christ on the cross, saying, “My Jesus! How I love Him!”

Two days before she died, St. Bernadette offered a metaphor for the mystery of her suffering. Something in her hearkened back to the Boly Mill where she grew up in Lourdes. The grinding of the millstone had lulled her to sleep as an infant and accompanied her first years as a child. Perhaps it was that now-distant memory that caused her to say, shortly before she died, “I am ground like a grain of wheat.” She had never willfully complained about her suffering. Somehow she seemed to know this was her mission: to suffer for others.

Yes, it was a supreme paradox that this visionary of Lourdes, who found through God’s grace and Mary instruction a spring of healing water for multitudes, would herself suffer so much for souls, offering her agonies for them, for us. It was her personal and hidden passion for us. The other side of the gift of healing that Lourdes gives is the grace to endure suffering.

Bernadette died on April 16, 1879. Her long passion was now ended. Like Jesus, she gave over her spirit and breathed her last. She was 35 years old.

Visitors to her tomb are able to see her incorrupt body in the glass casket at Nevers. But the face that they look upon is really a wax mask. Surely it captures her beauty, but it also hides the glory of her suffering: suffering embraced and accepted. Her true face at death was more gaunt and showed the effects of the cross she accepted as she was “ground like wheat” and as she lost herself entirely in the Cross of Jesus.

Most know St. Bernadette simply as the little girl kneeling in prayer before the Virgin Mary in countless grottos throughout the world. Less well known is the private, personal, and profound passion of a great woman who discovered that her mission was to suffer for others.

Where does the water of Lourdes get its power to heal? Surely from the Lord. But something of Bernadette’s passion runs through those waters as well. They are indeed precious waters, bought at great price.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

The post “I Am Ground, Like a Grain of Wheat” – A Reflection on the Paradoxical Passion of St. Bernadette appeared first on Community in Mission.


Link [Diligite iustitiam]

Pope Addresses Pastoral Needs of Eastern Rite Immigrants in U.S., Canada by John Burger
Immigrants to North America, hailing from the world's trouble spots, will be better able to worship in their traditions

I suppose one could argue that the pope has a role to play in adjudicating jurisdictional issues for churches whose territorial boundaries overlap, as "one city one bishop" is not being observed. Still... by what authority does he have to erect the new eparchies, rather than confirming their erection by bishops of those particular churches?


Prolegomena to the Construction of an Argument Analogous to St. Thomas's Fourth Way [The Paraphasic]

A reader wrote to me recently asking for a continuation of the dialogue given in this post.  While I never continued that dialogue, it was an expression of an internal dialogue I've been having with myself for the past few months about the natural knowability of the real order of perfection in things.  The topic emerged in the course of my work revising my commentary on the treatise De Deo Uno, questions 1-26 of St. Thomas's Summa Theologiae.  Below I present an excerpt from a draft of my commentary on Summa Theologiae Ia q. 2 a. 3, in which I lay the groundwork for an argument constructed along the lines of St. Thomas's "Fourth Way".  Allow me to emphasize that this is a draft and the line of thought is imperfect, though I think the rudiments are somewhat compelling.


One of the most ordinary things a person can do is make a judgment of something’s quality or value. “These oranges are bad.” “That movie was good.” “The traffic lights are poorly timed.” “These mosquitos are terrible.” In one way, these judgments of value can be thought of as mere expressions of our dispositions toward things. Thus, saying something is “good” or “bad” is just another way of saying that I like or dislike that thing. People make value judgments in this way all the time.

Suppose however, that you are a gardener, and the spring tulips are just coming up. You compare them all, find one that is most excellent, and cut it. Now, you have a perfect tulip. But what makes the tulip perfect? Is the tulip really perfect, or is it only perfect by virtue of the fact that you like it?

There are two ways of answering this question: subjectively and objectively. On one hand, suppose you are growing tulips in order to use their flowers in an arrangement. You have a set of preferences that determine whether you judge a tulip to be more or less perfect, and those preferences may be based on your tastes and needs, rather than something intrinsic about the tulip plants themselves. For example, maybe you want only yellow tulips, and not red ones, or tulips whose stems are a certain length. Granted, your preferences are limited by what is naturally possible for a tulip, but they are imposed upon the tulip by you.

On the other hand, we can talk about the intrinsic perfection of a tulip plant. What does that mean? Well, we observe among all the tulip plants in your garden a commonality of makeup, structure, or form. All of them behave in the same way, develop along the same lines, have the same general features, and so on. It is this common form which makes each tulip a tulip, and which defines the species to which they all belong. Granted, in each individual plant, what is common to all the tulips is instantiated differently, based on the particular variations in material circumstances, nourishment, and so on. But we have no real difficulty in recognizing the sameness of makeup and identity between all the members of the species.

Once we recognize the sameness or specific form which characterizes all of these plants, we can start to look at each individual plant, not just in terms of its own chance features, but in relation to the common structure or specific form that unites it with all the other members of its kind. In other words, we start to see the tulip in relation to its essence, instead of just seeing it through its particular visible features. And this understanding of a thing in terms of its essence makes it possible for us to judge how well the individual instantiates the common form of the species. Does this tulip have robust, green foliage? Is its stem strong? Is it blossoming? Instead of taking each of these facts indifferently, or as features that we happen to like on account of our aesthetic preferences, we can understand them as signs of the overall health or disease of the plant—clues as to whether that common form is well-instantiated in it, or is in the midst of decomposition. And we associate these characteristics, which are not subjective, but intrinsic to the thing in question, with an objective feature of the tulip as a tulip, which we call its degree of perfection.

The notion of an objective degree of perfection is quite extraordinary, because it tells us something real about the plant: that there is a real standard according to which we can tell whether a plant is doing “better” or “worse” objectively. In a way, this thought might seem very obvious, even trivial. After all, we talk about things being healthy or unhealthy all the time. But if we accept the reality of common forms and intrinsic degrees of perfection, this means that the notions of “good” and “bad” have at least a foothold of objectivity in the natural world. To put it differently, it proves wrong Hamlet’s famous dictum that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”^[William Shakespeare. Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2.] Of course, strictly speaking we have not proved just now the claim that there are intrinsic degrees of perfection, since a good philosopher would be able to raise a large number of objections to our analysis so far. The objections, to the extent that they are cogent, can (I believe) be answered, though the task of naming and replying to them is too much for the present. But at least we have shown how the notion of perfection integrates with the ordinary experience of reality, and makes sense of something very basic in that experience.

Degrees of Perfection Across Species

If we accept that there is an objective reality to the degrees of perfection of individual members of particular species, based on the fulness or strength of their individual instantiation of their specific forms, we have a universe full of different kinds of things, each with its own degree of perfection, relative to its species.

But an interesting problem occurs: in each case, the perfection of an individual thing is based on the comparison between that individual and the species as a whole. We judge something’s degree of perfection by comparing what this individual thing (a tulip, say) actually is, with what the best member of that species would be, as a member of that species. Does the tulip have wilted leaves? Well the best tulip would have very healthy robust leaves. Does the tulip have a strong stem? The best tulip would have a very strong stem. Can the tulip take in nutrients and reproduce? And so on. This kind of comparison, though, is always going to be relative to the species a thing belongs to. It makes no sense to judge whether a squirrel is perfect or not by comparing it to the ideal tulip. We cannot reasonably say “This squirrel must be diseased! It has no roots at all!” So this leaves us with a question: is perfection as an objective feature of things merely relative to individual species, or is there some sort of universal order of perfection, by which one species can be judged as more or less perfect than another as species?

In order to answer this question, we need to look more closely at the process by which we developed the idea of perfection in the first place. Our original notion of perfection was based on the commonness of the specific form shared between various individuals. This plant and that plant have the same structure, features, tendencies, and abilities. The integral makeup which constitutes the life (and life-cycle) of each plant is common to all the members of the species. Some investigative skill is necessary to identify this common specific form in the first place. We need to abstract what is essential from the peculiar features of each individual plant, and see the way different structural features, which are instantiated variously in the individuals, correspond to the analogous features and forms in other individual plants of the same species.

We can develop a more general notion of perfection by simply extending this analogical approach, and looking for greater or lesser degrees of unity and similarity across species. This oak tree may not be a tulip, but it shares with the tulip certain analogous forms and tendencies, such as the ability to grow and reproduce, or the possession of foliage and roots. By virtue of the real similarity of forms, we can group the two plants together, recognizing that while they may not have a common specific form, their like features unite them under the same genus or family of things.^[Note of course that our use of “genus” here does not correspond to the strict taxonomic use of the word among biologists, although the reader has probably noticed some similarity between them.] And once we establish a generic unity, we can use the strength of the generic community of species to identify trans-specific standards of perfection. For example, we might identify the genus “ferns”, and determine that one common feature of all the species which belong to this genus is that they produce spores. The particular features of the spores are left unspecified, but the general characteristic is known across the species as a definite sign of perfection.

As we expand the genera we choose to focus on, we can develop more and more universal notions of perfection. If we focus on “plants”, we can speak of autotrophy and photosynthesis. If we focus on “living things” we can speak of growth and reproduction. Finally we could generalize our consideration to substances as such, and we might identify unity or stability of form as signs of perfection.

However, as we follow this course, the usefulness of our analysis is progressively diluted by the breadth of the analogy. Though this method of forming trans-species standards of perfection does indeed give us a sense of what, across the board, makes things more or less perfect within their own species, we have a further question: Is there a hierarchy of species themselves? What would such a hierarchy be founded on?

Since the notion of perfection we have developed so far depends on the extent to which a thing stably retains or perfectly instantiates its specific form, one way to rank the perfection of species as such is by the way they possess their forms. For example, think about a heap of sand. As a thing, the heap of sand has certain determinate qualities: the arrangement of its parts into a whole, the material composition of those parts, the shape of the whole, its weight and density, etc. But the identity of the sand heap as an integral whole is not very robust. The sand heap has no ability to retain its form as it interacts with other things, or to restore itself, or grow, or reproduce itself by its own power. Nor does the sand heap as a whole add anything to the individual acts of its parts. As a heap, it is really just a collection of inert individuals.

Compare that sand heap to a plant. The plant is comparable to the sand heap in a number of ways: it has weight and density, is composed of a variety of distinct parts. But the plant’s form is sustained in the plant in a way that the sand heap’s is not. The plant is capable of taking things that are not part of it, and integrating them into its form. In contrast to the sand heap, being part of the plant genuinely adds something to the activity of these individual components. The properties of the plant’s parts are actualized by their participation in the plant’s life in a way that they would not be simply on their own, outside the plant. (For example, a single protein or bit of cellulose does little outside of a plant but decay, but within the plant it participates in a large number of extremely complex functions in coordination with the other plant parts.) Most extraordinarily, the plant is capable of perpetuating its form by reproduction. All of these features distinguish the form of the plant as a form from the form of the sand heap. We say that the form of the plant has more integrity as a form than the form of the heap—not only does the unity of the plant have more robustness than the unity of the sand heap, but the actuality of the plant in its natural behaviors enhances its material parts in a way that being part of a heap does not, and of course the specific form possessed by the plant has the ability to transcend its individual matter and communicate itself to the next generation.

This comparison between the formal integrity of a plant and a heap gives us the beginning of a hierarchy of perfections. Some things are more perfect than others, not just on account of the fulness with which they instantiate a common specific form, but also on account of the integrity of the form of which they are instances. The form of a plant is somehow more real than the form of a heap, in that it makes more of a real difference for the matter of the plant than the heap’s does for the grains of sand, and sustains itself with greater integrity regardless of the material conditions in which it finds itself, but perhaps most of all because it is partially independent of its individual matter. At the same time, the plant’s form contains in itself all the same sorts of formal perfections available to the sand heap—weight, substantiality, existence, etc.

Next, consider the difference between a plant and an animal, for example a cow. All the characteristics of the plant’s form that set it above the sand heap are shared by the cow as well: the ability to grow and nourish itself by integrating foreign matter into its own substance, the ability to heal, the ability to reproduce, the fact that being part of a cow elicits a variety of complex acts out of the otherwise inert components of the cow. But the form of the cow has a peculiar feature that the plant’s form does not—cows are capable of incorporating the forms of things around them into themselves not just by way of nutrition and growth, but also through sensation and imagination. A cow can be more than a cow, by seeing and hearing whatever is in its environment, and by retaining impressions of these things in its memory. Through perception and memory, the form of the cow becomes more than just the form of a cow, and also becomes the form of the grass, the places the cow roams, of other animals and people and things. Note that just as with the contrast between the plant and the sand heap, the difference here is not a simple amplification of a perfection already present in the the plant’s form, but the addition of a kind of formality not possessed at all by the plant. The form of the cow is in some way more real or more of a form than the form of the plant was, inasmuch as it rises above the form of its separate parts.

The cow is limited in its ability to incorporate the forms of other things into its own form, by its inability to analyze and abstractly understand its environment. If we pass from a cow to a rational animal, a human, we find not only the perfections which made the form of the cow more perfect than the form of the tulip—sensation, memory, desire, intention—but others as well. Humans are capable of understanding things not only in terms of their material forms, but also in terms of their structure, mechanics, essences, causes, etc. And they are capable of judging things not just in relation to their bodily appetites or fears, but in terms of their objective and intrinsic perfection. In other words, the abstract forms received in the mind of a human person are more real and capture more of the form than those received into the mind of a cow. They are not just sensory, but essential, and not just relative, but objective.

Let’s summarize our findings so far: first, we noted that it was possible to draw analogies across different kinds of things and find common standards according to which they could be said to be more perfect relative to their species. Then we compared four different kinds of things: a heap of sand, a plant, a cow, and a human. We found a common theme: some of these items have the characteristic perfections of others, but compound them by adding something extra: the plant can grow, heal, and pass on its form. The cow can add to its own form the sensible forms of things outside itself. The human can know and assess the real essences of things and their causes. The further we go in this series, the less attached a particular form is to the individual matter of a thing: the tulip’s form can endure after the matter of this tulip decays; the cow’s form is capable of receiving sensory forms of others into itself without becoming what it sees; the human’s form is capable of receiving the essences of things into itself, without losing its own essence. If we were to guess at a next step, it would involve something which was capable of overcoming the human dependence on matter (i.e. sense knowledge) to receive the forms of other things. Beyond that, a form which was in no way dependent on matter would be even more perfect.

Fortunately, we do not need to have a perfect understanding of the whole hierarchy of perfections in order to follow Thomas’s argument. The important points are (1) that there is a real hierarchy of species with respect to the intrinsic perfection of their forms, and (2) that the higher we go in this hierarchy, the more a thing’s form will have a reality independent of matter. However, our grasp of the hierarchy remains vague. Why should that be?

We can understand the intrinsic difficulty in mastering this universal hierarchy by thinking back again to the means by which we were able to establish a hierarchy of perfections in a tulip. We needed to have knowledge of a wide variety of tulips, and especially a knowledge of healthy tulips, in order to make any judgments about the relative perfection of any individual tulip. Supposing we only saw diseased tulips, would we be able to recognize accurately what constituted the perfection of a tulip? Only partially and indistinctly. Without having the highest element in this hierarchy of perfections available to analyze, it remains difficult to place all the other elements of the hierarchy relative to each other. And this is because in some way all judgments of perfection are dependent on knowledge of what is most perfect in a given genus.

To conclude, we will take up St. Thomas’s preferred example, and the fulness of the problem will become clear. In his statement of the Fourth Way, St. Thomas refers to the relationship between fire (which is essentially hot) and hot things in general. We compare the heat of one hot thing to another hot thing by implicitly holding them against the common standard of heat, which is fire. In St. Thomas’s mind, fire stands apart from all other kinds of heat, because for a fire, to be hot is part of the essence of what it is—you cannot have a fire without heat, since the rapid propagation of heat is what makes a fire a fire. Other hot things differ from fire in this respect: they have heat as an accidental attribute, but not as a constitutive feature of what they are.

Imagine a world in which we only ever saw things that were warm, but never any essential source of warmth, never any fire. We would have a sense that there was some ultimate source of heat, but nothing to refer back to, to explain the original warmth of all the cooling objects around us. Or imagine (as Plato famously has us imagine in his Republic) people whose whole experience in life consisted of seeing shadows of things dance along the walls of a cave. There might be a sense that something more real than the shadows lay behind them, but it would be difficult to grasp what that was.

With the universal hierarchy of perfections, we have exactly this problem: every perfection we witness in the world is relative to the being of a particular species or genus, and is therefore only a partial expression of absolute and universal perfection. We might find an excellent tulip, but that tulip does not embody perfection as such—only a certain tulip-like approximation of absolute perfection. And the same goes for all the other things we have discussed. But none of these things are perfect in and of themselves, just as none of them have the fulness of what it means to exist in and of themselves. And, once we realize this, we are ready to move to the final principle in St. Thomas’s argument.


A Tribute to Authenticity []

A puppet-master or puppeteer is a person who manipulates puppets, inanimate objects for the sake of entertainment.  A puppet is movable model of a human or an animal. Some puppets are worked with strings and some with the hand.

A political term, puppet, means a person, party, or state under the control of another person, group, or power.

Over the years, I have noticed something about certain people. A true person has integrity, which is not only honesty, but the state of being whole and undivided. Authenticity in a person is the quality of being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character These definitions are from dictionaries on line.

Now, authenticity and integrity imply that a person knows who he or she is and accepts that truth. Humility, obviously, marks the authentic and integrated person.

Some people I have known create a role for themselves, create a false idea of who they are: I think of the character of Henry Gowan in Little Dorrit, who created deceit in his life as to who he was, what his talents were, and he became not only a manipulator, but one easily manipulated. Evil does both–manipulates and capitulates to manipulation.

People without integrity find it easy to compromise for the sake of their own created roles or false expectations.  People who seem like they are not “real”, people who seem like they are hiding behind a mask, have created a persona instead of finding out who they are and who God created them to be.

Truthfulness brings about a humility before God. One sees who one really is and accepts this honest view has a chance of being a saint. As long as a person either lives up to false expectations or shows the world a false face, that person cannot gain the objectivity necessary to become holy.

A lack of integrity may be seen in a person who wants to be something he or she is not, and who wants others to accept that false persona. Sometimes, one can sense when speaking with a person who is inauthentic that something is not “right”. One feels like one is speaking to an incomplete human being, or even a completely false person. One may feel like one is meeting a dark soul, or, even a puppet. A puppet can be easily manipulated by another, by the puppeteer.

Who is the puppet-master? Who pulls the strings of these inauthentic human beings? Satan does.

If a person keeps pushing away hints on how to be “real”, that person can easily lose track of reality. Satan takes advantage of this running away, this self-inflicted deceit.

Puppets enact games, manipulations, entertainments. Puppeteers move these sad, incomplete puppets.

Sometimes people accept a false grouping of inauthentic people. Some people may choose to join sub-groups in order to identify with others who have chosen lives which lack integrity. A person who chooses over and over again the high moral road will become integrated. A person who compromises for the sake of comfort or because they have accepted their own false persona will never be integrated without a tremendous moment of grace.

Righteousness is the state of being highly moral. A self-righteous person is one who incorrectly sees themselves as morally superior, and makes a show of being morally superior to other people.

Again, this type of show contains elements of deceit, of the lack of authenticity.

I spoke with a young person today who told me that she thinks that there are very few people who are authentic and integrated. Sadly, many career-driven people are inauthentic, because they have set up a set of expectations in their lives, set up roles and rules to meet, which are not what God has in mind for their lives. The person who desires truth, desires God.

Why would a person choose a life of unreality, out-of-touch with the person God created him or her to be? The most common cause is fear, fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of confrontation with others or one’s own self. A second cause is the pursuit of security. If, for example, one’s parents have a set of expectations for a child, that child will try very hard to meet those expectations in order to have the security of the love and approval of the parents, instead of experiencing a true love which is free. A third reason could be that a person desires status or conformity with one’s peers over truth.

God has created each person to be someone unique. God has a plan for each person. Each plan is totally new, different from every other one. Each person has a God-given role in the Church, in the world, which only that person can fulfill.

The puppet-master tries to stop those plans, roles, uniqueness of character. The puppet-master Satan does all he can to disrupt the beautiful plan of God for each person, each family, a people, a nation.

Puppets become controlled by the puppeteer more easily because they are not real.

A form of a human, or an imitation human, needs someone else to move them. Sometimes the puppet-people let others manipulate their lives. Such were the people who followed Hitler, Stalin, Mao. Such are the children of darkness.

The children of light choose honesty and integrity of character.

My young friend who believes that the vast majority of people are either completely inauthentic, or engage in dysfunctional behavior admits she has not met but a few authentic people.

I know two for sure, and both have chosen poverty over comfort, lowliness over status, courage in the face of fearful circumstances. Courage does not mean feeling brave–it means choosing truth while afraid, going beyond fear. One gains courage by practicing choosing truth over falsehood.

I have an authentic son. Here is the voice of authenticity in a relatively young person. Pray for him. Pray for me.

As some of you already know, last week I left formation for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Working in and for the diocese has been the best five years of my life, and I still believe that God is calling me to be a priest. But over the past year or so, I’ve had the distinct call in prayer that my vocation lies elsewhere. In response to that call, I’ve begun inquiries with the Society of Jesus. I don’t know where that will lead yet, but I know that I’m on the right path.

Thank you everyone, particularly the laypersons in positions of responsibility with whom I have lived and worked. It has been a privilege and a pleasure. From my very first pre-seminary placement in Dorking I have been welcomed, entertained, challenged, and supported every step of the way. Whatever I may be doing in the future, my desire to serve the people of Arundel and Brighton will be far more than a memory. You have defined my life and my character, and more than anything or anyone else in my adult life, you have made me the person I am today. You will always be first in my heart and my prayers, and God willing, my relationship with the Diocese will not end.

Bishop Richard and the Diocesan clergy with whom I’ve worked have also been immensely supportive. I met with the Bishop last week and he was, as always, immensely gracious and eager to help me in my next steps. He hopes that I will find time in future to come to Lourdes again with the Diocese; I eagerly look forward to that!

Lastly, the seminarians and enquirers – for many of you, I have been the “senior Wonersh seminarian” for some time. But I am under no illusion of indispensability! I leave the Wonersh community in the very capable hands of Peter Murphy and Thomas Kent, and I have every confidence that they will be holy and effective priests in the not-so-distant future. Tristan Cranfield has been an immense support to me, despite us seeing one another all too rarely! At least this way you’ll definitely beat me to ordination.

This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but in the depth of my heart, and always in prayer, I feel it is the right one. God bless you all, and please, please keep me in your prayers.

Years ago, one of my friends, who is now a priest, had a saying, a motto, when he was in high-school. “Be real, and face the situation.”

This is the way to God, to personal holiness, to being an authentic human being-the one God created one to be. We are all called to cooperate with God in becoming the person God intended. We are all called to co-create the person God wants us to be. We are all called to “be real and face the situation.”

The puppet-master will take the puppets and put them in a box. These puppets will not have life without him. Unlike the living, they will remain dead for all eternity.

Being real takes practice. If one learns this early, one has a great chance of being a saint.

John 14:5-6

Thomas saith to him: Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.





Sts. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum Jan 19 [Traditional Catholic Priest]

Sts. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum All martyred at Rome in 270. Maris and his wife Martha, who belonged to the Persian nobility, came to Rome with their children in the reign of Emperor Claudius II. As zealous Christians, they sympathized with and succoured the persecuted faithful, and buried the bodies of the slain. This …

The post Sts. Maris, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum Jan 19 appeared first on Traditional Catholic Priest.


I agree ... [Abbey Roads]

h/t jnstl


Klassifikation der Traditionszeugnisse [et nunc]

Niemand wird bezweifeln, dass man diesen Autoritäten der späteren Epoche absolut den Vorzug geben muss. Denn wenn man fortfahren wollte, sich auf die älteren Väter zu berufen, nachdem jene Väter, die gegen die Häresien gekämpft haben, ihre Lösungen für die Schwierigkeiten geboten haben, so hieße das nichts weniger, als den Glauben der einfachen Leute in Gefahr zu bringen. Man würde sie dazu verleiten, die verwirrenderen und unklareren Ausdrucksweisen einer klareren und genaueren Formulierung vorzuziehen, einen oberflächlichen Ausspruch höher als eine gründliche Darlegung zu schätzen. Diese Gefahr wäre umso größer, als man sich des Vorwandes bedienen könnte, der alten Lehre treu zu bleiben. Was wäre wahrscheinlicher, was wäre schließlich wahrhafter, als mit Vinzenz von Lerins zu sagen, dass man sich nach dem Alter richten solle? Wer könnte glauben, dass dieser Grundsatz zu einer Täuschung führen könnte? Und dennoch ist genau dies der Fall. Dass man sich nach dem Alter richten müsse, das ist freilich der Kern der Regel von Vinzenz. Man muss aber hinzufügen, dass sich nach Auffassung desselben Vinzenz die spätere Epoche oft mit größerer Klarheit äußert. Das aber verschweigen unsere Kritiker üblicherweise, und sie weichen so sehr von der Regel ab, die für das katholische Verständnis durchgängig gilt, dass sie ganz ohne Scheu behaupten, man dürfe sich nach dem Auftreten der Kontroversen nicht ohne Weiteres auf jene Väter verlassen, denn die Schärfe des Disputes habe sie dazu gebracht, mehr zu sagen, als es eigentlich ihre Absicht war.

Doch sollte man die Ausdrucksweisen, die die Väter vor und nach ihren Auseinandersetzungen mit den Häretikern verwendeten, nicht gegeneinander ausspielen. Beide sind wahr, und beide sind der Kirche dienlich: An der ersten Darstellungsform erkennt man die natürliche Schlichtheit und das wunderbare Fortbestehen des Glaubens, während man mit der zweiten mehr Anleitung erhält, um eine tiefere Erkenntnis und einen genaueren Begriff der nämlichen Glaubensartikel zu erlangen. Denn Häresien lassen die Theologen aufmerksamer werden. Andererseits jedoch, und dies ist eine völlig gesicherte Tatsache, findet man bei jenen Vätern, die vor dem Auftreten von Häresien geschrieben haben, mehr an elementarer Kraft, denn man erkennt gut, dass sie frei von jeder polemischen Stellungnahme sind.  Darum ergänzen sich die beiden Darstellungsformen und stützen sich je nach Gesichtspunkt gegenseitig.

So sieht man also schon zur Genüge, dass unsere Klassifikation der Traditionszeugnisse in die genannten drei Kategorien den tatsächlichen Verhältnissen angemessen ist. Bei diesen drei Kategorien ergibt sich keine Schwierigkeit für die erste und die dritte Kategorie, sondern lediglich für die zweite, die den Übergang vom einfachen Glauben zu Erklärungen markiert, welche ein tieferes Verständnis oder einen besseren Schutz gegen die neuen Lehren der Häresien gewähren. Wir haben folglich darauf zu schauen, welches die rechtmäßige Interpretation hinsichtlich jener Texte ist, die in diesem Übergangsstadium auf den ersten Blick im Gegensatz zur Rechtgläubigkeit zu stehen scheinen.

(Aus: Louis Billot. Tradition und Modernismus. 2. Kap.
Die Ursache der scheinbaren Widersprüche in den Zeugnissen der Tradition)


I was shocked to find what was allowed [Semiduplex]

Recently, a sharp Catholic woman of our acquaintance inquired whether St. Alphonsus Liguori had held that a parent with the care of children was dispensed from the obligation to hear Mass. Others noted that the great Doctor Zelantissimus addresses the subject in Theologia Moralis III.3.3.5 where he holds, essentially, that mothers who do not have a safe place to leave their infants or who cannot bring their children to church without causing a notable disturbance, are excused from attending Mass. Of course, if there’s a parent with whom the children may safely be left while the other attends Mass, one imagines that the relaxation tightens back up pretty quickly.

This subject has been on our mind over the past few days, given the exchange between Tommy Tighe at Aleteia and Steve Skojec at One Peter Five. Tighe makes the points, not wholly novel, that (1) he knows his kids are messy and distracting and (2) the woman who rebuked him was being un-Christian and thereby missed an opportunity to improve the state of her own soul by rising above the distraction. Or something. He also suggested that, well, he didn’t know what was in that woman’s life that led her to rebuke him. (Maybe she’s infertile! Maybe they’re each other’s crosses to bear! Or something.) Skojec, perhaps predictably, was having none of this, and responded point by point to Tighe. He also updated his post, moderating the snark a little bit, but standing by the substance of his argument. But the thrust of the discussion is this: how do parents deal with potentially loud, usually messy children at Church? (Especially in Forma Extraordinaria parishes, where there are certain norms of conduct that are usually a little more stringent than what’s going on at the “contemporary choir” Mass.)

This is not the first go-round on this debate, either, though this may be the first time that Tighe and Skojec have been the disputants. (We don’t know, though. We are more familiar with Skojec’s commentary on other issues in the Church and we had not heard of Tighe before now. Perhaps we ought to pay more attention.)

And the easy answer, of course, would be to point to St. Alphonsus and say, well, if you can’t leave the children at home safely and if you’re pretty sure that they’re going to cause a major disturbance, then you are excused from hearing Mass. Of course, parents who can watch children in shifts can surely safely leave their children at home. But, as the Holy Father and the Synod of Bishops have reminded us repeatedly in recent months, there are all manner of families that have suffered injuries and no longer have both parents living under the same roof. And, even then, the inquiry is not as straightforward as one might first imagine. That is, whether one can more safely leave children at home than in Alphonsus’s time and whether children are less likely to raise a ruckus than in Alphonsus’s time are open questions—though we suspect, with respect to the latter question, that toddlers’ ruckuses are probably pretty comparable across the years.

But, we wonder to what extent do we owe it to each other to help out? (Cf. Gal. 5:14.) When our acquaintance raised the issue, our first thought was that it would be nice if suitable men and women without children offered to help out. (Suitability is obviously an important criterion in all this, and that cannot be understated.) For example, if a couple without children at home habitually attended the vigil Mass on Saturday night, it would be awfully nice of them to offer to watch their neighbor’s toddler while he heard Mass on Sunday morning. Or vice versa, if an unmarried woman without children habitually heard Mass on Sunday mornings but rarely made plans for Saturday evenings that would conflict with the vigil Mass, she might offer to watch the neighbor’s children while their mother heard the vigil Mass. There are any number of permutations to the arrangement. Such an offer may well obtain graces for the men and women who help out or serve as penitential offerings, in addition to potentially obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence attached by the Holy Father to all the physical and corporal works of mercy during the Year of Mercy.

But more than that, it seems to us that this sort of cooperative childcare arrangement, which, for all we know, happens in almost every parish in Christendom (except, seemingly, our own), is exactly the sort of thing that helps build the sort of community that Rod Dreher has talked about at staggering length in recent years. You know, the so-called Benedict Option. While we disagree with Dreher about some of the particulars of his idea, not the least of which is the fact that you need a priest willing to play along, we certainly do not dispute the basic contention that Christians need to form tighter-knit communities to deal effectively with an increasingly hostile culture. This goes double for traditionally minded Catholics who are usually, to quote Magazine’s 1978 single, shot by both sides. But it seems to us that a sense that the world has moved into another, more aggressive phase in its doomed campaign against Christ and Christ’s Church is probably not the sort of thing that really knits a community together. But a tradition of charity, especially when it takes the form of looking after each other’s children, seems like the sort of thing that just might do the trick.

Of course, justice, whether it’s distributive or commutative, consists of giving each person his due. (E.g., ST IIa IIae q.58 a.1 obj. 1 & co.; q.61 a.2 co.) By those lights, maybe the arrangement we have discussed above isn’t justice—that is, maybe we don’t owe each other this sort of cooperation, though certainly one could find precedents for it throughout the life of the Church and the life of Christendom before things went off the rails—but if it’s charity, it seems like the sort of charity that seems like it would serve the common good of the community tremendously. And, even if one isn’t interested in forming a tight-knit community of Christians in any given setting, it’s the sort of charity that may well make common life a little smoother. Instead of getting shirty with the parent of a rambunctious brood or making comments in a stage whisper about those ill-bred children, it may well be good for the life of the parish to offer politely to sit with the children at home next week while the parent hears Mass. (And to provide one’s references!)



Apostolic Succession Is Assurance of Truth [Catholic Answers]

Why should we care what the Church Fathers said? For many Catholics, the question may seem odd, and the answer may seem obvious. But for some Catholics, and I suspect for many Protestants, it’s a...


They fought one battle, and changed the world [Musings of a Pertinacious Papist]

Commenting upon Joshua's battle against the Amorites at Gibeon, in which Joshua chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon (which gives the Battle of Beth Horon its name -- not to be confused with the Battle of Beth Horon of AD 166), an early 20th century biblical commentator, Jessy Lyman Hurlbut argues, in his Story of the Bible (1932), pp. 154-155, that this battle (recorded in the 10th chapter Joshua) may have been the greatest battle in its effects in world history. Why? Not because it was the battle in which Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still so that he could finish the job. Joshua was in the process of undertaking the conquest of Canaan, and the Amorites were banding together against him. The author writes:
If ever in all the history of the world there was a battle when the sun might well stand still, and the day be made longer, to make the victory complete, it was that day more than any other. For on that day the land was won by the people of the Lord. If Israel had been defeated and destroyed, instead of Canaan, then the Bible would never have been written, the worship of the true God would have been blotted out, and the whole world would have worshipped idols. The battle that day was for the salvation of the world as well as of Israel. So this was the greatest battle in its results that the world has ever seen. There have been many battles where more men fought and more soldiers were slain, than at the battle of Beth Horon. But no battle in all the world has had such an effect in the years and the ages after, as this battle.


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