Wednesday, 20 January


It's back - Colorado faces another push for assisted suicide [CNA Daily News]

Denver, Colo., Jan 20, 2016 / 04:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- One year after a similar effort was defeated, the Colorado legislature will revisit proposals to legalize assisted suicide, with opponents warning against creating incentives for people to kill themselves.

“If this legislation becomes law, it will place the lives of the vulnerable in the hands of an insurance and health care industry whose profit-driven culture would incentivize doctors to prescribe death,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said in a video.

“These bills are not good for us, because they make it easier for people with bad intentions to prey upon the disabled.”

The archbishop added an even stronger warning: “The moral aspects of this debate are very clear: God has taught us not to kill. And that includes killing ourselves.”

House Bill 1054 – along with a companion Senate bill – in the 2016 Colorado legislature would legalize assisted suicide in the name of “aid-in-dying.” The House bill, titled the Colorado End-of-life Options Act, will be a subject of a Feb. 4 hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

The legislation would allow a Colorado resident who is terminally ill to request an “aid-in-dying” prescription from his or her attending doctor in order “to hasten the individual’s death.” The doctor may write the prescription if at least two health care providers say the individual is capable of making an informed decision.

The bill includes a form request for medication “to end my life in a humane and dignified manner.”

If passed into law, the legislation would grants immunity to participants in assisted suicide from civil and criminal liability and from professional discipline. The bill says that actions in accord with the act will not constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing, homicide or elder abuse. The bill would make it a felony to coerce someone or exert “undue influence” to secure an aid-in-dying request.

In February 2015 a bill with similar goals, the Colorado Death with Dignity Act, failed in a bipartisan committee vote of 8-5.

The bill has drawn substantial opposition from disability advocates.

The Colorado Catholic Conference said the 2016 proposal to allow assisted suicide would “corrupt the medical profession” and violate medical ethics that require physicians “to serve life and never to kill.”

“The voiceless or marginalized in our society - the poor, the frail elderly, and racial minorities would be the first to feel pressure to die,” the conference said Jan. 19. It charged that the legislation would “demean the lives of vulnerable patients and expose them to exploitation by those who feel they are better off dead.”

Archbishop Aquila said Colorado is “filled with kind, friendly, caring people. The state is “not a place where doctors would be allowed to kill one of their patients.”

He said the bills would be bad for the future of medicine.

“Doctors, nurses and pharmacists would face pressure from those who want them to act against their training: ‘do no harm,’” the archbishop said. He added that such pressure on medical professionals has happened in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legalized.

“Fight against House Bill 1054 and Senate Bill 25 for the sake of the integrity of Colorado and its people,” he said. “I encourage you to make your voice heard.”

The House bill is sponsored by Reps. Lois Court and Joann Ginal. Its Senate counterpart is sponsored by Sen. Michael Merrifield.

The Colorado Catholic Conference and other assisted suicide opponents are asking Coloradans to contact their representatives and members of the House Judiciary Committee to voice their opposition to the bill.

“May God bless all of us as we defend Colorado and its most vulnerable people,” Archbishop Aquila said in the video.

The archbishop’s video and more information on the bills are available at the Archdiocese of Denver’s website at


Vatican preparing a betrayal of the Church in China? [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

Vox Cantoris has a couple of posts on the renewal of the idol “dialogue” between the Vatican and the Chicom government.  The second of the two contains commentary from Cardinal Emeritus Zen of Hong Kong, seemingly the last of the old lions of the free, true Chinese Church.  Cardinal Zen is having nothing of the dialogue being pursued by arch-liberal Cardinal Parolin and the Vatican bureaucracy.  It seems our new progressive overlords have in mind a replay of the Ostpolitik that helped maintain the communists in power for years in Eastern Europe while throwing faithful, saintly souls like Cardinal Mindzenty under the bus.

I take excerpts from Cardinal Zen below.  Emphasis from Vox, my comments:

I remember that at the beginning of last year the newspaper Wen Wei Po announced jubilantly that “relations between China and the Vatican will soon have a good development.” Soon after, the Vatican Secretary of State said that “the prospects are promising, there is a desire for dialogue on both sides.” I had my doubts about this unexpected wave of optimism, I saw no basis for this optimism. More than a thousand crosses were removed from the top of the churches (in some cases the churches themselves have been destroyed). After so long, we can no longer delude ourselves that this was anything beyond an episode of some local official’s exaggerated zeal. Several seminaries have been closed. Students of the National Seminary in Beijing were forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Independent Church, promising also to concelebrate with illegitimate bishops (otherwise they would not receive a diploma at the end of their studies). The Government is continuously strengthening a church that now objectively is already separated from the universal Catholic Church; with enticements and threats they induce the clergy to perform acts contrary to the doctrine and discipline of the Church, denying their conscience and their dignity. [I agree the Chinese Patriotic church is already schismatic. It always has been.  As for whether prelates and priests who cooperate with the state-owned church are violating their conscience, that is known only to God]

………. Pressed by some journalists as to whether there was real progress, Cardinal Parolin responded: “The fact that we speak is already positive.” It seems that there is no agreement in sight as of yet……..[The holy grail of dialogue has been found!  God be praised!]

…….So what is the formula now under discussion for the appointment of bishops? As an old Cardinal out on the peripheries, I have no way of knowing, let alone guessing.

A recent article “A winter of darkness for religions in China” by Bernardo Cervellera on AsiaNews, says: “From information that has arrived from China it would seem that Beijing’s proposal is limited to complete recognition by the Holy See for all official bishops (even illegitimate and excommunicated bishops), without any mention of the unofficial bishops and those in prison; Vatican approval of the government recognized Council of Bishops, which excludes underground bishops; approval of the competency of this Council (and not the Pope) in the appointment of new candidates to the episcopacy who will be “democratically” elected (in short according to the suggestions of the Patriotic Association). The Holy See must approve the Council’s appointment and has a weak veto only in “severe” cases, which must be justified if used. If the Holy See’s justifications are considered “insufficient”, the Council of Bishops may decide to proceed anyway”. [Long story short, negotiating with communists, without a few hundred B-52s in your back pocket, is a complete waste of time unless one is prepared to completely, utterly capitulate.  That certainly appears to be the case with the Church’s “dialogue” with the evil, Christ-hating Chinese Communist junta]

If this information is accurate, can the Holy See accept the claims of the Chinese counterpart? [Nope]  Does this approach still respect the true authority of the Pope to appoint bishops? [Nope]  Can the Pope can sign such an agreement? [Sure, he can sign, but it would be a total betrayal of the faithful in China and around the world and the largest scandal of this papacy to date]   (Pope Benedict said: “The authority of the Pope to appoint bishops is given to the church by its founder Jesus Christ, it is not the property of the Pope, neither can the Pope give it to others”).

Do our officials in Rome know what an election is in China? Do they know that the so-called Episcopal Conference is not only illegitimate, but simply does not exist? What exists is an organism that is called “One Association and One Conference”, namely the Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference always work together as one body, which is alwayschaired by government officials (there are pictures to prove it, the Government does not even try more to keep up appearances, it starkly flaunts the fact that they now manage religion!). Signing such an agreement means the authority to appoint bishops delivering the Church into the hands of an atheist government. [That’s the whole point!  Why do you think the Chicoms are so eager to have this dialogue?!?  This is their first clear opportunity in 60 years to get the Church clearly and totally under their blood-stained thumbs!  They recognize a fellow-traveler when they see one]

This scheme is often compared to a (poorly defined) Model Vietnamese, but it is much worse. The Vietnamese model is based on an initiative that began with the Church in Vietnam, the true Catholic Church in Vietnam. In China on the other hand, the so-called Association and Conference hide the reality that it is the Government calling the shots. [And the Vietnamese situation is far from ideal]

Even in Eastern Europe of the past, such as in Poland and Czechoslovakia, it was the Church that took the initiative and then gave the Government veto power. In doing so, even if the government vetos a proposal for the hundredth time, it is still the Church that presents a candidate and makes the appointment. If the Government insists on a veto, it will only prolong the impasse, and it will still allow the Church time to look for a suitable candidate. But it is unthinkable to leave the initial proposal in the hands of an atheist Government who cannot possible judge the suitability of a candidate to be a bishop. Obviously, if the Church gives in to pressure from the government, the only result – despite proclamations to the contrary – is that it will have sold out the pontifical right to appoint bishops. Can this happen? According to an article written by a certain András Fejerdy: “For pastoral reasons – that is, because the full administration of the sacraments requires completely consecrated bishops – the Holy See believed that the completion of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference was so urgent that it accepted a solution that formally did not upset the canonical principle of free appointment, but that in practice gave the regime a decisive influence in choosing the candidates”. [Meaning, under the disastrous “Ostpolitik” of the former record-holder for most progressive Pope in modern history, Paul VI, the Church surrendered her liberty and her sacred rights in order to appease a murderous leftist authoritarian regime]

UCAN News reports recent news from Chengdu (Sichuan): “Shortly after the visit of the Vatican delegation to Beijing, the Holy See approved the episcopal candidate elected in May 2014”. Is this also a case of “not upsetting the canonical principle of free appointment, but …in practice giving the regime a decisive influence in choosing the candidates “? [Chicoms choose a figurehead bishop, likely more beholden to Beijing than to God, and the Church goes along.  Very not good, especially given the thousands of bishops, priests, and faithful killed or indefinitely imprisoned by this communist cabal for defending the True Faith!]

The aforementioned AsiaNews article stated, again based on information received from China: “Beijing (demands) the Holy See’s recognition of all the official bishops, even the illegitimate and excommunicated ones.” I wonder: is it only the government that makes these demands, without repentance of those concerned? Will the excommunicated only be released from excommunication or even recognized as bishops? Even without any act of repentance? Has the mercy of God come to this? Will the faithful be obliged to obey these bishops? [Great questions]

So much remains to be resolved.

Illegitimate bishops who have been excommunicated have abused the sacramental power (including ordination of deacons and priests) and judicial (assigning offices) and the Holy See seems to be without rebuke for them. [There hasn’t been much rebuke for decades, going back to JPII.  Pope Benedict was somewhat better, but only somewhat.  Fear of men, and all that. Church leaders tie themselves in not worrying over the “pastoral implications” of doctrinal matters that should be crystal clear.  It’s the worst of both worlds.] 

…….Shortly after the Vatican delegation’s journey to Beijing began, the government organized a large gathering of Church leaders, forcing on that occasion a celebration of all the bishops, legitimate, illegitimate and excommunicated. These are all objectively schismatic acts. [Think about that] The government now can string along a large number of bishops, resulting in an irrecoverable loss of dignity. If the Holy See signed some agreement with the Government without clarifying all these things, it will cause a severe wound to the conscience of the faithful……. [And given the overall poor health of the Church in China, and the enormous inroads protestants have made there, a potentially fatal one]

……….Obviously our underground communities are non-existent for the Government. But now is even the Vatican ignoring them in negotiations, to appease their Chinese counterparts?  [I have long sensed – going back to before Pope Francis  – that the underground Church is something of an embarrassment to many in the Curia.  The progressives there would really like them to go away, so they can have the “victory” of normalizing relations with a schismatic group of government-controlled dupes] To “save the day” will we abandon our brothers and sisters? But they are the healthy limbs of the Church! (Of course, they too have their problems, especially when dioceses remain without bishops, which can only lead to disorder). Is silencing the underground community to please the government not a form of suicide?

In the recent negotiations there has been no mention of the case of Msgr. James Su Zhimin in prison for 20 years. Nor of Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai under house arrest for more than three years because these issues have been deemed “too sensitive”!?

……..Beijing has no intention of negotiating, only making demands.

…….What makes me restless is the sight of our Eminent Secretary of State still intoxicated by themiracles of Ostpolitik. In a speech last year, at a Memorial for Card. Casaroli, he praised the success of its predecessor in having secured the existence of the Church hierarchy in the communist countries of Eastern Europe. He says: “In choosing candidates for the episcopate, we choose shepherds and not people who systematically oppose the regime, people who behave like gladiators, people who love to grandstand on the political stage.” I wonder: Who had he in mind while making this description? I fear that he was thinking of a Cardinal Wyszynski, a Cardinal Mindszenty, a Cardinal Beran. But these are the heroes who bravely defended the faith of their people! It terrifies me to think this way and I sincerely hope that I am wrong. [Ostpolitik was possibly the greatest diplomatic disaster of the Church in the past 200 years.  It was also a pastoral disaster.  Ostpolitik played a substantial role in helping the communist states of Eastern Europe survive a further 20 years.  It resulted in many great, holy, faithful men being thrown under the bus.  I wonder if their well-deserved reputations as opponents of leftism, within the Church and without, played a role in that process under the pontificate of Paul VI and the many progressives he appointed to the Curia?  I know one thing for certain – Paul VI, Cardinal Casaroli, and the other architects of Ostpolitik have blood on their hands.]

The innocent children were killed, the angel told Joseph to take Mary and the Child and flee to safety. But today would our diplomats advise Joseph to go and humbly beg for dialogue with Herod!?

Is that even a question at this point?  Is there anything more exalted, more precious, more holy to most of the institutional Church today than Saint Dialogue the Endless?

I don’t have any clear answers to Cardinal Zen’s many trenchant questions (and note, he also said he his many important concerns have been totally ignored by the Vatican), but I do know this: I get very nervous whenever a left-leaning (or falling) Vatican negotiates with an authoritarian, left-wing government.  The lure of a deal, any deal, regardless of the price, may simply be too great to resist, and progressives tend to be manifestly blind to the evils of governments they see as being on the side of goodness and light.

Long enough post. I actually worked on this on Monday but thought it was too long, then I see Life Site News ran it yesterday!  So I figured what the heck.


Technology is good but it shouldn't replace human beings, Pope says [CNA Daily News]

Vatican City, Jan 20, 2016 / 04:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- While advancements in technology are mostly positive, they can also negatively affect the poor and the environment and risk letting “soulless machines” take the place of people, Pope Francis warned.

“In the face of profound and epochal changes, world leaders are challenged to ensure that the coming 'fourth industrial revolution,' the result of robotics and scientific and technological innovations, does not lead to the destruction of the human person,” the Pope has said.

He cautioned against allowing human beings to be “replaced by a soulless machine,” and warned that if technology gets too far out of our hands, the planet could slowly turn into “an empty garden for the enjoyment of a chosen few.”

“There is a need to create new models of doing business which, while promoting the development of advanced technologies, are also capable of using them to create dignified work for all, to uphold and consolidate social rights, and to protect the environment,” he said.

“Man must guide technological development, without letting himself be dominated by it!”

Pope Francis made his comments in a message addressed to Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum, on the first day of the organization's annual meeting.

A Swiss nonprofit organization based in Geneva, the forum holds a meeting every year in Davos-Klosters to discuss how to improve the state of the world by engaging global leaders in the business, political and academic fields to collaborate in global, regional and industry agendas.

Following the theme “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the forum this year runs from Jan. 20-23.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, read the Pope's message aloud on the first day of the meeting.

In his message, Francis noted that the rise of the “so-called fourth industrial revolution” has been accompanied by a “drastic reduction” in the number of jobs available.

He referred to a recent study conducted by the International Labor Organization, which indicates that hundreds of millions of people are currently affected by unemployment.

“The financialization and technologization of national and global economies have produced far-reaching changes in the field of labor,” the Pope said, adding that the lack of opportunity for “useful and dignified employment,” coupled with a decline in social security, are causing “a disturbing rise” in both poverty and inequality throughout the world.

Francis stressed the need to create new ways of doing business that both promote technological advancements, and safeguard the dignity of the human person.

Pope Francis urged them not to forget the poor, saying that this concern is “the primary challenge before you as leaders in the business world.”

“We must never allow the culture of prosperity to deaden us, to make us incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and sensing the need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own,” he said.

To weep for other people's pain doesn't just mean sharing in their sufferings, he said, but primarily requires that we realize our own actions are frequently a cause of injustice and inequality.

Once we realize this, “we become more fully human, since responsibility for our brothers and sisters is an essential part of our common humanity.”

Francis told attendees that in opening their hearts and minds to the poor, “you will give free rein to your economic and technical talents, and discover the happiness of a full life, which consumerism of itself cannot provide.”

He encouraged them to take present opportunities when it comes to governing the processes currently underway, building “inclusive societies” founded on respect for the human person, tolerance, compassion and mercy.

“I urge you, then, to take up anew your conversation on how to build the future of the planet, our common home, and I ask you to make a united effort to pursue a sustainable and integral development.”

The Pope said that business is “a noble vocation,” especially when it promotes the creation of jobs as “an essential part of its service to the common good.”

Business therefore has a great responsibility in helping to overcome the “complex crisis of society and the environment,” as well as the scourge of poverty.

Doing this, he said, will make it possible to improve the poor living conditions that millions of people are subjected to, and will bridge “the social gap which gives rise to numerous injustices and erodes fundamental values of society, including equality, justice and solidarity.”

Francis closed his message by expressing his hope that the meeting would become a platform from which to advocate for the defense and protection of creation, as well as the achievement of a progress that is “healthier, more human, more social, more integral.”

He also voiced his hope that participants would give special attention to the environmental goals and efforts to eradicate poverty outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the recent Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Various opinions on marital compatibility [Laodicea]


As we prepare ourselves for the surprises the ‘Holy Spirit’ may have in store for us during this Year of Mercy, I thought a survey of various opinions on marital compatibility might be called for…


From the Politics Book 7

Since the legislator should begin by considering how the frames of the children whom he is rearing may be as good as possible, his first care will be about marriage- at what age should his citizens marry, and who are fit to marry? In legislating on this subject he ought to consider the persons and the length of their life, that their procreative life may terminate at the same period, and that they may not differ in their bodily powers, as will be the case if the man is still able to beget children while the woman is unable to bear them, or the woman able to bear while the man is unable to beget, for from these causes arise quarrels and differences between married persons. Secondly, he must consider the time at which the children will succeed to their parents; there ought not to be too great an interval of age, for then the parents will be too old to derive any pleasure from their affection, or to be of any use to them. Nor ought they to be too nearly of an age; to youthful marriages there are many objections- the children will be wanting in respect to the parents, who will seem to be their contemporaries, and disputes will arise in the management of the household. Thirdly, and this is the point from which we digressed, the legislator must mold to his will the frames of newly-born children. Almost all these objects may be secured by attention to one point. Since the time of generation is commonly limited within the age of seventy years in the case of a man, and of fifty in the case of a woman, the commencement of the union should conform to these periods. The union of male and female when too young is bad for the procreation of children; in all other animals the offspring of the young are small and in-developed, and with a tendency to produce female children, and therefore also in man, as is proved by the fact that in those cities in which men and women are accustomed to marry young, the people are small and weak; in childbirth also younger women suffer more, and more of them die; some persons say that this was the meaning of the response once given to the Troezenians- the oracle really meant that many died because they married too young; it had nothing to do with the ingathering of the harvest. It also conduces to temperance not to marry too soon; for women who marry early are apt to be wanton; and in men too the bodily frame is stunted if they marry while the seed is growing (for there is a time when the growth of the seed, also, ceases, or continues to but a slight extent). Women should marry when they are about eighteen years of age, and men at seven and thirty; then they are in the prime of life, and the decline in the powers of both will coincide. Further, the children, if their birth takes place soon, as may reasonably be expected, will succeed in the beginning of their prime, when the fathers are already in the decline of life, and have nearly reached their term of three-score years and ten.






From a letter to Michael Tolkien 6-8 March 1941

A man’s dealings with women can be purely physical (they cannot really, of course: but I mean he can refuse to take other things into account, to the great damage of his soul (and body) and theirs); or ‘friendly’; or he can be a ‘lover’ (engaging and blending all his affections and powers of mind and body in a complex emotion powerfully coloured and energized by ‘sex’). This is a fallen world. The dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been ‘going to the bad’ all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the ‘hard spirit of concupiscence’ has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell. We will leave aside the ‘immoral’ results. These you desire not to be dragged into. To renunciation you have no call. ‘Friendship’ then? In this fallen world the ‘friendship’ that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman. The devil is endlessly ingenious, and sex is his favourite subject. He is as good every bit at catching you through generous romantic or tender motives, as through baser or more animal ones. This ‘friendship’ has often been tried: one side or the other nearly always fails. Later in life when sex cools down, it may be possible. It may happen between saints. To ordinary folk it can only rarely occur: two minds that have really a primarily mental and spiritual affinity may by accident reside in a male and a female body, and yet may desire and achieve a ‘friendship’ quite independent of sex. But no one can count on it. The other partner will let him (or her) down, almost certainly, by ‘falling in love’. But a young man does not really (as a rule) want ‘friendship’, even if he says he does. There are plenty of young men (as a rule). He wants love: innocent, and yet irresponsible perhaps. Allas! Allas! that ever love was sinne! as Chaucer says. Then if he is a Christian and is aware that there is such a thing as sin, he wants to know what to do about it.

There is in our Western culture the romantic chivalric tradition still strong, though as a product of Christendom (yet by no means the same as Christian ethics) the times are inimical to it. It idealizes ‘love’ — and as far as it goes can be very good, since it takes in far more than physical pleasure, and enjoins if not purity, at least fidelity, and so self-denial, ‘service’, courtesy, honour, and courage. Its weakness is, of course, that it began as an artificial courtly game, a way of enjoying love for its own sake without reference to (and indeed contrary to) matrimony. Its centre was not God, but imaginary Deities, Love and the Lady. It still tends to make the Lady a kind of guiding star or divinity – of the old-fashioned ‘his divinity’ = the woman he loves – the object or reason of noble conduct. This is, of course, false and at best make-believe. The woman is another fallen human-being with a soul in peril. But combined and harmonized with religion (as long ago it was, producing much of that beautiful devotion to Our Lady that has been God’s way of refining so much our gross manly natures and emotions, and also of warming and colouring our hard, bitter, religion) it can be very noble. Then it produces what I suppose is still felt, among those who retain even vestigiary Christianity, to be the highest ideal of love between man and woman. Yet I still think it has dangers. It is not wholly true, and it is not perfectly ‘theocentric’. It takes, or at any rate has in the past taken, the young man’s eye off women as they are, as companions in shipwreck not guiding stars. (One result is for observation of the actual to make the young man turn cynical.) To forget their desires, needs and temptations. It inculcates exaggerated notions of ‘true love’, as a fire from without, a permanent exaltation, unrelated to age, childbearing, and plain life, and unrelated to will and purpose. (One result of that is to make young folk look for a ‘love’ that will keep them always nice and warm in a cold world, without any effort of theirs; and the incurably romantic go on looking even in the squalor of the divorce courts).

Women really have not much part in all this, though they may use the language of romantic love, since it is so entwined in all our idioms. The sexual impulse makes women (naturally when unspoiled more unselfish) very sympathetic and understanding, or specially desirous of being so (or seeming so), and very ready to enter into all the interests, as far as they can, from ties to religion, of the young man they are attracted to. No intent necessarily to deceive: sheer instinct: the servient, helpmeet instinct, generously warmed by desire and young blood. Under this impulse they can in fact often achieve very remarkable insight and understanding, even of things otherwise outside their natural range: for it is their gift to be receptive, stimulated, fertilized (in many other matters than the physical) by the male. Every teacher knows that. How quickly an intelligent woman can be taught, grasp his ideas, see his point – and how (with rare exceptions) they can go no further, when they leave his hand, or when they cease to take a personal interest in him. But this is their natural avenue to love. Before the young woman knows where she is (and while the romantic young man, when he exists, is still sighing) she may actually ‘fall in love’. Which for her, an unspoiled natural young woman, means that she wants to become the mother of the young man’s children, even if that desire is by no means clear to her or explicit. And then things are going to happen: and they may be very painful and harmful, if things go wrong. Particularly if the young man only wanted a temporary guiding star and divinity (until he hitches his waggon to a brighter one), and was merely enjoying the flattery of sympathy nicely seasoned with a titillation of sex – all quite innocent, of course, and worlds away from ‘seduction’.

You may meet in life (as in literature1) women who are flighty, or even plain wanton — I don’t refer to mere flirtatiousness, the sparring practice for the real combat, but to women who are too silly to take even love seriously, or are actually so depraved as to enjoy ‘conquests’, or even enjoy the giving of pain – but these are abnormalities, even though false teaching, bad upbringing, and corrupt fashions may encourage them. Much though modern conditions have changed feminine circumstances, and the detail of what is considered propriety, they have not changed natural instinct. A man has a life-work, a career, (and male friends), all of which could (and do where he has any guts) survive the shipwreck of ‘love’. A young woman, even one ‘economically independent’, as they say now (it usually really means economic subservience to male commercial employers instead of to a father or a family), begins to think of the ‘bottom drawer’ and dream of a home, almost at once. If she really falls in love, the shipwreck may really end on the rocks. Anyway women are in general much less romantic and more practical. Don’t be misled by the fact that they are more ‘sentimental’ in words – freer with ‘darling’, and all that. They do not want a guiding star. They may idealize a plain young man into a hero; but they don’t really need any such glamour either to fall in love or to remain in it. If they have any delusion it is that they can ‘reform’ men. They will take a rotter open-eyed, and even when the delusion of reforming him fails, go on loving him. They are, of course, much more realistic about the sexual relation. Unless perverted by bad contemporary fashions they do not as a rule talk ‘bawdy’; not because they are purer than men (they are not) but because they don’t find it funny. I have known those who pretended to, but it is a pretence. It may be intriguing, interesting, absorbing (even a great deal too absorbing) to them: but it is just plumb natural, a serious, obvious interest; where is the joke?

They have, of course, still to be more careful in sexual relations, for all the contraceptives. Mistakes are damaging physically and socially (and matrimonially). But they are instinctively, when uncorrupt, monogamous. Men are not. …. No good pretending. Men just ain’t, not by their animal nature. Monogamy (although it has long been fundamental to our inherited ideas) is for us men a piece of ‘revealed’ ethic, according to faith and not to the flesh. Each of us could healthily beget, in our 30 odd years of full manhood, a few hundred children, and enjoy the process. Brigham Young (I believe) was a healthy and happy man. It is a fallen world, and there is no consonance between our bodies, minds, and souls.

However, the essence of a fallen world is that the best cannot be attained by free enjoyment, or by what is called ‘self-realization’ (usually a nice name for self-indulgence, wholly inimical to the realization of other selves); but by denial, by suffering. Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify & direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains. It will not satisfy him – as hunger may be kept off by regular meals. It will offer as many difficulties to the purity proper to that state, as it provides easements. No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial. Too few are told that — even those brought up ‘in the Church’. Those outside seem seldom to have heard it. When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that comes along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married, if only —. Hence divorce, to provide the ‘if only’. And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgement concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the ‘real soul-mate’ is the one you are actually married to. You really do very little choosing: life and circumstance do most of it (though if there is a God these must be His instruments, or His appearances). It is notorious that in fact happy marriages are more common where the ‘choosing’ by the young persons is even more limited, by parental or family authority, as long as there is a social ethic of plain unromantic responsibility and conjugal fidelity. But even in countries where the romantic tradition has so far affected social arrangements as to make people believe that the choosing of a mate is solely the concern of the young, only the rarest good fortune brings together the man and woman who are really as it were ‘destined’ for one another, and capable of a very great and splendid love. The idea still dazzles us, catches us by the throat: poems and stories in multitudes have been written on the theme, more, probably, than the total of such loves in real life (yet the greatest of these tales do not tell of the happy marriage of such great lovers, but of their tragic separation; as if even in this sphere the truly great and splendid in this fallen world is more nearly achieved by ‘failure’ and suffering). In such great inevitable love, often love at first sight, we catch a vision, I suppose, of marriage as it should have been in an unfallen world. In this fallen world we have as our only guides, prudence, wisdom (rare in youth, too late in age), a clean, heart, and fidelity of will.….

My own history is so exceptional, so wrong and imprudent in nearly every point that it makes it difficult to counsel prudence. Yet hard cases make bad law; and exceptional cases are not always good guides for others. For what it is worth here is some autobiography – mainly on this occasion directed towards the points of age, and finance.

I fell in love with your mother at the approximate age of 18. Quite genuinely, as has been shown – though of course defects of character and temperament have caused me often to fall below the ideal with which I started. Your mother was older than I, and not a Catholic. Altogether unfortunate, as viewed by a guardian. And it was in a sense very unfortunate; and in a way very bad for me. These things are absorbing and nervously exhausting. I was a clever boy in the throes of work for (a very necessary) Oxford scholarship. The combined tensions nearly produced a bad breakdown. I muffed my exams and though (as years afterwards my H[ead] M[aster] told me) I ought to have got a good scholarship, I only landed by the skin of my teeth an exhibition of £60 at Exeter: just enough with a school leaving scholarship] of the same amount to come up on (assisted by my dear old guardian). Of course there was a credit side, not so easily seen by the guardian. I was clever, but not industrious or single-minded; a large pan of my failure was due simply to not working (at least not at classics) not because I was in love, but because I was studying something else: Gothic and what not. Having the romantic upbringing I made a boy-and-girl affair serious, and made it the source of effort. Naturally rather a physical coward, I passed from a despised rabbit on a house second-team to school colours in two seasons. All that sort of thing. However, trouble arose: and I had to choose between disobeying and grieving (or deceiving) a guardian who had been a father to me, more than most real fathers, but without any obligation, and ‘dropping’ the love-affair until I was 21. I don’t regret my decision, though it was very hard on my lover. But that was not my fault. She was perfectly free and under no vow to me, and I should have had no just complaint (except according to the unreal romantic code) if she had got married to someone else. For very nearly threeyears I did not see or write to my lover. It was extremely hard, painful and bitter, especially at first. The effects were not wholly good: I fell back into folly and slackness and misspent a good deal of my first year at College. But I don’t think anything else would have justified marriage on the basis of a boy’s affair; and probably nothing else would have hardened the will enough to give such an affair (however genuine a case of true love) permanence. On the night of my 21st birthday I wrote again to your mother – Jan. 3, 1913. On Jan. 8th I went back to her, and became engaged, and informed an astonished family. I picked up my socks and did a spot of work (too late to save Hon. Mods. from disaster) – and then war broke out the next year, while I still had a year to go at college. In those days chaps joined up, or were scorned publicly. It was a nasty cleft to be in, especially for a young man with too much imagination and little physical courage. No degree: no money: fiancée. I endured the obloquy, and hints becoming outspoken from relatives, stayed up, and produced a First in Finals in 1915. Bolted into the army: July 1915. I found the situation intolerable and married on March 22, 1916. May found me crossing the Channel (I still have the verse I wrote on the occasion!) for the carnage of the Somme.

Think of your mother! Yet I do not now for a moment feel that she was doing more than she should have been asked to do – not that that detracts from the credit of it. I was a young fellow, with a moderate degree, and apt to write verse, a few dwindling pounds p. a. (£20 – 40), and no prospects, a Second Lieut. on 7/6 a day in the infantry where the chances of survival were against you heavily (as a subaltern). She married me in 1916 and John was born in 1917 (conceived and carried during the starvation-year of 1917 and the great U-Boat campaign) round about the battle of Cambrai, when the end of the war seemed as far-off as it does now. I sold out, and spent to pay the nursing-home, the last of my few South African shares, ‘my patrimony’.

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. …. There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.

More and Fisher


I don’t know if an adult male can be taught how to be a man…… [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

…..if he didn’t learn it as a child. That, and other considerations cause me to largely agree with Louie Verricchio’s assessment of the “Manly Men Movement” in the Church.  First, the video, then I add a few thoughts:

I agree very much with Louie in these respects:

  • rah-rah men’s groups often come off as artificial, a bit desperate, and sometimes quite weird
  • even when trying to carve out a masculine space/lifestyle, these efforts frequently use feminist techniques
  • Like so many areas of the Church today, whatever conservative reaction there tends to be seems to ape earlier protestant efforts.  I don’t want to hear “Can I get an Amen?” from some dude at a conference, I hated that crap as a protestant and I hate it more now.  It’s contrived.  And this is just one small area where the Church has surrendered not just the initiative, but almost the entire effort to protestant sources – “Vacation Bible School,” many adult catechetical programs, the Charismatic movement, Focolare……most conservative oriented initiatives seem to almost always ape protestantism. Is this because the one truly Catholic alternative -the traditional practice of the Faith – is forbidden?
  • I don’t think manhood can be taught to adult males.  You either get it as a kid, or you don’t at all.  That may be really a bummer for those who grew up with much of a male role model, but I’ve watched guys try to learn as adults how to be men or more manly and the results have not been good.

But the main point that I think is dead on is the reason there are so few spiritually committed, masculine men in the Church today, is because the Catholic Church is probably the very last place where (OK, I’ll say it, outside traditional parishes) you will find masculine spiritual fathers.  One of the least masculine cohorts I’ve ever encountered in my narrow existence is the Novus Ordo priesthood.

As Verrecchio adroitly observes, the behavior of the Church today is profoundly feminine.  The Church today seeks consensus, it seeks popularity, it seeks never to offend, all of which has caused the sense of Truth and the importance of it to salvation to be flushed down the proverbial toilet.

How many US bishops today would die to protect the sacred deposit of Faith?  Would any?  How many priests?  Perhaps a handful, overwhelmingly attached to the TLM? Far more damning……how many bishops and priests would even be slightly inconvenienced for the sake of Truth and the true good of souls?  You can’t be a man if you don’t protect your family, and these men, they do not protect their family.  In fact, they’ve pretended to redefine what their family is in order to avoid doing so.

I generally like Louie, but I do think he goes a bit too far at times.  I think he’s pretty much on target in this video, though.  The amazing thing is, Bishop Olmsted is probably one of the top 5 or 6 most orthodox bishops in the country, relatively speaking.  There was a lot of liberal angst when JPII first made him bishop and then assigned him to Phoenix. Shows just quite where we’re at in these days.

Having said all the above, I don’t mean to be relentlessly negative.  I was blessed.  I feel like – I hope, I pray – that my dad taught me how to be a man.  He didn’t have guns or hunt or shoot but he did a lot of other things and he remains a huge influence and a hero of mine to this day. When I said earlier today I don’t think the acorn falls very far from the tree, I was thinking of me and him. We’re a lot alike.  My dad is my best friend, and always has been.  I really mean that.

And I know some men, many men, don’t have that, because of divorce or accident or many other reasons.  And I try to have a great deal of compassion for such men, and I can very much see why they, and others who did have a father in their life growing up, would reach out to other men for inspiration and leadership. It’s a crying shame in the Church today that yet again laymen have to rely on themselves and each other to fill the roles that should rightly be filled by priests in better circumstances.

So, forgive me if it seems like I’m looking down on their efforts.  I’m sure some are better than others and some probably work pretty well. And there are priests out there trying to fill the role of spiritual fathers for men, men like Fr. Michael Rodriguez, Fr. Richard Hielmann, Fr. Romanowski, Fr. Phil Wolfe and the Gordon brothers and others.  If there are men who get some true spiritual benefit and growth in their Catholic faith from these men’s revival meetings, more power to them.  I just think the effort is necessarily limited by the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and may not always be ordered towards the Faith in the best way possible.

That concludes family day on the blog, I guess.

h/t the great Saint Anibale Bugnini



The desire to reset the calendar [Just Thomism]

The logic of the shift to “CE” and “BCE” demands that we reset the calendar since it’s still offensive to have to mark your dates from Jesus even if you don’t call him Lord or Christ. This will happen one of two ways.

1.) We decide to reset the calendar at some arbitrary date. Some sort of agreement gradually builds, probably under the influence of elite opinion, that we will reset our history at some set moment. We fight over some piece of legislation (or not) and it passes to set the calendar over at zero. Newspapers, history textbooks, contracts, public records, and everything else resets to confusion and inconvenience.

2.) We decide some event is so significant that it deserves to be the reference for all other times. The desire that a timeline start at some chief or significant event is the normal way of human action, though variosu exigencies force us to pick an event in human history (the date of the big bang or the congealing of the earth, even if we could get it accurate enough – which we can’t – would leave us with unmanageably large numbers.) So we’re stuck finding a person or event that we want to reckon all time from.


Stephen Colbert & Patricia Heaton Have A "Catholic Throwdown," Bp Ricken chimes in [The Badger Catholic]

A big ol' asterisks on Medjugorje obviously.

To which Bp Ricken rightly quoth:

The National Catholic Register even retweeted.


More people dying than being born in Europa [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

The lights are going out all over Europe, again, and this time not due to fascism or communism, but hedonistic sexular paganism that has so enervated hundreds of millions of souls they cannot even bother to reproduce.  Were the births to muslims excluded from the total fertility rate of most European countries, the numbers would look even worse:

More people in Europe are dying than are being born, according to a new report co-authored by a Texas A&M University demographer. In contrast, births exceed deaths, by significant margins, in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S., with few exceptions.

Texas A&M Professor of Sociology Dudley Poston, along with Professor Kenneth Johnson, University of New Hampshire, and Professor Layton Field, Mount St. Mary’s University, published their findings in Population and Development Review this month.

The researchers find that 17 European nations have more dying in them than are being born (natural decrease), including three of Europe’s more populous nations: Russia, Germany and Italy. In contrast, in the U.S. and in the state of Texas, births exceed deaths by a substantial margin.

“In 2013 in Texas, for example, there were over 387,000 births compared to just over 179,000 deaths,” says Poston. “The only two in the U.S. with more deaths than births are the coal mining state of West Virginia and the forest product state of Maine.” [Yeah but even here without the massive Hispanic population the fertility numbers would not look nearly so good]

………Findings reveal that 58 percent of the 1,391 counties of Europe had more deaths than births compared to just 28 percent of the 3,141 counties of the U.S……..

…….Natural decrease is much more common in Europe than in the U.S because its population is older, fertility rates are lower and there are fewer women of child-bearing age,” Poston and his colleagues explain. “Natural decrease is a major policy concern because it drains the demographic resilience from a region diminishing its economic viability and competitiveness.”

Save for an emptying out of the High Plains, northern Appalachia, and parts of the Midwest, most of the US experiences steady growth, as shown below.



In both Europe and the US, take abortion away and these numbers would look far better.  But that’s not gonna happen anytime soon, barring a miracle of biblical proportions.

Absent that, Europe is going to become increasingly muslim, with many regions becoming majority or near-majority within the next several decades.  At the very least, come 2050 or so, Europe is going to look very different, and probably a far more dangerous place.  I also expect to see mass migration of non-muslims to areas with little or no muslim presence.  Europe will be Balkanized, and in the worst possible way.

Europe’s had a holiday from history for about 70 years.  But history must be paid either now, or later, and by enjoying this phantasmal “holiday” the comeuppance is going to be hard and fast.  I pray that as a result of this very unhappy process, however, that Europe finds it’s faith again.  If it doesn’t, Europe as we have known it will cease to exist.


Most Pure Heart Schola Cantorum … in Rome! [Corpus Christi Watershed news]

Most Pure Heart Schola Cantorum … in Rome!


Cyprian Michael Tansi Local BBC Leicester [Dom Donald's Blog]
Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:07 UK
Blessed Cyprian may be new saint
Blessed Cyprian Tansi
Blessed Cyprian is one step away from sainthood
A Nigerian monk who spent the last 14 years of his life at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey is one step away from sainthood.
Father Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was beautified by Pope John Paul II on 22 March 1998.
For the last 11 years hundreds of Catholics have gathered in Leicestershire in pilgrimage to Blessed Cyprian.
To be elevated to the state of saint, a second miracle must be proved.
In the beginning
Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboazunu in Nigeria, later receiving the name of Michael at his baptism.
As a young man he worked as a teacher, before beginning the journey towards becoming a priest.
Tansi was ordained for the Onitsha diocese at the age of 34, and became a man of great prayer and personal sacrifice.
 As a person he was very ordinary, very humble, obviously a great man of deep prayer and dedication 
Father Anselm Stark
He arrived at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey near Coalville in 1950 ready to start follow a monastic life, joining a community of 71 people.
As Father Cyprian his daily life would have very similar to that which the monks follow today.
They monks wake early to attend the first church service of that day at 03:30, with seven following church visits before bed.
Manual labour would features heavily in their day. Fr Cyprian worked in the vegetable gardens and orchard which in his day stood on the site of the 2009 pilgrimage.
Father Anselm Stark has been at the monastery for 55 years, and knew Fr Cyprian personally.
"As a person he was very ordinary, very humble, obviously a great man of deep prayer and dedication.
"We didn't realise towards the end how sick he was, he never complained about anything. Of course when we got him into hospital it was too late."
Fr Cyprian died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary on 20 January 1964, at the age of 61.
At first he was buried in the monastery grounds, but in 1986 his remains were exhumed and returned to Nigeria.
A miracle
When Cyprian's remains were taken back to Nigeria there was a big ceremony to welcome them back - lots of people wanted to go to Onitsha Cathedral - she insisted must go
In order for Blessed Cyprian to become a saint someone must have their prayers to him answered in a miraculous way that can be proved, such as a healing.
Mount Saint Bernard Abbey (Photo: Paul Burnell)
Blessed Cyprian lived at Mount Saint Bernard for 14 years
Fr Anselm says that it was at the welcoming ceremony at Onitsha Cathedral that Cyprian's miracle occurred.
A dying woman had begged her carers to allow her to attend the ceremony, despite their concerns for her health.
"When the coffin was brought up the aisle of the cathedral she put out her hand and touched it, and was instantly cured of her stomach cancer," says Fr Anselm.
In 1998 Cyprian was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Since then pilgrims have collected each year in Leicestershire to celebrate his life and pray for another miracle which could see Blessed Cyprian be raised to the state of a saint.
After a 10 year break, the 2009 event, including a mass and procession, returned to Mount Saint Bernard Abbey.
Hundreds of people from across the United Kingdom, many with Nigerian roots, took part.
Sister Bernadette said there was much to understand from Blessed Cyprian's work, "humility, patience, endurance, divine providence - the will of God".
"It means a lot to me, it is a day of prayer, a day of reflection, a day to look at Tansi's life and realise how we can emulate him as a fellow Nigerian." 

Blessed Cyprian Tansi was a monk of our community for 14 years, from 1950, until his death, in 1964. Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 at Igboezunu in Nigeria. At the age of nine he was baptised, receiving the name Michael. As a young man, he worked as a catechist and school teacher before entering a seminary at the age of 22. He was ordained a priest for the Onitsha diocese in 1937 at the age of 34. From the moment of his ordination, Michael Tansi joined an energetic apostolic zeal to a life of profound prayer and demanding personal asceticism.

His care for the people committed to him in the diocese of Onitsha made him ardent in propagating devotion to the Sacred Heart, to Our Lady, and the Rosary. His belief in the value for the whole Church of the hidden life of prayer in a contemplative Order, led Fr Tansi to join Mount Saint Bernard Abbey in 1950.

On becoming a Cistercian monk, he took the name Cyprian. Fr Cyprian worked in the refectory and bookbindery.The transition to Mount Saint Bernard and the Cistercian life must have been difficult for him, but what always made him remarkable was the iron strength and tenacity of his will which was, from boyhood, directed entirely towards God. No tragedy or trial could weaken his complete trust in God's providence. He used to say, "if you are going to be a Christian at all, you might as well live entirely for God". Fr Cyprian died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary on the 20th January 1964, aged 61.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd March 1998, in Nigeria.

Blessed Cyprian,
during your life on earth
you showed your great faith and love
in giving yourself to your people
and by the hidden life
of prayer and contemplation.
Look upon us now in our needs,
and intercede for us with the Lord.
May he grant us the favour we ask
through our prayers. Amen.

Blessed Cyprian's Feast Day is on 20th January.


Incompleteness Arguments [Siris]

Megill and Linford have a very puzzling post up at "Philosophical Percolations", looking at theistic incompleteness arguments. By a theistic incompleteness argument, they mean an argument against atheistic naturalism (AN) of something like the following form:

(1) Humans have some property P; but (2) If AN is true, then humans could not have property P (because, e.g., such a property could not exist given AN); therefore, (3) AN is false.

Their argument is that these arguments cannot ever succeed. This would actually be quite significant, since, as can be seen on reading through their argument, the argument that theistic incompleteness arguments cannot succeed would be quite easily generalizable to any kind of incompleteness argument. Incompleteness arguments in general, however, are extraordinarily common rational instruments. I'll talk a bit more about the implications of this at the end of the post, but let's focus on the particular version they give. This is how they start out:

Consider two putative epistemically possible worlds, w and w*. These worlds are near duplicates of each other except in one of these worlds, w, God exists, but in the other world, w*, God does not exist. Moreover, one of these worlds is the actual world. In other words, if God exists, then we exist in w, but if God does not exist, then we exist in w*.

It is worrisome already to be talking about possible worlds being the actual world; there are good reasons for refusing to identify actual worlds with any given possible world. The obvious riposte is "But surely the actual world is possible, and thus a possible world?" But unless we are modal realists, holding that every possible world is actual, we actually hold that the actual world is able to be in different ways; which means that our account of a possible world is actually an incomplete account of the actual world insofar as it is capable of being this way rather than some other way. In this sense, every description of any possible world is a description of some particular possible way the actual world itself can be. It's illegitimate to lay out possible worlds and simple say, "This possible world is this actual world," because this possible world by definition can't be any other possible world. The actual world would be necessary. To be sure, you can get around this with some highly controversial assumptions; but they are highly controversial.

Megill and Linford then go on to talk a bit about epistemic possibility; I find their characterization also worrying since they put it in terms of certainty, which we know can be fragmentary and even in real life inconsistent. But I don't know that this affects the structure of the argument, beyond what I note below, so I will continue.

The atheist thinks that we live in w*, so the theist needs to convince the atheist that w* cannot be the actual world; and the way that incompleteness arguments try to do this is by arguing that some property P could not be in w* in the absence of God. There are two possibilities: either the atheist thinks P is in fact in w* or not. That is, either P is a property in AN’s ontology or it is not; this is an instance of excluded middle. Suppose that P is not in AN’s ontology; the atheistic naturalist does not even think that P exists. But if not, then the relevant incompleteness argument cannot succeed; if an atheist does not believe that property P exists in the first place, they will not be troubled by AN’s alleged failure to explain the existence of P. On this scenario, the theist might as well fault AN for failing to explain the existence of phlogiston.

So the idea is that we have these two epistemically possible worlds, possible ways the world could be given what we know about the world, w in which God exists, and w* in which there is no God and these are "near duplicates". The incompleteness argument is that there is a property that actually requires God to exist, despite the fact that there is no God in w*. So the first thing Megill and Linford do is consider the case in which the atheist holds that the property is not found in w* (i.e., the atheistic world). That is, the atheist holds that such a property does not exist. Then, say Megill and Linford, the incompleteness argument is not a problem for the atheist; he doesn't think P, which requires God, exists, so he's not committed by it to holding that God exists.

This is a slightly problematic characterization. An obvious minor worry is that the atheist's not admitting P just pushes the argument back one step; it does not stop the incompleteness argument, because in arguing that P requires God's existence, the theist is ipso facto arguing that everything that requires P requires God's existence, and it may, for all we know, be the case that the atheist admits the existence of one of these. If w* includes Q, and Q requires P which requires God's existence, not admitting the existence of P and God doesn't actually get the atheist out of anything. This worry is only minor, and doesn't affect the argument as a whole; it's actually a reflection of the fact that Megill and Linford are making a completely general argument against theistic incompleteness arguments, not objecting to one particular theistic incompleteness argument.

Far more worrisome is the implication that nobody need to be worried about anything that's not in their ontology, which, however, gets into more serious generalizability issues that I will talk about below. Let's move on and consider the next leg of the argument.

But suppose that the atheist does think that P is in w*. Now, the theist who advances an incompleteness argument has to show that w* is not epistemically possible because without God, P could not exist. The theist needs to convince the atheist to move from w* to w, to recognize that God must be added to w* because some property P in w* could not exist in a Godless world. Suppose that the theist produces an argument that P could not exist without God. This argument is designed to convince the atheist to reject w* for w; but in this scenario, w* and w will almost be perfect duplicates; they are qualitatively identical aside from the existence of God and the existence of the property P that God’s existence makes possible.... But this is problematic

Here is where I think the argument really starts to go off the rails, or at least to become puzzling in terms of how it is supposed to work. By the supposition previously noted, w and w* are near duplicates, differing as such only in whether God exists, and we are considering cases in which w* is thought to include P, having already considered the case in which it is thought not to include it. We run into the same worry I noted then, about the fact that in arguing that P requires God's existence, the theist is ipso facto arguing that anything that requires P requires God's existence. If w and w* are really possible worlds, they have to be consistent -- inconsistent worlds are impossible worlds, not possible ones. In the case of epistemic possibility, the consistency has to be with what we know, in some sense of the word. But precisely the theist's argument, in the case where the theist and the atheist both recognize the existence of P, is that any atheistic account of the world is not consistent, and thus not actually epistemically possible, even if the atheist mistakenly thinks it is.

Megill and Linford had previously set up apparatus to block this point by arguing that the atheist believes w* is the actual world and thus is epistemically possible; therefore, "for the atheist, w* is the actual world and so must be epistemically possible." They then claim that the only way it could turn out not to be epistemically possible is if we could be "completely certain of the truth of theism". But all of this is obviously not true, and appears to involve confusing "what someone believes follows from what they know" and "what follows from what someone knows". If atheists were logically omniscient, we could rest satisfied that what they think follows from what they know really does follow from what they know. But they aren't; none of us are. We can be mistaken about what is actually consistent with what we know. Not every view of the world someone may have describes an epistemically possible world; some only seem that way if you overlook some important inconsistency or contradiction. Worldviews are not hermetically sealed; they have to answer to the real world, and come from what we know of the real world, and they can be assessed for consistency in doing so.

So if we aren't assuming that atheists know all of the implications of all that they know, we aren't really dealing with what is epistemically possible, but with what they atheist thinks is epistemically possible. Not at all the same thing. And because of that, the atheist may well be inconsistent -- which is yet another way in which the atheistic claim could turn out not to be epistemically possible, besides being certain of the truth of theism. (It could turn out, for instance, that we are left uncertain whether theism is true, but that on the basis of the incompleteness argument, we can see that this particular form of atheism is untenable.)

Megill and Linford give three reasons why they think the incompleteness argument is problematic in the case where the atheist admits the existence of P.

First, from the atheist’s perspective, it looks like the theist is simply tacking God on to a world, and God is then somehow able to magically imbue the lives in that world with some important property without changing anything else about the world. Second, it appears that God is largely an epiphenomena in such a world; after all, nothing else about the world changes with the addition of God, who then somehow brings P into the world without changing anything else. Third, if two lives can be qualitatively identical aside from the existence of a property P, then it seems that P does not supervene on or depend upon any of the other properties of the lives. But how can we completely sever moral significance, rationality, meaning and so on from the content of particular lives?

There seems to be some strange slippage with regard to the notion of 'near duplicate possible worlds'. As noted above, despite the tendency of Megill and Linford to say that w and w* only differ in the existence of God and (depending on the situation) the existence of P, in reality they also differ in everything that genuinely requires the things in which they differ. Thus the most nearly duplicate epistemically possible worlds may not actually be very similar -- to claim that they are very similar is just to claim that the way in which they differ doesn't matter much at all. But the atheist is not entitled to assume that w and w* really are only slightly different; that is equivalent to saying that God's existence has almost no implications, a claim that is not conceded by the incompleteness argument itself nor follows from the mere difference of w and w*. That the theist is only arguing about P does not change the fact, noted above, that it would also apply to anything that requires P, if anything does -- and that chain might, for all we know at this general level, extend back to lots and lots and lots and lots of things. Thus the atheist is not in a position to determine whether God is just 'tacked on' as an arbitrary difference or not; the implications of God's existence or nonexistence might (as far as we know) be quite extensive, even in terms of what only follows from this particular argument itself. Only by following through all the implications would it be possible to determine how big a difference it might be; the atheist has no warrant, however, for assuming that nothing but P, alone, is on the table. It just happens to be P that the theist is trying to link to God's existence; if he succeeds, P brings along anything whatsoever that requires P, despite the fact that none of them have been explicitly discussed. It might also bring along other things that don't themselves require P but are similar enough to P to require parity of argument. P is just the central element of what may end up being a very large package of things (we can't tell without investigating P more closely), and thus the differences between these 'near duplicate worlds' might, as far as we know, be quite considerable. In fact, the three arguments trade on the oddity of thinking that that it would make very little difference. But that it would make very little difference is not at all an assumption theists are committed to in incompleteness arguments; the argument is not that P and nothing but P requires the existence of God, but that at least P requires it, and it is a direct implication of it that anything that requires P would also require it, just by transitivity.

All these are mere initial worries and might seem evadable. But the interesting thing about the Megill & Linford argument, and the reason for talking about it at all, is that it is highly generalizable. It doesn't depend on particular features of the arguments, but only on their general shape; it doesn't depend on precisely what kind of theism is in view or what God is or what the property in question is. This is because it is supposed to be a general argument against all theistic incompleteness arguments. But it is in fact easily generalizable to any situation with the following characteristics:

(1) Position A involves holding that something, X, does not exist.
(2) Position B involves holding that X does exist.
(3) The person who holds position B argues against position A that there is some property P in the world that requires the existence of X.

Let's take an example. Person A and person B disagree about whether there are gravitons, A holding there are no such things, and B holding that there are. B argues against A that there is some material property, P, that requires the existence of gravitons. In other words, B is arguing that A's position is incomplete. Suppose that A does not accept the existence of P. 'Then the relevant incompleteness argument cannot succeed; if A does not believe that property P exists in the first place, they will not be troubled by their position's alleged failure to explain the existence of P. On this scenario, B might as well fault A for failing to explain the existence of phlogiston.' Suppose that A does think that P exists. Then 'B needs to convince A to move from w* (the epistemically possible world without gravitons) to w (the one with), to recognize that gravitons must be added to w* because some property P in w* could not exist in a world without gravitons'. But then 'from A's perspective, it looks like gravitons are just tacked on to the world, and that gravitons are somehow able to magically imbue things in the world with some important property without changing anything else about the world.' Further, 'it appears that gravitons are largely an epiphenomena in such a world; after all, nothing else about the world changes with the addition of them.' Moreover, 'if two things can be qualitatively identical aside from the existence of a property P, then it seems that P does not supervene on or depend upon any of the other properties of the things.' But how is this supposed to work for gravitons as explanations of material phenomena? 'Either a given property used in an incompleteness argument is in A's ontology or it isn’t. If it isn’t, A has nothing to explain. If it is, then B is committed to divorcing these properties from anything else, along with other bizarre claims. A has no reason to accept any incompleteness argument.'

You can have infinite fun with this. Let's take the material world. A holds that there is no material world; B holds that there is, and argues that A's account of the world is incomplete without the existence of the material world.Suppose that A does not accept the existence of P. 'Then the relevant incompleteness argument cannot succeed; if A does not believe that property P exists in the first place, they will not be troubled by their position's alleged failure to explain the existence of P. On this scenario, B might as well fault A for failing to explain the existence of phlogiston.' Suppose that A does think that P exists. Then 'B needs to convince A to move from w* (the epistemically possible world without material things) to w (the one with), to recognize that matter must be added to w* because some property P in w* could not exist in an immaterial world'. But then 'from A's perspective, it looks like matter is just tacked on to the world, and that matter is somehow able to magically imbue things in the world with some important property without changing anything else about the world.' Further, 'it appears that matter is largely an epiphenomena in such a world; after all, nothing else about the world changes with the addition of it.' Moreover, 'if two things can be qualitatively identical aside from the existence of a property P, then it seems that P does not supervene on or depend upon any of the other properties of the things.' But how is this supposed to work for the material world itself? 'Either a given property used in an incompleteness argument is in A's ontology or it isn’t. If it isn’t, A has nothing to explain. If it is, then B is committed to divorcing these properties from anything else, along with other bizarre claims. A has no reason to accept any incompleteness argument.'

That's actually quite close to some of Berkeley's arguments, in fact. All standard arguments for the material world are incompleteness arguments: they claim that there is something in our experiences of the world such that any account of them is incomplete without bringing in matter. And it doesn't take much generalization at all from the Megill-Linford argument; given the structure of the argument, there is nothing to prevent the generalization. By parity, if we reject incompleteness-without-God arguments for Megill & Linford's specific reason, we should also reject incompleteness-without-matter arguments.

And we can generalize even further, without any difficulty at all. While not all arguments to the existence of a cause are incompleteness arguments, most are: they take some phenomenon E and argue that our account of E cannot be complete without the existence of such-and-such cause C.

When we reach this point it becomes easy to see an important feature of the Megill-Linford argument: it depends on a separability principle, and thus is analogous to Hume's separability argument about causation, although, of course, Hume doesn't use the elaborate apparatus of possible worlds. Hume's version of the separability principle is, "Wherever the imagination perceives a difference among ideas, it can easily produce a separation". The basic idea of this in the context of Hume's theory of ideas is that if two ideas are distinguishable, they are capable of existing separately. Hume then argues that because cause and effect are distinct, we can conceive of something coming into existence without any cause. There is thus no necessary connection in the usual sense of the word between effect and cause; if we're just considering the idea of the effect and the idea of the cause, nothing about the one actually requires the other. You can't demonstrate the existence of one from the other, or the existence of anything from the existence of any other thing. What this is doing is blocking incompleteness arguments -- that you can't completely account for the effect without the cause, or for the cause without the effect. Megill and Linford's argument works an analogous way, and assumes an analogous separability principle. The question is whether P requires the existence of God; in the argument, if we assume the existence of P, the world-with-P can be conceived on its own without God, so the world-with-P can't require that God exist. Despite the rationalist apparatus of possible worlds, it is an entirely Humean argument.

And it has an entirely Humean skepticism as its end result; since there is nothing to stop generalizing, it generalizes to the furthest extent, to any case where the existence of one thing is claimed to require the existence of another. And the reasons for thinking it can't be right are exactly all the reasons for denying separability principles and holding that given something's existence you can prove another thing's existence.


Pope Francis and the Sin of Saul [Unam Sanctam Catholicam]

Sorry I have not posted for a while…we are a family of seven and over the past two weeks every single one of us has been sick multiple times. It’s been one of those “barely keeping my head above water” sorts of months. 

A lot has been going on, too; the pope’s visit to the Synagogue of Rome, the infamous video about interreligious dialogue that constituted the pope’s January prayer intentions, the revelations that Francis flew into such a rage during the 2015 Synod at the letter of the 13 cardinals that the Swiss Guard had to clear the dining hall of Casa Santa Marta. 

Of course, I am not a papal commentator nor a reporter and I feel no obligation to comment on any of this. But I do take myself to be an amateur Scripture scholar (I emphasize amateur); I have studied the Scriptures closely and taught Sacred Scripture at the high school level for eight years. When I read the pope’s rambling sermon against “obstinate rebels” who “resist change”, as reported by Vatican Radio on Monday, January 18th, I could not help but jump in, because there is a serious misuse of Scripture in the pope’s homily.

The pope was commenting on the Old Testament readings from 1 Samuel 15, in which Saul disobeys God in the matter of retaining sheep and oxen from the defeated armies of Amalek for sacrifice. God had commanded Saul to destroy the sheep and cattle of the Amalekites as things devoted to God for destruction. But Saul retains all the cattle for himself, claiming he intends to sacrifice them later. For this sin, God rejects Saul from being King of Israel. First, here is the pope’s commentary on the reading, as well as his insights as to its contemporary application:

“In the first reading, Saul was rejected by God as King of Israel because he disobeyed, preferring to listen to the people rather than the will of God. The people, after a victory in battle, wanted to offer a sacrifice of the best animals to God, because, he said, “It’s always been done that way.” But God, this time, did not want that. The prophet Samuel rebuked Saul: “Does the Lord so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord?”
“[This is] the sin of so many Christians who cling to what has always been done and do not allow others to change. And they end up with half a life, [a life that is] patched, mended, meaningless.” The sin, he said, is a “closed heart”, that “does not hear the voice of the Lord, that is not open to the newness of the Lord, to the Spirit that always surprises us.” This rebellion, says Samuel, is “the sin of divination,” and obstinacy is the sin of idolatry.

The text is taken from Vatican Radio. Notice that not all of the above is direct quotes from the pope; as is normal for the pope’s homilies, some pertinent phrases are quoted verbatim while much is paraphrased.

Note the way Francis interprets this passage. Saul has disobeyed God and lost the kingship. What was his disobedience? According to Francis, it was that Saul refuses to obey God by appealing to tradition. “It’s always been done that way”, is how the pope paraphrases Saul. “But God, this time, did not want that.” Saul is portrayed as obstinately clinging to a tradition that is now contrary to the will of God. God is attempting to innovate with a new command. Saul is not open to the “newness of the Lord.” He has closed himself off to the “surprises” of God and taken refuge behind the “meaningless” veil of custom. 

So according to Francis' exegesis, God is the innovator and Saul is the one stubbornly resisting change.

The problem is, the Scriptures suggest the exact opposite is true. If we read 1 Samuel 15, we see that Saul never once appeals to some custom of tradition to justify his disobedience. He simply makes up excuses. He says, “The people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (1 Sam. 15:15); a little later on he repeats his excuse: “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission which the Lord has sent me, I have brought Agag, king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal” (1 Sam. 15:20-21).

These are the only two justifications Saul offers for his behavior. He does not appeal to tradition, custom, or that “it’s always been done that way.” Thus, the dichotomy the pope attempts to create between Saul the traditionalist and God the innovator is not supported by the text.

But even if Saul does not appeal to any custom of sparing sheep and oxen for sacrifice, did such a custom in fact exist? If we look back to the immediate command Saul receives from God, we see that he is told by Samuel:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on way, when they came out of Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass’” (1 Sam. 15:2-3).

The question then becomes, is this command something new? Is this an innovation? A "surprise" of the Holy Spirit? Pope Francis says that God’s command regarding the devoted cattle was a novelty. Remember, he contrasts Saul’s obstinate clinging to tradition with the phrase “But God, this time, did not want that.” This implies that God’s command “this time” in 1 Sam. 15:2-3 to destroy the Amalekites to a man along with their cattle was something fundamentally new – a novel act of “the Spirit that always surprises us.”

Again, this implication simply cannot be borne out by the Scriptures. What God commanded here was not something new, some innovation or “newness.” In fact, God’s command to destroy the Amalekites in totu was part of a long-standing Israelite tradition known as herem warfare.

Herem warfare was the practice of utterly destroying an opposing people along with all their material goods as an offering to the Lord. The act of sacrifice is one of destruction; when a burnt offering is made, the animal is destroyed. In herem warfare, the entire people and all their possessions are “devoted” to the Lord – i.e., dedicated to destruction. It is a kind of holy warfare in the most literal sense, where the defeated people and their entire livelihoods are made into a collective offering to the Lord.

It is not the place here to debate the morality of herem warfare; moderns seem squeamishly troubled by it. I have an entire series of essays on it, beginning here. It is my point, however, to establish that it has a long biblical pedigree. It is instituted by God in Leviticus (Lev. 27:28-29), specifically commanded against the Canaanites in Deuteronomy (Deut. 7:1-6), and reaffirmed and practiced liberally throughout the Book of Joshua. After the fall of Jericho, Achan is put to death for failing to observe the herem by stealing a wedge of Babylonian gold (Josh. 7); herem is carried out in the Book of Judges (Judg. 1:8, 25); indeed, in Judges, the Angel of the Lord even rebukes the Israelites for not practicing herem warfare severely enough; see Judg. 1:28, 2:1-5. And, as we have seen, herem is again commanded in 1 Samuel 15:2-3.

This means the command of the Lord to utterly destroy the Amalekites and devote their cattle to destruction was certainly not something "new"; it was not "surprise" of God. This was a long tradition, going back to the time of the wandering and the giving of the Law. Saul would have certainly been aware of this. God was commanding nothing new in 1 Samuel 15; He was simply instructing Saul to be faithful to the tradition of herem warfare as handed down since the time of Moses.

Not only was herem warfare a tradition in general, but the mandated destruction of the Amalekites in particular. Deuteronomy 25:17-19 reads:

“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way, when you were faint and weary, and cut off at your rear all who lagged behind you; and he did not fear God. Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies round about, in the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget."

Far from being a "surprise", the command to eradicate the Amalekites was established many decades centuries beforehand. 

The implication of this is that Saul's sin is not an obstinate clinging to tradition, but rather an innovation! God had traditionally demanded the destruction of devoted cattle; He did so again in 1 Samuel 15:2-3. Saul was not the traditionalist but the innovator. He disobeyed the tradition of herem warfare by sparing those cattle committed to destruction. Samuel and God rebuke Saul not for stubbornly maintaining a tradition, but for deviating from it. This means Pope Francis actually got it entirely backward.

Given this, the pope's characterization of Saul as blindly clinging to custom makes absolutely no sense. A charitable interpretation of this embarrassing exegetical error would be that the pope innocently confused different stories; after all, the Church Fathers and many saints often quoted the Scripture from memory and frequently got stories confused or reported them incorrectly. That would be the charitable interpretation. The more pessimistic interpretation would be that Pope Francis simply doesn't know the Bible very well. I don't know the pope's mind and I am not going to assert that.

But I asserting that what he said on January 18th was simply incorrect from a textual standpoint and I defy anyone to prove otherwise.


Pope Francis and the Evangelicals [The Daily Register]

By Bishop Robert Barron | The whole Christian world has watched with fascination as Pope Francis, over the past several months, has reached out to evangelicals. Who can forget the mesmerizing iPhone video, filmed by the Pope's (late) friend Bishop...


Luther and the Holy Roman Church in His Own Words (Strong Language) - Guest-post [RORATE CÆLI]

Martin Luther and the Catholic Church

a guest-post by John R. T. Lamont

Luther's version of the "NON SERVIAM"(Gedaechtniskirche, Speyer)

A number of favourable comments about Martin Luther have been made by Catholic authorities to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. In particular, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, whose president is Cardinal Kurt Koch, has issued a Catholic-Lutheran ‘Common Prayer’ for 500 years of Reformation together with the Lutheran World Federation. This ‘Common Prayer’ includes the following prayers: ‘Help us to rejoice in the gifts that have come to the Church through the Reformation’, and ‘The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy’; ‘Thanks be to you O God for the many guiding theological and spiritual insights that we have all received through the Reformation.’ This is not of course an initiative of the magisterium of the Church, but it is as effective in forming the beliefs of Catholics as a magisterial statement, since it is presented in the media as a position of the Church. This initiative urgently requires comment and criticism from faithful Catholics.

The best way to criticise Luther is by citing his own words. Unfortunately these words are often very obscene and repugnant, and a strong stomach is needed to peruse them. It is regretted that the necessities of the times should make it important to recall these writings to the notice of Catholics.

The first element of Luther’s thought that should be addressed is his view of the Roman Catholic Church. His mature views on this topic were presented in a letter on the Roman Papacy, ‘Against the Roman Papacy, An Institution of the Devil’, that he published in 1545. The letter was illustrated with woodcuts of startling obscenity, which will not be reproduced here. The offensive and blasphemous remarks in the letter are of course deplored by Rorate Caeli - and are given here in illustration of the man now praised by Cardinals and high prelates.




Against the Roman Papacy, An Institution of the Devil


Martin Luther



The Most Hellish Father, St. Paul III, in his supposed capacity as the bishop of the Roman church, has written two briefs to Charles V, our lord emperor, wherein he appears almost furious, growling and boasting, according to the example of his predecessors, that neither an emperor nor anyone else has the right to convoke a council, even a national one, except solely the pope; he alone has the power to institute, ordain, and create everything which is to be believed and done in the church. He has also issued a papal bull (if one may speak like that) for about the fifth time; now the council is once again to take place in Trent, but with the condition that no one attend except his own scum, the Epicureans and those agreeable to him; whereupon I felt great desire to reply, with God’s grace and aid. Amen!
…. Meanwhile, we see and hear what a masterly conjurer the pope is. He is like a magician who conjures gulden into the mouths of silly people, but when they open their mouths they have horse dirt in them. So this shameful fop Paul III calls for a council now for the fifth time, so that anyone who hears the words must think he is serious. But before we can turn around, he has conjured horse dirt into our mouths, for he wants to have a council over which he can exercise his power, and whose decisions he could trample on. The very devil himself would thank him for such a council, and no one but the miserable devil, together with his mother, his sister, and his whoring children, pope, cardinals, and the rest of his devilish scum in Rome will get there. …
These three words, “free, Christian, German,” are to the pope and the Roman court nothing but sheer poison, death, devil, and hell; he cannot stand them, nor see or hear them. That’s the way it is! It is certain that he would rather let himself be torn to pieces and would rather become Turkish or devilish or whatever else would help him. …
This is the language of the see in Rome, so that when he grants a free council, you may henceforth also understand it in Roman: when they say “free,” it means captive” with us Germans; when they say “white,” you must understand “black”; when they say “the Christian church,” you must understand “the scum of all the scoundrels in Rome”; when they call the emperor a “son of the church,” it is as much as to say he is the most accursed man on earth, who they wish were in hell so that they would have the empire; when they call Germany the praiseworthy nation, it means the beasts and barbarians who are not worthy to feed on the pope’s dung, like the Italian Campanus (as one says) did when he had been in Germany (not to his disadvantage) and, on returning to the Italian frontier, turned his back on Germany, squatted, bared his behind, and said, “Aspice nudatas, Barbara terra, nates,” “Look here, you beasts, look up my ass.” …
Someone may think here that I am satisfying my own desire with such scornful, wounding, stinging words to the pope. O Lord God, I am far, far too insignificant to deride the pope. For over six hundred years now he has undoubtedly derided the world, and has laughed up his sleeve at its corruption in body and soul, goods and honour. He does not stop and he cannot stop, as St. Peter calls him in II Peter 2 [:14], “insatiable for sin.” No man can believe what an abomination the papacy is. A Christian does not have to be of low intelligence, either, to recognize it. God himself must deride him in the hellish fire, and our Lord Christ, St. Paul says in II Thessalonians 2 [:8], “will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his glorious coming.” I only deride, with my weak derision, so that those who now live and those who will come after us should know what I have thought of the pope, the damned Antichrist, and so that whoever wishes to be a Christian may be warned against such an abomination. …
Those in Rome have been practiced and well versed in such rascality and roguery for over four hundred years now, as one can see from the pope’s decretals and all the histories of emperors. Just look how the poor lawyers are plagued, patching, unifying, and smoothing the Roman rascality with glosses before they can give it any sort of shape; it is just as though a furrier patched up a bad pelt on which neither the skin nor the fur is any good, and which is moreover full of spit, pus, and excrement! …
If [the popes] have not been able to kill the emperors with treachery and every diabolical wickedness, it is nevertheless their definite intention, and their regret has always been that their bloodthirsty, murderous, evil intentions have been foiled and prevented. The descendants of the emperor Phocas, their founder and regicide, are, as was said, desperate, thorough arch rascals, murderers, traitors, liars, the very scum of all the most evil men on earth as is said in Rome itself. They embellish themselves with the names of Christ, St. Peter, and the church, even though they are full of all the worst devils in hell-full, full, and so full that they can do nothing but vomit, throw, and blow out devils! You will say that this is true when you read the histories of how they have treated the emperors. …
Until now we had to believe that the pope was the head of the church, the most holy, the savior of all Christendom. Now we see that he, with his Roman cardinals, is nothing but a desperate scoundrel, the enemy of God and man, the destroyer of Christendom, and Satan’s bodily dwelling, who, through him, only harms both church and state, like a werewolf, and mocks and laughs up his sleeve when he hears that such hurts God or man more of this later. …
And even if they would be reformed in a council which really is not possible and the pope and cardinals should promise in blood to observe it, it would still be wasted trouble and labor; they would only grow worse afterward than they were before, as happened after the Council of Constance. For since they believe that there is no God, no hell, no life after this life, and live and die like a cow, sow, or other animal, II Peter 2 [:12], it is to them ridiculous to keep seals and letters, and reform. That is why it would be best for the emperor and estates of the empire to let the blasphemous, abominable rascals and damned scum of Satan in Rome just go to the devil. …
Thus this pope of Sodomists, this founder and master of all sins, here wants to push sin and damnation off onto Emperor Charles, although he knows quite well that his rascally tongue lies abominably. And such accursed villains want to convince the world that they are head of the church, the mother of all churches, and masters of the faith. Why even if we were stones and wooden blocks, we could see by their works throughout all the world that they are lost, desperate children of the devil and also mad, crude asses in Scripture. Someone probably would like to curse them so that they might be struck down by lightning and thunder, burned by hellish fire, have the plague, syphilis, epilepsy, the plague of St. Anthony, leprosy, carbuncles, and all the plagues but these are all caresses, and God has long ago punished them with greater plagues, just like God’s despisers and blasphemers should be punished, Romans 1 [:26, 27], namely, that in sanity they have become so obviously mad and raving that they do not know whether they are or want to be male or female; they are not ashamed in the presence of women, and their mothers, sisters, and grandmothers are among those forced to see and hear such things of them, to their great distress. Shame on you, popes, cardinals, and whatever you are at the curia, that you are not afraid of the cobblestones upon which you ride, which would like to swallow you! …
The imperial laws have much to say about how to handle furious, insane, mad people. How much greater the need is here to put into stocks, chains, and prisons the pope, cardinals, and the whole Roman See, who have not become raving mad in the usual way, but who rage so horribly that at one time they want to be men, at another women, and never know at any one time when their mood will strike them. We Christians should nevertheless believe that such raving and lunatic Roman hermaphrodites have the Holy Spirit and are the heads, masters, and teachers of Christendom! But I must stop here, or save what I could write further against the papal briefs and bulls, for my head is weak, and I feel that I might not get everything said, and yet I still have not gotten to the points I had intended to make in this book. …
These extracts from the letter convey its message accurately, although the entire text (which is quite long) contains passages that are considerably more vulgar and obscene than those given here.
            In connection with Luther and Lutheranism, it is important to call attention to the fact that Cardinal Koch and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity have also recently issued a document on relations between Catholics and Jews, entitled ‘The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable’. Its stated goal is to contribute to ‘enriching and intensifying the theological dimension of Jewish-Catholic dialogue’. Like the document on Lutheranism, it has no magisterial authority, but has been presented as the official position of the Church. In the light of the Pontifical Council’s praise for ‘Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel of the righteousness of God’, it is opportune to recall Luther’s position on the Jews. Luther initially hoped that Jews would all convert to Lutheranism, and made some positive assertions about them, but when they declined to do so he changed his tune. His mature thought on Jews and Judaism is expressed in his work ‘On the Jews and their Lies’. Its main recommendations are as follows:
On the Jews and their Lies
Martin Luther
        What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming … I shall give you my sincere advice: 
         First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. … Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. … Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.  ... Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. … Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews.  … Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. … Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants. … In brief, dear princes and lords, those of you who have Jews under your rule: if my counsel does not please you, find better advice, so that you and we all can be rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews. …
        Now let me commend these Jews sincerely to whoever feels the desire to shelter and feed them, to honor them, to be fleeced, robbed, plundered, defamed, vilified, and cursed by them, and to suffer every evil at their hands -- these venomous serpents and devil’s children, who are the most vehement enemies of Christ our Lord and of us all. And if that is not enough, let him stuff them into his mouth, or crawl into their behind and worship this holy object. Then let him boast of his mercy, then let him boast that he has strengthened the devil and his brood for further blaspheming our dear Lord and the precious blood with which we Christians are redeemed. Then he will be a perfect Christian, filled with works of mercy for which Christ will reward him on the day of judgment, together with the Jews in the eternal fire of hell! 

The absurdity of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity issuing both these documents within a month of each other (Dec. 12th 2015 for the one on Lutheranism, Jan. 11th 2016 for the document on Catholics and Jews) is too patent to require comment.            


The Matthew 6:33 Principle [OnePeterFive]


Well, it’s already January 20th, and the good news is, we’re off to a roaring start. New articles, new authors, new topics, new podcasts (soon, soon), and a whole year ahead of us to grow and create and find new and better ways to share the beauty of the Catholic Faith and tradition with our audience.

The bad news is that after a fantastic fundraising round last month, donations are at their absolute lowest level since we started the website.

To date, we’ve raised only $790 this month, out of a goal of $10,000.

I operate on what I like to call the “Matthew 6:33 Principle” – “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We work hard to fight for God’s Kingdom and His Church every day. I personally consecrate this apostolate to the Immaculate Heart of Mary every morning. I remember it (and all of you) in our family rosary intentions at night.

All I can do is trust that He’ll meet our needs.

But I also know God isn’t a divine ATM. He uses instruments — instruments like you — to make things happen. As I’ve said so many times before, we need your help. We paid bills in December and January without sweating it, and that was the most amazing feeling I’ve had in a year. But the reality of being a small non-profit is back.

Meanwhile, we’ve been clocking between 10,000 and 20,000 visitors a day. This is where the math thing happens: “If everyone who read this today gave just $10…”

It’s true. But not everyone does. So if you can swing it, and want to help us do our work, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution right now.


Thank you as always for your support!

The post The Matthew 6:33 Principle appeared first on OnePeterFive.


Parent takes issue with pro-life display at Waukesha West, officials stand by it [The Badger Catholic]

WAUKESHA -- Is it free speech, or is it inappropriate for high school? A pro-life banner on the walls at Waukesha West High School is drawing criticism from at least one parent. But school officials are standing by the display -- even though it has been taken down.

David LaBorde, principal of Waukesha West says the poster generated no controversy, but one parent said she is upset the image was even considered for display at the school.

"I was surprised -- and then I was unhappy," Jill Vendette said.

Surrounded by hundreds of tiny paper hearts, the poster reads "Abortion stops 3,000 beating hearts every day."

Vendette's son took a photo of the display and said it was placed in the main hallway -- visible to students when they walk into the building.
continue at Fox6

HT Vicki


Common Core textbook salesperson – “I hate kids” [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

This came out last week, so maybe it’s old news, but, a lead saleswoman at Houghton Mifflin got caught saying some highly inconvenient – if likely all too true – things regarding Common Core, the textbook racket, and her feelings regarding children.  She was fired the same day this came out, but DANG:

A new undercover video caught public school teachers and a textbook saleswoman saying some pretty disparaging things about the Common Core standards.

The video, which was produced by James O’Keefe’s media activist group Project Veritas, mixes undercover footage with an explanation of the criticisms against the federal standards.

“I hate kids,” said Diane Barrow, West Coast Accounts Manager for textbook publishing company, Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt. “I’m in it to sell books, don’t even kid yourself for a heartbeat.”

“You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education do you? No,” she said. “They’re in it for the money. The fact that they have to align the educational standards is what they have to do to sell the books.”

She went on to criticize homeschool parents later in the video.

“Homeschoolers, I’m sorry, did you go to school to become a teacher? Then don’t teach your kids you know?” she said. [I’ll put my engineering degree up against a teaching degree any day]

Since the video was published Tuesday morning, Barrow has been fired from her job, the Daily Mail reported.[I’ll say this for our media saturated, instant-communication world: you can get yourself fired in a heartbeat.]

But that’s not all.  Another video was released by James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas on Monday, and it is almost as inflammatory:

It’s never about the kids,” is how Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt Strategic Account Manager Amelia Petties reveals how the textbook industry prioritizes profits over students……..

After admitting that Common Core isn’t about the educational welfare of children, Petties explained how lucrative Common Core has been for the textbook publishing companies, saying, “There’s always money in it.”

Petties also suggested that changing the name of Common Core may be helpful in making textbook publishers more money by saying, “And slapping a new name on it, which in my case, I hope they do…Let’s do it…I can sell a shit ton of training around whatever you’re calling it.” [My how this country has coarsened over the past 50 years]

Look, it’s not like you or I need hidden cam expose’s that get people fired to know that Common Core is a disaster. But it sure is interesting that figures promoting it are so brazen in their acknowledgement that this is just another money-making racket for the publishing industry and a cheap way for politicians to try to score points, whether it helps the kids or not (it doesn’t). And don’t forget the dumbification of America is a vital part of the left wing project to gradually turn this country into another Sweden, if not another Soviet Union.

But if you want to know more in detail what is wrong with Common Core, you can go to this article.  I imagine as a result of Common Core, homeschooling will only continue to grow in popularity, something the big publishing companies cannot stand (until they figure out a way to penetrate that market, too).


Can’t Make it to the March for Life? Then March from Home [The Daily Register]

By Marge Fenelon | Last year when I missed the March for Life, I swore I’d make sure I got there this year. Well, that’s not going to happen. The way the chips have fallen, I’ll be missing out on the March for Life this year as well. Or maybe...


Magister: Lutherans Given Communion in Rome after Papal Audience [OnePeterFive]


On his blog at l’Espresso, Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister relates the events of an ecumenical gathering happening in Rome this week. We’re still working on getting an official translation, but Google translate (with a little grammatical assistance from your editor) provides us with this:

“I ask myself: but we have the same baptism? If we have the same baptism we must walk together.”

That said, by the way, by Pope Francis, in a reply on 16 November to a Lutheran who had asked if she could take communion at Mass with her Catholic husband.

In a general audience on Wednesday, 20 January, the Pope has taken the same concept:

“At the center of the Lutheran Cathedral in Riga there is a baptismal font dating back to the twelfth century, to the time when Latvia was evangelized by St. Maynard. That font is an eloquent sign of a source of faith recognized by all Christians of Latvia, Catholics Lutherans and Orthodox. This origin is our common baptism … Sharing this grace creates an unbreakable bond between us Christians, so that, by virtue of baptism, we can be really all brothers … All, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, we form a a royal priesthood and a holy nation. ”

Francis this time took it further. Meanwhile, however, the Lutheran pastor from Rome, Jens-Martin Kruse, who had welcomed the visit of the Pope in his church on Nov. 16 and had heard the words, has already come to these conclusions:

“The pope has invited all the faithful to take responsibility before God, to decide according to their conscience if it is possible joint participation, between Catholics and Protestants, the Eucharist. There are no theological reasons why this is not so.”

Pastor Kruse said that in an interview to Zenit on 19 January. And on this very day in Rome, there are those who have gone from words to deeds.

On the morning of January 19, Francis gave an audience in the Vatican to a delegation from the Lutheran Church of Finland, led by a woman, Irja Askola, Bishop of Helsinki, accompanied by representatives of the minority Orthodox and Catholic bishops Ambrosius and Teemu Sippo.

But after the audience with the Pope, in the course of the liturgical celebrations that the delegation has officiated in Rome along with groups of faithful who came also from Finland, it happened during a Catholic Mass that communion was also given to the Lutherans.

This, at least, is what was reported by the Finnish Lutheran weekly “Kotimaa”, signaling the surprise of a member of the delegation, Samuel Salmi, bishop of Oulu, according to which the Catholic officiants knew very well to give communion to the Lutherans…

So, taking all that is said here, what do we know?

Magister begins by reaching back to the ecumenical event in November, wherein he strongly insinuated that a Lutheran woman could receive Holy Communion with her Catholic husband if her conscience and prayer led her to do so. You may recall that I wrote about this at the time it took place:

[T]he final paragraph gives us cause for much deeper concern, inasmuch as it indicates not just the pope’s thinking, but a program of action. Let’s look at the relevant section again:

I wouldn’t ever dare to allow this, because it’s not my competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. I don’t dare to say anything more.

In much of the commentary I’m seeing — commentary trying desperately to square the papal circle — the focus is on the first “dare”. The pope says he wouldn’t dare “allow this.” What is “this”? Permission for Lutherans to receive the Eucharist in Catholic churches. He says that it is “not my competence.”


The pope has not explicitly given permission to Lutherans to receive Communion. But — and this is a supersized “but” — he’s not telling them not to, either. In fact, he’s insinuating that it’s up to them. The final three sentences give the implicit permission to do just that:

“One baptism, one Lord, one faith.” Talk to the Lord and then go forward. I don’t dare to say anything more.”

Oh, but you must say something more, Holy Father! It is your solemn duty to do so. Good parents, whether they like it or not, have to say “no” to their children when they are doing something that will harm themselves. Even if the child really, really wants to do it.

Of course, we shouldn’t be too surprised by this, even if we find the reality of it rather shocking. We’ve already received plenty of warning that this is what he believes. We saw it in his favor for Kasper throughout the synodal process (and even in the statement above), along with his refusal to distance himself from the so-called “Kasper Proposal”. We saw it in his refusal to reassure the better part of a million Catholics who sent him the filial appeal. We saw it in his latest interview with Eugenio Scalfari, when Francis said, “the de facto appraisals are entrusted to the confessors, but at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask [to receive Communion]will be admitted.” We saw yet another signal in the recent article from Fr. Spadaro, close confidant of Pope Francis, in which he indicated that the Synod has left the door open to Communion for the divorced and remarried – an article which Vatican watchers believe is indicative of the mind of Francis on the topic.

Why am I speaking here about Communion for the divorced and remarried when the topic is Communion for Lutherans? Because it’s all of a piece. 1 Corinthians 11:28 makes it clear how we must approach Holy Communion: “Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” What Francis, Kasper, and others have been advocating is the idea that this examination is not necessary. That rather than being fearful that we “eat and drink judgment (or condemnation) against” ourselves if we receive the Eucharist unworthily, we should see it as the very means by which we may be strengthened on our “journey.” This is an outrageous form of utilitarianism, in which we use God — our first beginning and final end — to accomplish some other, lesser thing. If our worthiness to receive Him is treated as a matter of no importance, how can this be viewed as anything other than elevating the concerns of man — and man himself — above God?

Of course, this sort of humanism might produce other indicators – say, excessive concern for the material well-being of the poor, distribution of resources, or care for the environment – over and above concern for the salvation of souls.

Here now, Magister connects the same dots I laid out in November. When the pope gives the impression that it is okay for Lutherans who have a clear conscience about it to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church, they reach the conclusion that it’s okay for them to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.

In Internet-speak: obvious conclusion is obvious.

And that’s exactly what we have here. Look at Magister’s text again:

…the Lutheran pastor from Rome, Jens-Martin Kruse, who had welcomed the visit of the Pope in his church on Nov. 16 and had heard the words, has already come to these conclusions:

“The pope has invited all the faithful to take responsibility before God, to decide according to their conscience if it is possible joint participation, between Catholics and Protestants, the Eucharist. There are no theological reasons why this is not so.”

Now, to be clear: Jens-Martin Kruse was not, as far as I can tell from this report, present in Rome this week for the ecumenical gathering in question. He was not at the papal audience earlier today. But other Lutherans were. Lutherans who were under the impression that it was perfectly acceptable for them to receive Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass. Lutherans who received Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass from “officiants” (priests) who “knew very well to give communion to the Lutherans.”

The Holy Father was not there. He did not personally give communion to these Lutherans. The Mass in question was held some time after the papal audience. How connected the two were, in terms of those involved in each, is impossible to say from what has been reported.

But what is not impossible is to connect a line directly from the Holy Father’s remarks on November 16th to the open reception of Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass by Lutherans in Rome today.

Words matter. Implications matter. It is a total fallacy to believe that simply because some error isn’t explicitly stated that its presence, hinted strongly at but never fully proclaimed, it does no damage. Leading people to error even by insinuation is still giving scandal; if one engages in such behavior, the responsibility for the consequences are still theirs.

As a Vatican source told Edward Pentin back in November:

The Holy Father’s words have been causing widespread concern in Rome, leading some to go as far as to describe them as an attack on the sacraments. “The Rubicon has been crossed,” said one source close to the Vatican. “The Pope said it in a charming way, but this is really about mocking doctrine. We have seven sacraments, not one.”

We are on a trajectory that includes an official celebration by the Catholic Church, led by the pope, on the 500th anniversary of the deepest wound the Christian faith has ever suffered. We will jointly commemorate the arch-heresiarch, Martin Luther, along with his ideological descendants. What other ecumenical abuses will we endure as this date approaches?

We’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re not in Rome. Hell, we’re not even in Avignon.

This is almost certainly not the last we’ll hear on this issue. God spare us from what comes next.

The post Magister: Lutherans Given Communion in Rome after Papal Audience appeared first on OnePeterFive.


Lord, You Said There Would Be Wine [The Daily Register]

By Simcha Fisher | How can you tell a great work of art from a merely pleasant one? A great work of art never runs out. It can hang on your wall for years and years, and you'll still be struck, from time to time, with some new aspect you never...


Potiche asiatique [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

Fleur Pellerin (qui est ministre de la Culture, mais si) avait auditionné plusieurs candidats à la présidence de la Réunion des musées nationaux. A la suite de quoi elle en avait retenu deux : Olivier Poivre d’Arvor et Valérie Vesque Jeancard, qu’elle avait donc proposés.

Or c’est Sylvie Hubac qui a été nommée aujourd’hui en conseil des ministres.

Sylvie Hubac fait partie de la célèbre promotion Voltaire de l’ENA (la bande de potes qui occupe le pouvoir). Elle a été directrice de cabinet de François Hollande.

Ben non, Fleur Pellerin ne sert à rien. Mais elle s’occupe, quand même.


Is the Pope of Openness and Transparency, Tolerance and Mercy Real? Maybe Not! [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

Did Pope Francis Threaten the Authors of the 13 Cardinals Letter?

Sure sounds like it. In a court of law you can't convict anyone on circumstantial evidence and hearsay, but in view of the pope's style and the bizarre carryings on at the Vatican, it is entirely plausible that he believes himself to be the autocrat of the Church. Ironic, ain't it, since liberal churchmen are always talking about shared authority with the bishops? 


I've had many a liberal pastor who surrounded himself with church council laity with the appearance of their having a real say in the activities of the parish. The reality, however, was that these pastors were the most tyrannical I ever experienced. As long as a parishioner was pushing Father's agenda he got the green light, but let the K of C want to put up a memorial to the unborn or the parishioners want to promote sidewalk counseling at a local abortion mill and advertise in the bulletin and the long swords came out. Too divisive. 

Shall we recommit to praying for the pope, the magisterium, pastors, and all priests. They are under constant attack by the enemy. We need them and they need our prayers. Our Lady, Queen of the clergy, pray for them.


Nuptial Mass at the Throne - Madison, Wisconsin [New Liturgical Movement]

On January 2nd, I was blessed to be united in the Sacrament of Matrimony to my amazing wife. Not only that, but we were also doubly blessed by Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison being the celebrant at our Pontifical Nuptial Mass at the Throne, and witness our vows. I hope some of the pictures of the Nuptial Rite and Mass are edifying for readers! More of them can be found here. The music was as follows:

Ordinary: Messa da Cappella a quattro voci, 1641 (Monteverdi)
Propers: Deus Israel (Votive Mass Pro Sponsis)
Procession: O God Beyond All Praising (Tʜᴀxᴛᴇᴅ, arranged by Richard Proulx)
After Last Gospel: Alma Redemptoris Mater (sung by all)
Recession: How Shall I Sing that Majesty (Cᴏᴇ Fᴇɴ, arranged by Michael Mills)

Wedding procession with
the entrance of the bishop

The bishop receives our vows as the MC holds the ritual book.

Nuptial blessing following the reception of vows

The sacred ministers bowing for the confiteor during the prayers
at the foot of the altar
The bishop, reading the introit and kyrie at the throne
Epistle chanted by the Subdeacon

The bishop, being approached by the deacon, about to give
him a blessing for the proclamation of the gospel

The gospel, chanted by the deacon

Homily delivered by Fr. Eric Bergman,
of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter

Sacred ministers going to the altar for the offertory

Bishop praying at the offertory

Incensation of the altar at the offertory

Incensation of the seminarians in choro

Two cantors chanting the communion antiphon

Improvising at communion

The assistant priest distributing communion to the faithful

Final Pontifical blessing


A few thoughts on homeschooling, parishes, and family “failure” [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

I guess there was quite a bit of coverage I missed last week on a piece posted to Life Site News regarding children of homeschooling Catholic parents not turning out the way their parents intended.  A corollary piece appeared here at Liturgy Guy that argued that raising holy kids requires more than just a homeschooling family, it requires a holy, traditional parish.

Both are well-written and thoughtful pieces.  If you haven’t read them yet, they are well worth your time.  I am not going to excerpt either, but instead, simply add my own thoughts on the matter in a somewhat scattershot manner.

First, I agree that no matter how much one tries to be holy and faithful and turn out kids who are similar, having kids that fall away and embrace the world is always a possibility.  We exist in a culture today that is a veritable sewer, there are so many ways for kids to fail, and I think we all know certain “black sheep” who have always seemed hell bent to do just the opposite of everyone else in a family, and who seem to glory in infantile rebellion.

Having said that, I did notice several things from the list of ways in which kids might have a meltdown, and several things struck me.  All of them involved things that seem to be at least controllable, if not largely preventable.  Before I get into that, however, the questions below are not an attack on anyone’s parenting, we all do the best we can and we all have different circumstances.  You might consider them sanity checks stemming from the LSN post:

How can kids get into porn on the internet if you have a really strict blocker/reporting system like Covenant Eyes?

Why do your high school kids (or younger) “need” to be on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tinder, or any other social media?

Do your kids really need a smart phone with texting and all the rest?

Kids are not fully mature at 18. Does it make sense then to send them off to secular or even nominally Catholic colleges (or even really Catholic colleges) where they will be totally on their own for the first time?  Why not have them live at home for at least the first year or two and attend a local college, if that is an option?  Is college even necessary for most kinds who are not going into business, hard science, engineering, etc?  What about vocational programs?  Do you know how valuable a one year class in Pro/E, Solidworks (MCAD), or Allegro (ECAD) is?

Are you really monitoring your kid’s friends?  Do you know what they get up to?

Regarding the second link above, I strongly recommend finding a traditional parish if at all possible, and involving the family exclusively in that parish. There is a massive difference between a deliberately, specifically traditional parish, and one that offers the occasional TLM or a Novus Ordo parish.  It is literally night and day, especially in terms of the degree of devotion to the Faith, the virtue of the children to whom your children will be exposed, the general prevailing moral standard, the catechesis received, and perhaps most importantly, the synergistic effect that comes from all these things and more taken together in toto.  Surely kids do flake out from homeschool trad families, too, but the crashes tend to be much less severe, and occur less frequently.

But there are dangers even there.  I have observed that traditional Catholics tend to be very much Type A personalities.  There is more than a little “my way or the highway” going on.  Some of this is on matters of import, some of it is not.  So just as a sort of check your motives exercise, I think it important to consider from time to time whether one’s manner of homeschooling and child-rearing is really about turning out holy kids, or controlling your environment?  The latter is far more likely to foster rebellion than the former.  Kids do need to be able to express their own individuality.  Suppressing that in a heavily regimented home environment can create pressure that could lead to an explosion later.  I’ve seen that more than once.

Do some kids need to feel like they are rebelling? I say that in this sense……there are people who are simply contrarian.  For whatever reason, they feel a need to show they are somehow different, better, smarter, whatever, than the status quo around them.  Is it better to permit some contained rebellion than to risk a total meltdown later?

A kid going very far into rebellion does not mean failure.  Look, as far as my parents knew, I was purt’ near the “perfect child,” I made straight A’s, I never (substantially) got into trouble with the law, I did “date” probably a little more, ah….aggressively….than they would have preferred, but there were no accidents or crises.  I never got in trouble at school, I worked various jobs, etc.  But partly to blow off steam from much self-induced pressure, and partly simply because I really, really liked it, little did they know, but I got blitzed pretty much every Friday and Saturday night from age 14 on.  I was pretty wild, and had some wilder friends.  We “garage hopped,” stealing things from open garages at night (mostly beer), we drank, we drove like wild men, we fought, we had huge gatherings dang near every week in the most unlikely spot imaginable……our senior high parking lot. We got busted by cops many times who inexplicably never took us home or to jail. While I had the discipline to study and apply myself scholastically just about every moment I wasn’t drinking or working, my friends would crush two liters of Sun Country wine coolers (remember those?) at lunch, smoke out, and even got into much harder things as high school wound down.  But every single one of those guys are now happily married, responsible adults with families and professional jobs.  They aren’t practicing Catholics, to be sure, but they weren’t then, either.

The point is not to recount my “glory years.”  They weren’t glorious, they were stupid and I got lucky 1,000 times over, and not just with regard to my parent’s image of me.  I nearly died on several occasions, including a 110 mph wipeout on Plano Parkway just before starting college.  The point, however, is that what looks like failure at 16 or 19 or even 27 may not be look so bad a few years later. One of those friends who were most wild got his girlfriend pregnant at age 19.  They got married and he finished school.  They have five kids and are still together.  He is very successful, materially.  Conversely, what looks like success at 18 may not turn out that way in the long run.

Some people just have to learn the hard way.  Some people, like me, must endure much self-induced misery before coming to the conclusion that all that “fun” wasn’t so great.  So never give up, and never assume that just because you’ve “lost one” that all the others are going to turn out similarly, or that the lost sheep will never return.  The school of hard knocks is very painful, but also very effective.

I’ll say a bit more.  In my experience, the acorn don’t fall very far from the tree.  That is to say, I am generally amazed at how similarly many of my now adult friends from childhood resemble their parent’s behavior.  Now, in the cases I’m thinking of, that’s not always ideal, but it should give hope to homeschooling parents afflicted with a rebellious child.  They may be rebellious now, but odds are they’ll settle down and wind up being more like you than  you imagine possible right now when they hit their 30s or so.

Perhaps the above is obvious. I hope it is not offensive.  This is a subject I think about a lot.  And I worry that sometimes our balance isn’t quite right.  The thing is, what works beautifully for one or several kids may not work well for all.  They’re all different.  And when you have a bunch of kids it can be hard to tailor the environment exactly to maximize success (a holy soul) in each one.  So I pray a lot about that, and hope that any mistakes we make God will correct or overcome through Grace.

It’s not easy, and it’s only going to get harder.  There are so many temptations in the world, our kids will hear so many voices that tell them we are crazy, extreme, reactionary, etc., and many of those voices will come from within the Church (another huge reason to find a traditional parish!).  And souls simply sometimes fall into sin in spite of our every best effort. It does happen.

The key thing is to never, ever give up.  Never stop trying.  Always love and pray for your kids, even if they repudiate you in the most hurtful manner possible.  Some may never come back, but some will.  It may take a long time, but they will.


New Study Finds More Teens and Pre-Teens Turning to Porn [The Daily Register]

By Kathy Schiffer | American teens are watching porn and seeking it out more than any previous generation. According to a report released January 20 by the Barna Group, today's teens and young adults are exposed younger, are viewing more, and are...


Koslowski: How to Actively Participate in Mass [The Badger Catholic]

Are we meant to be spectators at Mass, simply watching and listening to what is happening? On the contrary, “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, §14). But what does “fully conscious and active participation” mean? Is the Church asking everyone to find a “role” at Mass, either reading, serving or distributing Holy Communion?

Quite the opposite. Here is what the Church means when she mandates that all the faithful actively participate in the liturgy.

Immediately following the Second Vatican Council, many sought to implement this principle of “active participation” but few knew exactly what it meant. At the time various bishops, priests and laity “misunderstood [it] to mean something external, entailing a need for general activity, as if as many people as possible, as often as possible, should be visibly engaged in action” (Spirit of the Liturgy, 171).
continue at Philip Kosloski

Be careful though, we been told the greatest sins of participation at Mass are "stoic expressions."



“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced." - Cardinal Wojtyla 1976 [Abbey Roads]

Satellite images confirm that the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

St Elijah's stood on a hill near the northern city of Mosul for 1,400 years.

But analysts said the images, obtained by the Associated Press, suggested it had been demolished in late 2014, soon after IS seized the city.

A Catholic priest from Mosul warned that its Christian history was "being barbarically levelled". - BBC


Pope Francis, the Divinization of Change, and the New World Order [AKA Catholic]

By: Randy Engel Introduction According to Vatican Radio, on Monday, January 18, 2016, the day after Pope Francis’ visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome, the pontiff delivered a homily at his daily Mass in which he condemned Christians who are of “closed heart” and resisters to “change,” calling them “obstinate rebels” and “idolaters.” Stopping short of excommunicating Christians “who obstinately cling to what has always been done and who do not allow others to change,” it was not until the last paragraph of his talk in the pew-less, kneeler-less chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, that Francis attempted to more »


Even Though the Pope Doesn't Want it, Throngs Will Oppose Gender-Ideology in Rome [The Eponymous Flower]

(Rome) Italy is currently experiencing what France experienced 2012/2013, and is gearing up for another popular demonstration against the introduction of "gay marriage" and the gender ideology in schools and kindergartens. The rally will be held, although Pope Francis gave to understand that he which does not wish it and has tasked papal Adjudants in the Bishops' Conference to  pressure against the rally. The question is of European importance, because the issues are the same everywhere. After the defeat in France, such should be prevented in Italy. Yesterday, the date for the rally was announced. In only twelve days, the organizers are hoping for a mass mobilization. 
On January 26, the Senate of the Italian Parliament starts debate on a bill, the DDL Cirinnà, named after a left democratic senator.

The rally from the June 2015

On 20 June 2015,  a million people gathered for  the "Family Day" in Piazza San Giovanni in front of the Lateran Basilica. The traditional parade ground of Italy's political left has been filled that day by Catholics and other people of good will. Under the slogan "Hands off our children," it protested vociferously against government plans to attack marriage through the equality of homosexual relations  who is given a special position in the legal system and thus to cut at the roots of the state. The rally participants have also said no to the introduction of gender ideology in education, early sexualization of  the toddlers in kindergarten, homosexualizing and alienating the family, consisting of father, mother and children.
Now a second rally is to follow in order to give Parliament a clear message from the people that they do not want these sociopolitical experiments. All opinion polls show clear majorities against the objectives of the bill. In 2007, the first rally opposed the then left-wing government making an attempt to introduce "gay marriage".

French experience

The "Family Day" on June 20, 2015

Since the assumption of power by President Hollande in 2012, France casts its shadow on Italy. While in France millions of people were against the legalization of "gay marriage" in the streets, the socialist minority imposed their will with a parliamentary majority. The government even set the police force against them..
The organizers in Italy want to learn from the French experience. Appropriate contacts in France have been long in place to draw up a "European Anti-gender plan" like Filippo Savarese, the spokesman of Manif pour tous-Italy and Generation Family in October 2015, said in a meeting at the Roman Teatro Adriano. "The school is our ally, because we are not fighting against the school, but also for the school," said Savarese.

"Each prevalent government tends to suppress the idea of ​​human nature, because it represents the source of a possible revolt"

On this occasion, the philosopher Diego Fusaro, Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of San Raffaele in Milan, whose research focuses Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci and postmodernism said:
"The gender theory is one of the ideologies in the Marxian sense, which claims   something as natural which is anything but natural. In particular, the gender ideology serves to deny the identity of man and woman, it is alleged as a purely cultural decision where the biological element disappears in favor of a purely social element. In this way, the gender ideology has neutralized human nature and thus a possible opposition to the world of techno capitalism. Because if there is no human nature, it is also not possible to assert that human nature will be hurt or killed. Camus wrote about this in  'Man in Revolt'  in a very clear manner. Any form of domination tends today to suppress the idea of human nature, because it represents the source of a possible revolt "
Manif pour tous-Italy was formed in July 2013. Today, the association has more than 80 local groups.  Ludovine de la Rochère, the President of the French civil rights movement Manif pour tous said in Rome:
"Slowly, slowly there arises in European countries and in the world, associations to tackle  gender ideology, because it is the origin of all questions that arise today on the identity of man and woman, the husband-wife relationship, for marriage and to provide for the transmission of life. This ideology has very serious implications. But slowly, slowly associations are forming and begin collaborating and so it is - as you say - the front is prepared.

Print the pastors against the rally

The organizing committee of the "Family Day"

Unlike France, the Italian organizers are, however, under an additional pressure. In Italy, where the bishops have more weight than in France,  since Pope Francis has issued an order to avoid conflict   on the topic of "homosexualization" and "gender ideology" with the state and other social groups. In other words, Catholics should capitulate and leave the field to other forces.
Already in matters regarding Manif pour tous in France, Pope Francis had distanced himself.  While all kinds of people were coming in and out of  the Vatican, it was only after some back and forth and considerable delay that a mini-meeting was agreed to. Ludovine de la Rochère was invited on June 12, 2014 to morning Holy Mass in the Vatican guesthouse Santa Marta. Subsequently, he was able, in addition to numerous others present, to speak very briefly to the Pope.
The Vatican avoided putting the encounter into a picture. From the Vatican Radio -Section it was only reported in French and Italian, even though the baroness has demonstrated how alive the Catholic world, whose obituary is often being happily read, is in reality. Only the Czech section of Radio Vatican published a photo that shows Ludovine de la Rochère at the side of Pope Francis.  Pope Francis'  inclination to leftist thinking goes deeper. That the French protest  Manif pour tous goes back to the initiative of a traditional Catholic,   is likely to cause Pope Francis in any case, not have been more sympathetic.  That's how it looks in Italy. Traditional Catholics are at the forefront of the Catholic rebellion against the ideological tutelage of the state. In France, as in Italy, it was found that they can move a million, transcending well above the traditional circles. Roberto de Mattei, and before him, Mario Palmaro, explained this phenomenon  by the greater intellectual and spiritual alertness of tradition against the "weak thinking" other Catholic circles. Strong thinking moves and the Christian message has the strongest thinking at all.

"For us is the struggle is for God's victory"

Messa in Latino mobilized for "Marcia di San Giovanni" (March of St. John), an allusion to the venue iin front of  the Lateran Basilica and  rallying the resistance against church hierarchs rally with the slogan:
For us the struggle is for God's victory.
Regardless of who participates, whether atheist, traditionalist or Neocatechumen:. For the family of a man and a woman
It doesn't matter who it was who has betrayed, even if he dresses violet or purple, or whatever color whatsoever.
Irrespective of the outcome of the fight.
We will try to be there.
It's a word that the writer and journalist Costanza Mirana (Rai Vaticana, Avvenire, Il Timone, Il Foglio) has taken up:

"Stop Gender - We defend our children," June 20, 2015

"This event  will be really crucial. We can change the history of our country and I do not exaggerate when I say that we can even change the history of the Western world: if Italy stops the law, which  gay propaganda calls the "law of civil rights", but in reality will legitimize disordered desires, we will put a face to the European Heart. Then we will stop the loss of humanity in the cradle of Western civilization, as we bring back the sense of reality and say: The fact that the men are begotten by a father and a mother, can not be overturned except at a  terrifying price, to make the most vulnerable  pay for it and to put the very existence of humanity in jeopardy. We  say,  from the perspective of the State, every adult is free among his peers to love whom He wills, and live out his sexuality, because that is his private thing that everyone must answer for himself, but never will this be a constitutive principle of our civilization to transform desires into law. And we say that the state institutions to support those and are obliged to acknowledge those that put thsemselves at the service of life and therefore the future, because they make an objective contribution for the common good, by giving life to children, giving them a stable and safe haven   in which they can grow.
It is time to change the story. Alone we can achieve nothing, we are, according to applicable standards a 'run-down' people, we have no media, no television on our side, not even support from those whom one would expect. We have none of those to help up there, who help us, give us one euro, devise strategies and pave the way for us. But we are not alone, we have enjoyed the company of our brothers, moving friendships that are closer in the new trenches - and we have a powerful ally. For us it is to fight. For God goes the victory."
The rally participants will gather on 30 January from 10 O'clock in the Circus Maximus.  At 12 O'clock the march towards Piazza San Giovanni starts to move.  At 2 O'clock the final rally starts in Piazza San Giovanni in front of the Lateran Basilica.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: La Croce / mil (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred


Paul's Pagan Quotations II [Siris]

Paul appears to quote Epimenides twice. The first is in the sermon attributed to him in Acts 17, right before quoting Aratus:

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.’ [NIV]

The second time is in Titus, talking about the people of Crete and Titus's responsibilities with regard to them:

For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This saying is true. [NIV]

Both of these quotations are from one source, the Cretica. It has not really survived, but we do have speculative stitching-togethers of bits and pieces of evidence by various scholars. (In what follows, as with the rest of the series, I am less interested in anything scholarly than in simply pointing out sources accessible online where anyone who wants to do so can make a start at looking at the matter more closely.)

It has been noted for a very long time that the Epistle to Titus is not the only source talking about Cretan liars, and one source in particular seems to be quite explicit about what the lie was that got everyone's dander up, Callimachus's Hymn to Jupiter:

The Cretans, prone to fasehood, vaunt in vain,
And impious! built thy tomb on Dicte's plain;
For Jove, th' immortal king, shall never die,
But reign o'er men and Gods above the sky.

The Cretans, in other words, claimed that the tomb of Zeus was in Crete. Other nations settled for claiming that they were the birthplace of gods; the Cretans had the temerity to claim that they were the grave of the highest god himself! This is mentioned in passing in a number of other sources. It shows up, for instance, in Lucian's Philopseudos:

But when it comes to national lies, when one finds whole cities bouncing collectively like one man, how is one to keep one's countenance? A Cretan will look you in the face, and tell you that yonder is Zeus's tomb.

You have to admire the boldness of it. Well, actually, you don't, and throughout the Roman world people were very far from admiring it.

In the early twentieth century, J. Rendel Harris noted a passage in a Christian commentary on Acts that might give more context for the original quotation:

A grave have fashioned for thee, 0 holy and high One,
the lying Kretans, who are all the time liars, evil beasts, idle bellies;
but thou diest not, for to eternity thou livest, and standest;
for in thee we live and move and have our being.

If something like this is really the original context, even if it has been distorted by time, one can see immediately why it might have stood out to Paul.

We can even add another layer to all of this. If we look at Diogenes Laertius's Life of Epimenides, we find this passage:

And when he was recognized he was considered by the Greeks as a person especially beloved by the Gods, on which account when the Athenians were afflicted by a plague, and the priestess at Delphi enjoined them to purify their city; they sent a ship and Nicias the son of Niceratus to Crete, to invite Epimenides to Athens; and he, coming there in the forty-sixth Olympiad, purified the city and eradicated the plague for that time; he took some black sheep and some white ones and led them up to the Areopagus, and from thence he let them go wherever they chose, having ordered the attendants to follow them, and wherever any one of them lay down they were to sacrifice him to the God who was the patron of the spot, and so the evil was stayed; and owing to this one may even now find in the different boroughs of the Athenians altars without names, which are a sort of memorial of the propitiation of the Gods that then took place.

So there were altars in Athens that were "without names" that came about because Epimenides, reputed for prophecy, let sheep go in the Areopagus to determine where they should be placed ; and we have Paul mentioning altars to the unknown God, and quoting Epimenides in a speech in the Areopagus. This seems like considerably more than coincidence.


4 Ways Catholics Should Be More Like the Freeway Cowboys [OnePeterFive]

The interview of some Lubbock, TX cowboys following a worlds-colliding kind of incident with a few of their steer has been making the Internet rounds. The men captured two runaway cattle that had escaped their ranch and were on somewhat of a rampage through the city and on its surrounding freeway, including an unannounced visit to an attorney’s office downtown.

The attraction of the interview for viewers is not simply the discussion of the curious incident itself, but the thoroughly likeable and appealing character of the ranchers. Catholics interested in attracting people to what has become a curiosity in our culture – authentic practice of the Faith – could learn a few lessons from them.

    1. Get your priorities right. Cowboy No. 1 explains that he was sitting in class, “an important class, mind you,” when he received word about the runaway steer. One doesn’t imagine it took him long to jump up and grab a lasso. Are we as adept at weighing the relative importance of things? The ranchers knew the cattle were a priority over the class. Aren’t there many occasions where we as Catholics have lost this gut instinct for our priorities? Do I spend more time following the latest controversies online than I do in prayer? Or, which is more important to me – making sure the priest knows I disagree with him or resolving to pray for him privately?
    2. Be courteous and helpful. Watching the interview, one has the impression that the cowboys consented to it – and made it entertaining – in part to help out the journalist. They didn’t simply answer questions in a stiff, efficient way, but knew that telling their story as a story would help people enjoy and understand it better. And who can miss the young men’s use of “Ma’am” when addressing the reporter? “Everybody talks like that down there,” some people remark. Well, why? Because their parents taught them that that’s the polite way to speak. Courtesy is a human virtue that falls under the cardinal virtue of justice. Being polite gives the other person his due as an image of God. That goes for blog posts and comment boxes, too.
    3. Explain stuff. Sure Cowboy No. 2 got a little Inside Baseball with his tech talk about lassoing. But when he caught on that the journalist had no clue what he was referring to he slowed down and gave a quick show-and-tell. And now we all know what a hondo knot is. Was he condescending in his explanation? No, he simply shared what he knew, as it had once been shared with him when he was ignorant (I’m thinking age 2).
    4. Show your joy. The cowboys love what they do. They don’t use their special knowledge and somewhat countercultural lifestyle as a ledge off which they can look down on others. They don’t have to “try” to show their joy either – it’s a natural part of loving the life they have. If we don’t love the life we have in Christ in a way that radiates joy to others, we need to ask ourselves why.

My favorite part of the interview is actually something the journalist says toward the end of the video. She’s so attracted to the cowboys’ obvious good nature, confidence, and joy that she blurts out, “I want to be all of your friends!” When’s the last time someone said that about you and your Catholic posse?

The post 4 Ways Catholics Should Be More Like the Freeway Cowboys appeared first on OnePeterFive.


Über das Zusammenleben der Religionen im Mittleren und Nahen Osten nach dem Krieg. [Beiboot Petri]

Matteo Matzuzzi  schreibt bei IlFoglio über das jetzige und das zukünftige Verhältnis der Religionen im Mittleren und Nahen Osten zueinander. Sein sachkundiger Zeuge ist Pater P. Pizzaballa, Franziskaner und Angehöriger der Kustodie des Hl. Landes, seit jeher Ordensprovinz der Franziskaner, mit tiefen Kenntnissen der Situation. Hier geht´s zum Original: klicken

Der Kustos des Heiligen Landes zu Il Foglio "Wir werden nicht verschwinden, hier sind die Christen tief im Glauben verwurzelt." 


"Rom: wenn der Krieg im Mittleren Orient zuende ist, weil er früher oder später enden wird, wird das Zusammenleben von Christen und Muslimen in jenen Ländern sehr schwierig werden" sagt Pater Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Kustos des Hl. Landes, am Rande einer von AVSI und Oasis organisierten Begegnung in der Universität La Sapienza in Rom zum Thema "Christen im Mittleren Orient und erzwungene Migration. Eine epochale Veränderung."

                      Pater Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Kustos des Hl. Landes

"Ein sehr schwieriges Zusammenleben, aber ein notwendiges, weil die Christen bleiben werden und die Muslime auch. 
Also müssen sie sich gezwungenermaßen miteinander in Beziehung setzen, das wird sehr schwer werden, weil das, was in diesen Jahren passiert ist, das Bewußtsein aller verletzt hat. Wir werden viel Zeit-mehrere Generationen- brauchen um die Art Zusammenleben wieder zu finden, die es vor dem Krieg gab," bemerkt Pizzaballa, der auch das Verhalten der muslimischen Autoritäten des Vorderen Orients- und besonders ihr schweigendes Zuschauen bei den Verfolgungen der Minderheiten kommentiert. 

"Ich habe von "schüchternen" Reaktionen gesprochen. Und ja - sie waren sehr schüchtern. Sicherlich nicht alle, es hat auch lobenswerte Ausnahmen gegeben, die auf gewisse Weise Hoffnung machen. Aber es ist nötig, zu erkennen, daß was wahr ist, wahr ist und daß die Erzählungen verschieden sind und jeder die Ereignisse auf verschieden Weise liest. Gleichzeitig ist es eine objektive Feststellung, daß die islamischen Führer des Mittleren Ostens sehr zurückhaltend geblieben sind bei der Verurteilung der aktuellen Abscheulichkeiten."

Was die Präsenz der Christen in Syrien und im Irak betrifft- so ist deren Zahl schon auf eine marginale Randziffer reduziert worden. Der Kustos des Heiligen Landes ist überzeugt, daß "die Zahlen nicht bald auf das Vorkriegs-Niveau zurückkehren. Wir werden wenige sein, aber wir verschwinden nicht", sagt er und schaut darauf, was bereits in der Vergangenheit passier ist:
"Es hat in der Geschichte immer Höhen und Tiefen gegeben, es genügt an den Völkermord an den Armeniern von vor 100 Jahren zu denken. Heute müßten wir sagen, daß es nachdem , was vorgefallen ist,  keinen Armenier mehr in dieser Zone gibt, aber im Gegenteil- ihre Zahl ist gewachsen."
"Das Hauptproblem" -unterstreicht Pizzaballa- "ist, daß sich im Mittleren Orient Politik und Religion vermischen und deshalb das religiöse Element einen Kanal für die Spannungen bildet, die einen politischen und wirtschaftlichen Charakter haben.  Wenn das religiöse Element instrumentalisiert wird, macht es Verhandlungen praktisch unmöglich, weil man über Religion nicht diskutiert." 
Und dennoch kommt die Hoffnung aus den Glaubenszeugnissen der Christen, den Opfern des Konfliktes. Ein Glaube der immer stärker wird-trotz der Verfolgung.
"Es scheint paradox zu sein, aber das ist es nicht. In diesem schwierigen Augenblick kommt der beste und gesündeste Teil hervor, der in uns ist," ergänzt unser Gesprächspartner, 
"ich spreche von der christlichen Gemeinschaft, aber das gilt auch im Allgemeinen. Ich habe das in Aleppo gesehen und in vielen anderen christlichen Dörfern und Städten in der Hand von Jabhat und al Nusrah. Ich habe wunderbare Beispiele und phantastische Zeugnisse dafür gesehen, daß ihre Präsenz hier nicht verschwinden wird. Diese Christen sind tief im Glauben verwurzelt und nur die Wenigsten haben den Glauben aufgegeben."

Quelle: Il Foglio, Matteo Matzuzzi

                                                         Christus nobiscum state

Man kann die Glaubensstärke dieser Christen im Augenblick der Verfolgung nur bewundern und sie den Unterhöhlungsbemühungen um sich selbst kreisender europäischer Theologen und Prälaten gegenüber stellen, die die Kirche gar nicht schnell genug dekontruieren können. Ob sie diese Glaubensstärke auch auf Bildungsmangel und archaisches Denken zurückführen würden wie im Falle Afrikas?


Catholic University Honors Pro-Abort Sen. Cory Booker, Says He Reflects School’s ‘Core Values’ [Cardinal Newman Society All Posts]

Felician University, a Catholic institution in Rutherford, N.J., honored pro-abortion U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey with an award on Monday, saying Booker’s “personal mission in life … embodies the mission and values of the University's Felician/Franciscan heritage — compassion, justice and peace, and finding goodness in all God's creation.”

Booker was awarded Felician University’s 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award, an award “created by Felician University to honor Dr.King and to do so by recognizing individuals who strive to fulfill Dr. King's dream of equality and justice,” according to a University press release.

The University website lists “Respect for Human Dignity” as its first core value, stating that it maintains “reverence for and commitment to promoting and protecting the dignity of persons.” 



Muslims Officially Invite Pope Francis to Visit Rome's Grand Mosque [The Daily Register]

By Edward Pentin | A delegation of Italian Muslims today personally invited Pope Francis to visit the Grand Mosque of Rome, thought to be the largest mosque in the Western world. The Holy Father thanked the delegation for the invitation, presented...


Successful reference and the Flying Spaghetti Monster [Zippy Catholic]

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a reference to God. Indeed that is its very point: to craft a blasphemous and silly concept of God as a rhetorical way of trying to justify disbelief in Him. It wouldn’t be blasphemy if it weren’t referencing God.

I think there are a lot of people who are successfully referencing God who will be, in the long run, quite surprised at the consequences of their success in referencing God.


Chicago's bitter cold doesn't stop march against 'culture of death' [CNS Top Stories]

IMAGE: CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World

By Joyce Duriga

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Dana Mentgen donned six layers of clothing and made the trek downtown to Chicago's Federal Plaza Jan. 17 because he felt it was important to witness for life against the "culture of death."

"I think the majority of people are pro-life. It's just that we've been silent too long. We have to speak out," said Mentgen, a parishioner at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Old Mill Creek.

Mentgen was one of thousands of "pro-life popsicles," as organizers called them, who came from around the Midwest and braved below-zero wind chills to participate in the 11th annual Chicago March for Life. About 3,000 people from around the Midwest turned out for the event. Besides Illinois, pro-lifers came from Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Michigan.

Because of the extreme cold, organizers condensed the speaker portion of the event.

Those who turned out for the march carried signs with pro-life messages in English and Spanish and listened to speakers including Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich; the Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago; and abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.

"No child should be told that there is no room for them. The womb should not be the child's tomb," Archbishop Cupich told the crowd. "We just celebrated Christmas, the season that features the birth of a child, a season of new life and new beginning. A child, like no one else, creates and fosters hope in our world. We need to make room for the child just as we need the hope a child brings. What we do today is about making room for hope in our world."

Rev. Brooks called on the crowd to carry the pro-life message to the African-American community, which he said is unfairly targeted by Planned Parenthood. The African-American community makes up 13 percent of the U.S. population yet has a third of all abortions, he said.

Ohden shared how she was aborted and left to soak in a burning saline solution for five days -- a process intended to kill her. Her mother was forced to undergo the abortion against her will. Ohden called for support for women who feel forced to have abortions and said pro-lifers aren't just "pro-baby" but "pro-women."

Once again, youth from St. John Cantius' Crusaders for Christ brought their trademark yellow "LIFE" balloons and drumline to the event. The noticeable group of young people wearing yellow sweatshirts with the word "life" printed on the back walked to Federal Plaza from St. Ignatius College Prep, where they participated in a morning rally and Mass for youth sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago's Respect Life Office. About 200 young people attended the event, a first for the pro-life office.

A new addition to the Crusaders this year was a yellow Chevrolet Super Sport Roadster owned by Markie and Steven Works from St. Peter Parish in Volo. The truck matched the yellow balloons with black magnets spelling out the world "life" on the trunk and doors.

After hearing the speakers, participants marched through the Loop past City Hall and the James R. Thompson Center, which houses state offices. Organizers said the route was intended to represent the three levels of government being urged to restrict abortion: federal, state and municipal.

It was the first Chicago March for Life for Jane Wytaniec, who attends Mass at Marytown in Libertyville. She participated in a pre-march Mass and brunch benefiting Aid for Women, a non-profit that offers counseling and housing for pregnant women. That event was one of several Masses and events held around the city that day, which was associated with the march.

"All my life I wanted to be involved in this but for some reason it hadn't occurred until now," Wytaniec told the Catholic New World, Chicago's archdiocesan newspaper. "I am more than elated to be here. It is humbling. I praise God that he brought me here."

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Duriga is editor of the Catholic New World, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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Walter Scott on 'Enlightenment values' and David Hume [Cum Lazaro]

                                                       Henry Mackenize (by Raeburn)

Those who have been reading this blog for a while may have wondered where I was in my reading of Sir Walter Scott's complete works. The short answer is that I am roughly 80% through and now in the middle of his journals...

In my last post, I commented on Nick Cohen's problematic use of 'Enlightenment values'. Scott touches on the Scottish Enlightenment a number of times in his works (I'm particularly tempted to write something on the Burkean principles of his essays on improving woodland) but I recently came across this in his review of MacKenzie's biography of John Home (writer of the Douglas):

Neither is it only to Scotland that these annals are interesting. There were men of literature in Edinburgh before she was renowned for romances, reviews, and magazines--

    "Vixerunt fortes ante Agamemnona;" [Brave men have lived before Agamemnon]

and a single glance at the authors and men of science who dignified the last generation, will serve to show that, in those days, there were giants in the North. The names of Hume, Robertson, Fergusson, stand high in the list of British historians. Adam Smith was the father of the economical system in Britain, and his standard work will long continue the text-book of that science. Dr. Black, as a chemist, opened that path of discovery which has since been prosecuted with such splendid success. Of metaphysicians, Scotland boasted, perhaps, but too many: to Hume and Fergusson we must add Reid, and, though younger, yet of the same school, Mr. Dugald Stewart. In natural philosophy, Scotland could present Professor Robison, James Watt, whose inventions have led the way to the triumphs of human skill over the elements, and Clerk, of Eldin, who taught the British seaman the road to assured conquest. Others we could mention; but these form a phalanx, whose reputation was neither confined to their narrow, poor, and rugged native country, nor to England and the British dominions, but known and respected wherever learning, philosophy, and science were honoured.

[From Minor Prose Works]

It's worth noting a few points here. First, nowhere is the term 'Scottish Enlightenment' or even 'Enlightenment' mentioned. This is to be expected as Wikipedia notes:

The term "Enlightenment" emerged in English in the later part of the 19th century, with particular reference to French philosophy, as the equivalent of the French term 'Lumières' (used first by Dubos in 1733 and already well established by 1751). From Immanuel Kant's 1784 essay "Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?" ("Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?") the German term became 'Aufklärung' (aufklären = to illuminate; sich aufklären = to clear up). However, scholars have never agreed on a definition of the Enlightenment, or on its chronological or geographical extent. Terms like "les Lumières" (French), "illuminismo" (Italian), "ilustración" (Spanish) and "Aufklärung" (German) referred to partly overlapping movements. Not until the late nineteenth century did English scholars agree they were talking about "the Enlightenment."

Secondly, Scott conceptualizes 'the Enlightenment' in personal ('the authors and men of science who dignified the last generation') and local terms ('their narrow, poor, and rugged native country'). In other words, it is a circle of very talented and different individuals who were in regular and friendly intercourse with each other despite (or even because of) their great differences. (That impression in only reinforced by the extended anecdotes especially about David Hume, Adam Smith and Adam Fergusson taken from Home's biography which are quoted in the rest of the review.)

Thirdly, the 'Enlightenment' is centred on effectiveness and practicality (' who taught the British seaman the road to assured conquest') rather than abstract ideas ("Of metaphysicians, Scotland boasted, perhaps, but too many").

I doubt whether any of this is a surprise to anyone who has read anything about 'the Scottish Enlightenment'. But there are far too many who are willing to convert 'the Enlightenment' into a banner under which (eg) unrestrained free speech of the coarsest variety can be justified. Whatever the merits of such a view, it is not the same as the culture of a circle of talented men 'known and respected wherever learning, philosophy, and science were honoured'. Although I'm thinking here particularly of secularist blowhards such as Nick Cohen, you will also find a tendency to essentialize (and reject) Enlightenment values in conservative Catholic circles (ie mine). I'm certainly not suggesting that the views of lightly sceptical Scottish Protestants will ever fit neatly into a Catholic world view, but, equally, I certain that it is intellectual suicide to hand over uncontested to the secularists an important part of the intellectual history of modernity.

Free and cordial communication of sentiments, the natural play of fancy and good-humour, which prevailed among the circle of men whom I have described. It was very different from that display of learning -that prize fighting of wit, which distinguished a literary circle of our sister country...

[Mackenzie quoted in Scott's review]

So let's celebrate some of the values of the Scottish Enlightenment: to honour substantive learning, philosophy and science rather than the ill tempered shallowpate; to be sceptical of dogmatic political fashions and prize the conservatism born of a deep reading in history; to celebrate conviviality, friendship, religion and national pride, rather than deracinated rage of pure subjectivity. Oh, and reticence and tact as well:

The celebrated David Hume, the philosopher and historian, was certainly the most distinguished person in the cycle [sic]. That he was most unhappy in permitting the acuteness of his talents, and the pride arising from the consciousness of possessing them, to involve him in a maze of sceptical illusions, is most undeniable; as well as that he was highly culpable in giving to the world the miserable results of his leisure. Mr Mackenzie states, in mitigation, not in exculpation, that the great Pyrrhonist--

"had, in the language which the Grecian historian applies to an illustrious Roman, two minds, one which indulged in the metaphysical scepticism which his genius could invent, but which it could not always disentangle; another, simple, natural, and playful, which made his conversation delightful to his friends, and even frequently conciliated men who principles of belief, his philosophical doubts if they had not power to shake, had grieved and offended. Duirng the latter period of his lfe, I was frequently in his company amidst persons of genuine piety, and I never heard him venture a remark at which such men, or ladies -still more susceptible than men -could take offence. His good-nature and benevolence prevented such an injury to his hearers: it was unfortunate that he often forgot what injury some of his writings might do to his readers."

[Update: (20/1/16)

The excellent @IrishPhilosophy added the following information:


The WR Scott book was published in 1900 -which put the first use of the 'Scottish Enlightenment' even later than I suggested above. ]


A Modest Proposal for the March for Life: Move it to the Right Anniversary! [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

As tens of thousands prepare to participate in the annual March for Life with a record-breaking snowstorm predicted for the area, I can't help thinking we keep shooting at the wrong target. Yes, Roe v. Wade was an atrocity, but it was only the bitter fruit of an ugly seed -- Griswold v. Connecticut.

An astute friend of mine said years ago that we were never meant to march in the dead of winter on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22nd; that, instead, we should be marching on the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, June 7th (1965). Why that decision? Because Griswold enshrined the "right to privacy," removed restrictions on the sale of birth control to married couples, and set in motion acceptance of abortion on demand as a personal right, as well as sowing the seeds for death on demand by euthanasia.
Griswold set the stage for two other high court decisions: Eisenstadt v. Baird, which extended the right to privacy for contraception to fornicators and Roe v. Wade which, with companion decision Doe v. Bolton, gave the U.S. abortion on demand. Roe and Doe were both based on lies; nevertheless they are the law of the land. But it was Griswold that first poisoned the goodness of the sexual act and its place in marriage.  And all these Supreme Court decisions became serial killers for the culture of death.

The first casualty of Griswold was "killing" the dignity of women by turning their ability to be mothers from a blessing into a curse, something to be "controlled" rather than revered. The blessing of children was also shot down as pregnancy increasingly was described as a sexually transmitted disease and the babies as unwanted burdens and even punishments. The separation of the marital act from its procreative potential made women little more than sex objects for pleasure, a reality we see all too clearly in today's youth culture where "hooking up" is not uncommon, and women themselves no longer recognize their own dignity.

No doubt Margaret Sanger who died in September1966 rejoiced over Griswold. In fact, Sanger's offspring, Planned Parenthood, was behind the case. Estelle Griswold headed up a Planned Parenthood "clinic" in New Haven and she, along with Dr. Lee Buxton, a Yale Medical School gynecologist, deliberately provoked their arrest to challenge the Comstock laws banning the sale of contraceptives.

Griswold was just the beginning, of course, paving the way for abortion which Sanger intended from the very beginning. Often misrepresented as opposing abortion, Sanger was a pragmatist and salesman. Abortion wouldn't sell in the early 20th century. Nevertheless, she openly advocated it. Her birth control pamphlet, Family Limitation, revised in 1917, included instructions to women on how to bring on their period if they were late:

If there is the slightest possibility that the male fluid has entered the vagina, take on these same nights  [four nights before expected onset of period] before retiring, five or ten grains of quinine, with a hot drink. The quinine in capsule form is considered fresher, but if this is taken do not use alcoholic drinks directly after, as it hardens the capsules, thus delaying the action of the quinine. 
By taking the above precautions you will prevent the ovum from making its nest in the lining of the womb.
By 1917, the dynamics of human conception had been well established and Sanger certainly knew she was providing how-to instructions for early abortions. While promoting methods to prevent pregnancy, she knew better than anyone that birth control fails. She mentioned in the same pamphlet that, "No one can doubt that there are times when an abortion is justifiable." To portray Sanger as opposed to abortion is untenable. She simply played a waiting game.

The connection between all these evils: contraception, abortion, and euthanasia (voluntary and involuntary) is well established. All you have to do is exam the beliefs and philosophies of those espousing them, many of them population control enthusiasts. Some of the same activists instrumental in achieving Griswold were active in the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Connecticut including Hilda Crosby Standish, a pioneer in promoting both birth control and sex education. (source: Ian Dowbiggin, A Merciful End, Oxford U. Press, 2003, p. 80)

The various euthanasia groups in America are a Who's Who of those who were also instrumental in promoting contraception. They recognized how inextricably linked birth control and voluntary euthanasia are. Among them were philanthropists like millionaire Hugh Moore who coined the term "population bomb" before Hugh Ehrlich.  I highly recommend Ian Dowbiggin's book, A Merciful End, for anyone who wants to understand exactly how we got from Griswold to where we are today with states legalizing assisted suicide.

We are, in fact, in the same situation with regard to euthanasia as the U.S. was on abortion prior to Roe with individual states legalizing physician-assisted suicide. And the highly publicized case of Brittany Maynard sent the death agenda into high gear. It is just a matter of time before the next hurdle is leaped and another evil Supreme Court mandates voluntary euthanasia as a "privacy right." That involuntary euthanasia will be its Siamese twin will be conveniently ignored. Can this be prevented? Of course, but only through a miracle of prayer and sacrifice. As Jesus said, that is the only way to drive out some devils.

Griswold, indeed, was only the first serial killer working for the culture of death, but it holds primary responsibility for what came after. Perhaps it's time to move the March for Life to June so we can start chopping at the root of the problem instead of hacking at its branches.


Pope to World Economic Forum: Do Not Forget the Poor [The Daily Register]

By Edward Pentin | For the second time during his pontificate, Pope Francis has sent a message to the annual World Economic Forum, currently meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In his message, addressed to WEF’s executive president, Klaus Schwab, and...


Don't be afraid to show concern, fight poverty, pope tells global leaders [CNS Top Stories]

IMAGE: CNS photo/Adam Warzawa, EPA

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Don't be afraid of acting fairly and compassionately toward the poor, Pope Francis said in a written message to global business leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

And do not let the sweeping innovations in robotics, science and technology "lead to the destruction of the human person -- to be replaced by a soulless machine -- or to the transformation of our planet into an empty garden for the enjoyment of a chosen few," he said.

The pope's message was read at the meeting Jan. 20 by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The annual meeting, held Jan. 20-23, brought together more than 2,500 people representing business, government, academia, media and the arts to discuss current challenges such as global economics and security, climate change, gender parity and the so-called "fourth industrial revolution," which refers to new technologies blending the physical, digital and biological worlds, resulting in greater interconnectivity of tools and objects that can collect and exchange real-time data.

In his written address, the pope said world leaders must "guide and govern" these new processes and "build inclusive societies based on respect for human dignity, tolerance, compassion and mercy."

Today, he wrote, fewer opportunities "for useful and dignified employment, combined with a reduction in social security, are causing a disturbing rise in inequality and poverty in different countries."

"Clearly there is a need to create new models of doing business which, while promoting the development of advanced technologies, are also capable of using them to create dignified work for all, to uphold and consolidate social rights, and to protect the environment. Man must guide technological development without letting himself be dominated by it," the pope said.

He urged leaders, "Do not forget the poor," and told them they have a duty to help those who are less fortunate to live a dignified life and develop their full potential.

"We must never allow the culture of prosperity to deaden us, to make us incapable of feeling compassion" for those who are poor and suffering, and to believe problems are someone else's responsibility, he said.

Once people realize that "our own actions are a cause of injustice and inequality" and that "we are compelled to heed their cry for help," the pope said, then "we become more fully human, since responsibility for our brothers and sisters is an essential part of our common humanity."

"Do not be afraid to open your minds and hearts to the poor. In this way, you will give free rein to your economic and technical talents, and discover the happiness of a full life, which consumerism of itself cannot provide."

Business is "a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world," especially "if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good," he said.

"I urge you, then, to take up anew your conversation on how to build the future of the planet, 'our common home,' and I ask you to make a united effort to pursue a sustainable and integral development."

In the run-up to the Davos meeting, Oxfam Great Britain released its "pre-Davos report" on global economic disparity saying 1 percent of the world's people own more than the remaining 99 percent of the earth's inhabitants.

Today, 62 individuals "own as much as the poorest half of the world's population," which numbers 3.6 billion people, according to the report published Jan. 18.

"Although the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest 10 percent has risen by less than $3 a year in the past quarter of a century. That equates to an increase in individuals' daily income of less than a single cent a year," the report said.

"Had inequality within countries not grown between 1990 and 2010, an extra 200 million people would have escaped poverty," it added.

Solutions include diverting the billions of dollars lost to tax havens to national programs that invest in healthcare, schools and other public services, it said, as well as government mandates for "an acceptable standard of living for those at the bottom as well as for those at the top -- including moving minimum wage rates toward a living wage and tackling the pay gap between men and women."

- - -

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FSSP Clergy Retreat [LMS Chairman]

Monday, 2 to Friday, 6 May 2016
Pilgerheim Sankt Josef, Kirchstraße 18, D-88145, Wigratzbad, Germany

Silent "Year of Mercy" retreat for diocesan priests and religious, deacons and seminarians, led in English by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP on the theme: “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”.

Wigratzbad is a Marian shrine in the diocese of Augsburg in Bavaria. It is also home to the Mother-house and International Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. In this refreshing rural and Catholic environment, 80 seminarians are training for the priesthood, including several Britons. We will have the opportunity of praying some of the Divine Office with them: a memorable experience.

Every priest retreatant will be able to say Holy Mass in the Form of his choice (at the diocesan shrine church, or at the Seminary). There will be daily Eucharistic Adoration. Every morning and afternoon Fr de Malleray will give a meditation (in English). Meals are taken in silence with table readings for lunch and supper. The Shrine Cafeteria is accessible for mid-morning coffee/tea and afternoon snack. Every retreatant will have a single room with ensuite bathroom.

Mon, 2 May
13:20 – 16:00
London (LTN) – Zürich (ZRH)
EasyJet 2045 • Economy Class • Airbus A319

Fri, 6 May
16:35 – 17:20
Zürich (ZRH) – London (LTN)
EasyJet 2046 • Economy Class • Airbus A319

The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter regularly organises clergy retreats and workshops. Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP has preached dozens of retreats over the past 15 years, to laity and (diocesan) clergy. Every year he organises and preaches a retreat for fellow priests, religious and seminarians. Please note that these retreats are not liturgical workshops, so that any clergy is very welcome, irrespective of the Form of Mass he celebrates.

£249 (all inclusive for 5 days and 4 nights: Monday afternoon to Friday afternoon; full board in modern single rooms with en-suite bathroom + conference room + organisation fees + preaching).
An option: stay on with us for one day and attend the diaconal ordinations by His Grace Archbishop François Bacqué, Nuncio Emeritus to the Netherlands, on Saturday 7 May at 9:30AM near Wigratzbad.

Please send your Name-Surname-Address-Telephone-Email with your £100.00 deposit cheque made payable to ‘FSSP ENGLAND’ to: Clergy Retreat, St Mary's Priory, Smith Street, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 2NS

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


Prayers Needed For the Rooneys and the Tighes [OnePeterFive]

I’ve come to realize that for all its distractions, Social Media serves as a reminder of the fragility of life, the closeness of death, and the ever-present tragedies that intermingle with our joys in this Vail of Tears. Over the years, I’ve heard more heartbreaking stories than I care to think about, all of them hitting close to home. People I know, people I went to school with, people who live nearby. Children taken too soon, chronic illness claiming the lives of young mothers and fathers, the sudden reality of parental loss that comes without warning.

This week, I’ve learned of two more stories that plead for your gracious prayers. The first concerns a tragic car accident that took the life of Danny Rooney, a young father of six (with number seven on the way), on January 17th. I didn’t know Danny, but I met his wife Iris when I helped out with freshman orientation at Steubenville in 1998. I was immediately struck by her charm and humor, and we spent an evening going through our entire repertoire of funny, foreign accents outside one of the dorms, trying to see if we could find one the other couldn’t do. We never became close, but we were friendly when we saw each other, and she was the kind of person you almost never saw without a smile on her face.


She remains gracious even in the face of overwhelming personal loss. In a status update posted on her Facebook page last night, she writes:

I am overcome with gratitude for all of the love, support, and prayers you have shown us. Thank you! My darkest hour is lighter from your love.

A fund has been set up to help pay the families upcoming expenses. If you would like to help them, you may do so there. Please also pray for the repose of Danny’s soul, and for the consolation of Iris, the kids, and the many family and friends who are grieving this loss.

Secondly, this morning I saw a tweet from Tommy Tighe, the “Hipster Dad” to whom I responded in these pages about parenting at Mass. Tommy is now facing his own tragedy, one every parent dreads:

However much we may have sparred with words, however much we may have disagreed in our approach to things, Tommy is a father, a husband, and a brother in Christ. I am so sorry to hear of what he and his wife must now face, and I implore your prayers for the Tighe family.

We are all asked to bear certain crosses, and I know that often, mine seem to make no sense. I find myself wishing that I had someone else’s problems, since they seem, in my ignorance, easier to bear.

But we are all given what we are given, and the Lord takes what He takes. I have never been less than humbled by watching the faith, the love, and the strength of others as they face the heaviest burdens of their lives and as their hearts are broken by loss. I have often seen these things and been forced to consider how I would react under similar circumstances. Not so well, I fear. For all the countless thousands of words I have written about my faith, I have watched others live it in a way that makes me realize how far I have to go.

May God bless and console the Rooney and Tighe families, and all those who are suffering from loss or overwhelming hardship at this time.

The post Prayers Needed For the Rooneys and the Tighes appeared first on OnePeterFive.


Recovery Tuesday: Hyenas and Worms [Charlotte was Both]

Hyenas and Worms - homeschool daily report.


One Sign of The Believer []

Being a sign of contradiction in the world is a sign of the Christian. But, another sign, sadly lacking from many Catholic lives, is joy.

One of my friends told me recently that she loved me because of my sense of humor. A sense of humor is not about raucous joking or practical jokes. It is the ability to see the irrational and the strange with a good attitude. Cynicism and sarcasm do not qualify as humor, as these are based on negative thinking.

Many of the saints had a sense of humor–SS. Lawrence, Teresa of Avila, and Thomas More most readily come to mind. To have wit, or as we say in 2016, to “be witty” can be a gift. But, more likely it is a sign of a certain objectivity and rational stance towards life.

If we have joy at being redeemed, we shall have a sense of humor. Humility and a sense of humor go together. One of the most common signs of a mental illness or a psychological personality disorder is a lack of the ability to laugh,especially to laugh at one’s own self.

I have some favorite quotations on a sense of humor. I hope you enjoy these. As I have a novel coming out in the near future, I shall share some smiles about books.

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol






SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Missouri Blaine Amendment Case [Cardinal Newman Society All Posts]

A case challenging a discriminatory Blaine Amendment in Missouri’s state constitution will go before the U.S. Supreme Court this year, the Court announced last week, to decide if the state can rely on the historically anti-Catholic constitutional provision in its denial of a grant to a Christian preschool meant to aid in resurfacing the playground with recycled tires.

“No state can define religious neutrality as treating religious organizations worse than everyone else,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement about the Court’s decision to hear the case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, during its January 15 conference.

“That isn’t neutrality; it’s a hostility to religion that violates the First Amendment,” he continued. “That’s the primary issue that the Supreme Court will address. In this case, the state should not have excluded this preschool from the recycled tire program simply because a church operates the school.”



S.M.A.R.T. Call for Papers [News - thomistica]

The Society for Medieval and Renaissance Thomism (S.M.A.R.T.) is planning a session for the 2016 meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, San Francisco, CA, 3-6 November 2016. It is looking for papers which address the topic of “being as first known” but is accepting papers on all aspects of Thomism from 1274 to the publication of the Carmelite Cursus Theologiae (1631-1701).

Please send papers and direct enquiries to Domenic D’Ettore at ddettore[at]marian[dot]edu. Papers and abstracts received by 15 May will receive full consideration. Selection preference will be given to complete papers. A final version of the paper will be required by 1 September in order to facilitate a response paper which will be given during the conference session.


My Recipes for Scruffy Hospitality [Unequally Yoked]

An Anglican priest in Knoxville, TN has a great exhortation to offer scruffy hospitality to friends, instead of keeping your doors closed until you can be a startlingly excellent host. Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy [Read More...]


Reconquête N° 324 [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]




70 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris


L’instrument du taux de change [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

Le ministre polonais des Finances, Paweł Szałamacha, a déclaré hier :

« Ce n’est un secret pour personne que ni le gouvernement précédent ni notre gouvernement n’envisage comme une priorité une accession rapide à l’euro… Nous ne voulons pas abandonner un instrument unique : le taux de change comme tampon dans les moments difficiles. »


Your counterfactual ideas are fantastic [Zippy Catholic]

One way to be an Aristotlean-Thomist is to understand AT metaphysics as consistent and complete. If you aren’t a positivist though then seeing ‘consistent and complete’ together like that ought to make you chamber a round. If Aristotlean metaphysical theory is in any sense consistent then it cannot at the same time be formal and complete.  If it is not formal then the symbols and grammar have to have epistemic wiggle room: the meanings of words and rules of inference themselves have to be allowed to shift around from one thing to another in a literally unspecified and unspecifiable way.  This is basically the same as being inconsistent.

If AT metaphysics is not complete that just means that there are metaphysical truths that it doesn’t capture. Modern people find the idea of there being truths within the domain of a theory that the theory doesn’t capture rather alarming. But I’m not a positivist, so what modern people find alarming is just what I expect to be the case.

So when I say I am not an Aristotlean part of what I really mean by that is that I am not an Aristotlean in a positivistic sense. And that is because I am not a positivist in any sense.  It is possible to take any theory as positivistic: as a “theory of everything” within the domain it covers. This is always a basic epistemic error, for any sufficiently interesting subject about actual reality. The relationship between theory and reality is inherently non-positivistic.

One of the things I think Aristotle gets right at a high level is his conceptual understanding of act and potency: of actual things, and the real potentials these actual things have to transform or move into other things or states. If a boulder sits on top of the mountain then the potential to roll to the bottom of the north side of the mountain, and at the same time the potential to roll to the bottom of the south side of the mountain, really do exist in that boulder. Real potentials inhere in actual things. In addition, if the boulder ends up at the bottom of the north side of the mountain it remains true that the boulder really did used to have the potential to roll down the south side of the mountain: a potential it no longer has.

Human beings have imaginations which allow us to conceive of counterfactuals. Sometimes the counterfactuals pertain to things which really could have been but now cannot be. Sometimes they pertain to things which may come to pass in the future. But often they are merely stories – stories like my boulder and mountain, which may illustrate a point about reality but which do not refer to actual reality.

So to Aristotle’s act and potency we should probably add fantasy: that is, made up stories about ‘things’ which are really concepts. Whatever we may think of concepts – and as a mild sort of Platonist I am likely to grant them more reality in some senses than you are, if you are a typical post cartesian modern – it is clear that concepts and actual reality are not the same. A concept of a boulder is not itself an actual boulder.

And at the root of recent controversies over making reference to ‘the same God'[*] lies, in my view, an incapacity to distinguish fantastic reality from actual reality.

[*] See here, here, and here.



Victoire à Anzy-le-Duc [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]


Le projet de défigurer l’église d’Anzy-le-Duc est abandonné.

Voir ici.

Le dernier état de la question était ici.


Sam Guzman, The Catholic Gentleman, to speak at Knights of Divine Mercy Feb 5 [The Badger Catholic]

Don’t Miss Out! Register HERE.

6pm: Exposition, Adoration, Confesson

7pm: Divine Mercy Chaplet

715pm: Sam Guzman-“War in Heaven”

8pm: Benediction

815pm: Social with food and refreshments



Through a Glass Darkly [Fr Ray Blake's Blog]

There is a timely reminder on Fr Hunwicke's blog:
 It is therefore the duty of each of us to gloss his [the Holy Father's] words with such a hermeneutic as to be able to read them as being not contrary to what was taught by Vatican I.
I can't help feeling that at the moment the Holy Church of Christ is a bit like an ancient motor car that is being driven so fast and over such rough roads that bits, including some of its passengers, are beginning to fall off. It serves no-one, let alone Christ or Charity to disturb the faith of the 'little ones' - millstones come to mind.

We, in the English speaking world, hear and see what the Pope says 'through a glass darkly'. Unless we are Italian speakers or Spanish speakers what we hear from the Pope is always glossed, and often by the unscrupulous and unpleasant. The most influential English speaking journalists are invariably the one's with a certain agenda of their own, often belonging to a lobby that is set to undermine the truths of the faith.

There are obviously difficulties with Pope's style, like most Italian parish priests he tends to favour an informal style assuming that his listeners are perfectly orthodox and will hear him and understand him in perfectly orthodox way. The problem is of course that he forgets that they are often uncatechised and listen to him with a great deal of baggage of their own.

One of the problems the Pope has, and I sympathise with him over this, is that most Catholics receive their adult formation and information about the Church through the secular media, which as we saw during the previous Ponitificate is far from sympathetic to the Church and its teaching, therefore whatever message the Pope puts out has to be tailored to what they will tolerate.

A friend, who was commissioned to review the Pope's latest book length interview, "The Name of God is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli", says he was surprised by both its dullness and its orthodoxy. Yes, it is Francis through the dark glass of Tornielli and Tornielli tends to now see his life's work as being the glossing of Francis. Those on the right, as with those on the left, find it all too easy to read what Francis says with 'their own lusts' and  'itching ears'.

The Francis effect for many Catholics is confusion but then I suspect for many Popes through out history the effect has been confusion, that is of course if ever people knew who the Pope was (during the Avignon exile we might have been praying for two or three Pope's during the Canon of the Mass) and before the modern era in many parts of the world it might take half a year to know of the death and election of a Pope, even longer to hear of any development in teaching.

Fr Hunwicke is of course right when he points out that we must examine what the Pope says today in the light of Vatican I's
"The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter so that, by his revelation, they might reveal new teaching,
                                                              so that, by his assistance, they might devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the Apostles, or in other words, the Deposit of the Faith."
The Orthodox have a receptionist approach to Oecumenical Council's: it is of God only if it is accepted by the Churches. The same maybe said with us Catholics and the magisterial deposit of faith laid down by the Pope's, there might be immediate juridical implications of what a Pope says or laws he enacts, these are tested in practice and by jurisprudence but its theological implications are also tested, most obviously by his immediate successors. If he is ignored, it is as if he might not have existed. As a venerable member of the College of Cardinals said, "Pope's are always old men, they do tend to die", nowadays they also retire of course.


Scientism [The TOF Spot]

Another example of scientism, from the comix "Non Sequitur." This illustrates why the translation of the term "Science," in the lexicon of some folks, is "Look how much smarter I am than you peasants."

Several points want making:

"vs. Everything else." Does that include haute cuisine, English lit, the Parthenon, history, mathematics, etc.? Everything?

"Answers." Is it really and truly only "answers" that are sought? Might not some folks be seeking insight? Understanding? Wisdom? Or does the whole world want only to be told answers.

"Simple but wrong." Are the two arrows the only options? Might not some answers be simple by right? Others, complex but wrong? How do we classify eugenics or phlogiston or natural selection? The last is eminently simple -- an interesting side-effect of death. Does that mean it's wrong? What about simple but wrong answers in history regarding Galileo, Bruno, Hypatia, or the Library of Alexandria? How does "simple but wrong" square with Ockham's Razor, which urges simplification upon us, or the development of scientific theories based on perfect elastic collisions, point-source gravitation, ideal gasses, etc.?

"Complex but right." Is science about being right or are its theories paradigmatically falsifiable and therefore mooted with the expectation that they will one day be superceded? What about complex conspiracy theories?

Winding road. Is it TOF's aging eyesight, or does that road less traveled still wind up going over the cliff in the distant background?


Laïcards contre laïcards [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

C’est la guerre entre deux factions laïcardes de gauche, et le Premier ministre en personne intervient. Je n’y comprenais rien hier en lisant les premiers récits, parce que je n’avais pas suivi le début de l’affaire. Un article de France Info raconte tout par le menu. J’y renvoie donc, car c’est difficile à résumer.

Ce qui est assez curieux est que l’un des gardiens du dogme laïcard historique contre les falsificateurs philo-musulmans affreux communautaristes est Jean Glavany, alors que c’est le même Jean Glavany qui naguère affirmait : « Aujourd'hui, être un bon laïque, c'est encourager la construction de mosquées en France. »

Il a changé d’avis ? Ou bien il y a aussi une taqiya laïque ? On s’y perd…


No one is excluded from the mercy of God, pope says at audience [CNS Top Stories]

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians are called to work together in order to be a visible sign that God's mercy excludes no one, Pope Francis said during his general audience Jan. 20.

The pope reflected on the theme of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which was taken from the first letter of St. Peter and was selected by an ecumenical group from Latvia. The Lutheran cathedral of Riga, Latvia, he noted, contains a 12th-century baptismal font that serves as a sign of the common baptism that unites Catholics, Protestant and Orthodox Christians.

"St. Peter's first letter is addressed to the first generation of Christians to make them aware of the gift received through Baptism and the requirements it entails," the pope said. "We too, in this week of prayer, are invited to rediscover this and do this together, going beyond our divisions."

The pope said that although divisions are often caused by selfishness, the common baptism shared by Christians is an experience of being "called from the merciless and alienating darkness" to an encounter with God who is "full of mercy."

"To start once again from baptism means to rediscover the source of mercy, the source of hope for all, so that no one is excluded from God's mercy," he said. "No one is excluded from the mercy of God."

The grace of God's mercy, he added, is stronger than what divides Christians and in the measure one receives that grace, one becomes "capable of preaching to all his merciful deeds," especially through a witness of Christian unity.

"We Christians can announce to all the power of the Gospel by committing ourselves to share the corporal and spiritual works of mercy," he said. "This is a concrete witness of unity among us Christians: Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics."

Pope Francis emphasized that the week of prayer serves as a reminder that Christians share a common mission in passing on to others the mercy they have received, especially with "the poor and the abandoned."

"During this week of prayer, let us pray so that all of us, disciples of Christ, may find a way to work together to bring the mercy of the father to every part of the earth," the pope said.

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A video to accompany this story can be found at

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Nationalité musulmane ? [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

Un « collectif » de « Français de France et de confession musulmane » a publié une lettre ouverte au président de la République contre le projet de déchéance de la nationalité. On y lit notamment ceci :

« une telle mesure injuste, inefficace constitue un message détestable adressé à la composante musulmane qui se voit encore un peu plus stigmatisée »

Pourquoi ? Il y aurait un rapport entre la déchéance de nationalité de terroristes et le fait d’être musulman ?

L’autre nationalité serait-elle la nationalité « musulmane » ?

Ou bien est-ce que le fait de sanctionner des terroristes serait ipso facto une atteinte à l’islam ?

Voilà qui est fort curieux…

La caravane passe… [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

Certains disaient que le « débat » au Parlement européen sur l’état de droit en Pologne risquait de tourner au « carnage ».

Il n’en a rien été. Et la Pologne qui devait se retrouver à terre a marqué un point.

Grâce à Beata Szydlo, le Premier ministre que d’aucuns considéraient comme une simple et blafarde femme de paille de Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

D’abord parce qu’elle a eu le courage d’aller dans l’arène pour tenir tête aux furieux, et que cela les a calmés…

Ensuite parce qu’elle l’a fait de façon aussi tranquille que ferme. Ce débat est « dégradant » pour l’Europe, a-t-elle dit. La Pologne respecte les valeurs européennes mais agira comme elle l’entend :

« Nous ne sommes pas contents de nous faire contrôler par l’UE. Nous sommes un Etat souverain et un Etat libre… Les problèmes polonais seront résolus par les Polonais. Ça a été la catastrophe chaque fois lorsque des parties tierces sont intervenues dans nos affaires intérieures… Nous respectons les valeurs de l’Europe mais nous allons, en toute souveraineté, mener les changements pour lesquels nous avons été élus démocratiquement. »

Le chef des libéraux, Guy Verhofstadt, a tenté d’attaquer le gouvernement polonais qui « a abusé de sa majorité et modifié les équilibres au sein des institutions nationales »… Mais il n’a pas été suivi, y compris par les députés polonais de l’opposition qui ont défendu les propos de Beata Szydlo (ce que l’on voyait se profiler hier avec la rencontre entre les présidents Duda et Tusk)…

Du coup, personne ne parle de cette séance qui avait pourtant été annoncée à grands coups de trompes et devait être l’hallali de la quasi dictature polonaise qui détruit la démocratie et l’état de droit…


Ratzinger, Pope Francis, Surprises, and New Wine [Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment]

" ... the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith ... The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition." I hope that our beloved Holy Father understands these elegant and focused


Oldest Monastery in Iraq Destroyed by ISIS [Creative Minority Report]

Religion of peace y'all.

CNS News:

The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of the Islamic State's relentless destruction of ancient cultural sites.

For 1,400 years the compound survived assaults by nature and man, standing as a place of worship recently for U.S. troops. In earlier centuries, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches and prayed in the cool chapel. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ's name, were carved near the entrance.

Now satellite photos obtained exclusively by The Associated Press confirm the worst fears of church authorities and preservationists — St. Elijah's Monastery of Mosul has been completely wiped out.
Their barbaric assault on Christianity continues not only unabated but unremarked on by much of the media.

Maybe those who don't really care that Christians are being slaughtered will get upset about an old building being destroyed.



Achad Finglass Abbey (Walsh) [St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association]

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xxxvii, at p. 366:

Achad Finglass This abbey was situated near Leighlin on the east of the river Barrow in the district of Idrone the precise time of its erection is not known St Fintan of Clonenagh may have been the founder This abbey was one of note in the year 864 as the Danes then pillaged it St Aidus was abbot of this monastery The festival of this saint is observed on the 11th of April St Fintan having been at Achad Finglass advised a bishop Brandubh who applied for admission into the monastery of Clonenagh to remain where he was as the rule was less severe.


Is love fading from your marriage? Ask Mary for help, this bishop advises [CNA Daily News]

Cordoba, Spain, Jan 20, 2016 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The love in a marriage is like “the wine at the wedding feast of Cana,” a Spanish bishop said in a recent pastoral letter, in which he encouraged spouses to turn to the Virgin Mary for help when their relationship is troubled.

Bishop Demetrio Fernández Gonzalez of Cordoba encouraged the faithful to pray to the Virgin so that love is never lacking in their union in a Jan. 14 letter: “May the good wine of a renewed love never be lacking in each and every one of your homes.”

“And when love is gone? It seems that everything is over and the only solution is to go your separate ways. But no. Have recourse to Mary, who said to Jesus: 'They have no wine'. If Jesus is present, he can make wine in any circumstances … as he did at the wedding of Cana.”

“If that first love has grown cold, it can be rekindled with a humble request to Jesus, who came to fill the human heart in every way, including the marital dimension,” Bishop Fernández said.

Taking up the Gospel of the wedding at Cana where Christ worked his first miracle, the bishop recalled the importance of marriage as “the foundation of the family according to God’s plan,” a union between one man and one woman “united in the love blessed by God, generously open to life, until death do they part.”

“Jesus instituted the sacrament of marriage through which the spouses are consecrated by the Holy Spirit to give themselves completely throughout their lives to one another, in a self-giving of love,” the Bishop of Cordoba explained, and pointed out that on that journey “every day, true love has to be shown anew.”

Bishop Fernández therefore highlighted the importance of the humble petition of the spouses so that “there is no lack of the wine of joy in the home, the wine of love that Jesus Christ gave to each of the spouses on their wedding day.”

“Lifelong fidelity is possible, a love that never ends is possible, happiness is possible in  marriage,  which God himself created and Christ has sanctified,” the bishop said.

He added, however, that “you’ve got to humbly ask for it with faith every day.”

‘This is the miracle that Jesus is ready to multiply in our times, so that there is no lack of the good wine renewed in each and every home.”


Zum Fest des Heiligen Sebastian! [Beiboot Petri]

Schöne Bilder aus Bayern

Fast in meiner Nachbarschaft - oder besser in Ebersberg, befindet sich eine Reliqiue des heiligen Sebastian.

Da passt es gut, dass das Münchner Kirchenfernsehen ein Video dieser schönen bayerischen Kirche online gestellt hat:

Heiliger Sebastian, bitte für uns!

World Premier of Major Choral Work, and Conference for Musicians and Artists [New Liturgical Movement]

I have just received early notice of the premier of a new major work by composer Frank La Rocca, which will take place in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm. It is an oratorio called A Rose in Winter - the life of Saint Rita of Cascia; the original libretto is by Matthew Lickona.

The 90-minute work for chorus, orchestra, and soloists was commissioned by Saint Rita Catholic Church (URL) in Dallas, and is the brainchild of Alfred Calabrese, director of music at the parish.

The church is organizing a three-day conference entitled High Above the Stars: Sainthood, Beauty, and Catholic Artistic Expression, which will take place on the three days prior to the performance, May 19 - 21. The conference is designed for musicians, artists, poets, theologians, and Catholic laity, and deals with the creation of sacred music and art, the promotion of beauty, and the quest for sainthood in everyday life. Masterclasses will be held for conductors, composers, and poets.

For more details, you can read a blog post on the Corpus Christi Watershed website written by Dr Calabrese, through the link here. We are told that a website with more details about the event and on how to register for the conference is coming soon. As soon as I have more information I will pass it on to you.


Pope Francis: for Christians, baptism is stronger than differences [CNA Daily News]

Vatican City, Jan 20, 2016 / 05:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his general audience during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis focused on the common baptism Christians share, saying the strength of this bond is stronger than existing divisions.

“We are truly the Holy People of God, even if, due to our sins, we are not yet a people fully united,” the Pope said in his Jan. 20 general audience, adding that “the mercy of God, which works in baptism, is stronger than our divisions.”

The Pope’s audience, which took place in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, fell during the Week of Prayer Christian Unity. It runs Jan. 18-25, and is organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, the Commission on Faith and the Order of the World Council of Churches.

This year’s theme, “Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord,” is taken from chapter two of the First Book of Peter, and was chosen by a group from Latvia, which is home to a strong presence of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians.

In his address, Francis pointed to a 12th century baptismal font in the Lutheran Cathedral of Riga in Latvia, where St. Mainardo evangelized.

The font, he said, is sign of the origin of the faith recognized by all Christians in Latvia, and explained that this origin “is our common baptism.”

Referring to the Second Vatican Council document “Unitatis redintegratio”, the Pope affirmed that baptism “establishes a sacramental bond of unity which links all who have been reborn by it.”

Above all, this shared baptism means that all are sinners and are in need of being saved, redeemed and freed from evil, he said.

When Christians say that they share one baptism, it’s an affirmation that all of them – Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox included – share the experience of being called from “unforgiving darkness and alienation from the encounter with the living God,” who is full of mercy.

Francis noted that despite our common roots, all Christians unfortunately experience egoism, which plants seeds of division, closure and contempt in our minds and hearts.

By restarting from our baptism, Christians again “plunge into the source of mercy and hope, from which no one is excluded,” he said.

This experience of shared grace creates “an indissoluble bond between us Christians, such that, by virtue of baptism, we can consider ourselves truly brothers,” he said, adding that the more we welcome this grace and mercy, the more we belong to the one, Holy People of God.

“We also become capable of announcing his marvelous works to all, beginning from a simple and fraternal witness of unity,” Francis observed.

He said a good way for all Christians to work together in this announcement is by performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are “a concrete witness of unity among us Christians: Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics.”

Pope Francis concluded his speech by pointing to the common mission Christians have in transmitting the mercy they have received in baptism to others, beginning with the poor and abandoned.

“During this Week of Prayer, we pray so that all of us disciples of Christ find a way of collaborating together in order to bring the mercy of the Father to every part of the world,” he said, and greeted pilgrims present from different countries around the world before leaving the building.


Der vollkommene Soldat [Denzinger-Katholik]

Deus, qui per beatissimum Sebastianum Martyrem tuum, turoum fidelium animos roborasti: dum tibi illum latentem sub chlamyde terrena imperii, militem perfectum exhibuisti, fac nos semper in tuis laudibus militare: os nostrum arma documento justitiæ: cor illustra tuæ dilectionis amore, atque carnem nostram erutam libidine clavis tuæ crucis adfige.
O Gott, der Du durch Deinen heiligen Martyrer Sebastian den Herzen Deiner Gläubigen Stärke verliehen hast: da Du ihn, während er verborgen war unter dem Kriegsmantel eines irdischen Befehlshabers, Dir selbst als vollkommenen Soldaten aufgestellt hast: lass uns immer zu Deinem Lobe streiten, bekräftige unsere Kampfesrede mit der Lehre Deiner Gerechtigkeit: erleuchte unsere Herz mit der Liebe Deiner Liebe, und nach der Befreiung unseres Fleisches von der Begierlichkeit, hefte es an Dich mit den Nägeln Deines Kreuzes.
Text: Oration aus dem Missale Gothicum.
Bild: Aufgenommen in Herz Jesu, Pfersee. Augsburg feiert bis zum Sonntag Sebastiani-Oktav in der ehemaligen Kapuzinerkirche St. Sebastian. 


Discernment [ignatius his conclave]


Dear Frank,

I have been reading your Homily from Santa Marta the other Monday (to be fair my Italian is not all that good!) and I am really puzzled. You said that those who will not let themselves be open to the change which the Holy Spirit brings are ‘rebels’ and ‘idolators’.

Of course, I would not want to be thought to be either of those things. But – call it Anglican reticence, if you like – I have a real problem knowing what comes from the Holy Spirit and what derives from the spirit of the age.  Take gay lib, for example. It’s probably plain sailing for high flying theologians like your Fernandez fellow, but I sit listening to American bishops on one side and African bishops on the other, and I find myself in sympathy with both of them. Which is divinely inspired? I am damned if I can say!

Am I, I sometimes wonder, just too lily-livered for this job?  Archbishops of Canterbury, it is true, are not generally given to hurling accusations of idolatry at people before breakfast, but I would like to have at least some of your assurance and panache.

I admit I am no theologian: I owe everything in that department to Cranmer Hall and Sandy Millar. What I think I need is a crash course in ‘discerning spirits’ (isn’t that the phrase?) – knowing what comes from Jesus and what from the other place. Do you think Archbishop Fernandez could spare the time?

Your confused colleague,



My response to David Mills on white privilege [Oz Conservative]

I was very surprised to click on a link and find a post on white privilege written by David Mills. Mills is a former executive editor of First Things, which I had always thought was a somewhat conservative religious periodical. Mills's views on white privilege, however, are indistinguishable from the usual radical secular liberal viewpoint.

Here's something about Mills's post. It might follow the usual far left views, but it is written more calmly and therefore comes across as more reasonable than usual. It's as if a grown up had taken on a childish idea and given it a more polished presentation.

Even so, when you boil down his argument, there's not much there. I tried to explain this in the following comment I left at the site:

The problem with the theory about white privilege is that to make it work the concept of privilege itself has to be narrowed down. In effect it becomes this: "it is a privilege to be the majority ethnic group because you are considered the norm". Which then makes the ethnic Japanese in Japan privileged; the Han Chinese in China privileged and so on. Logically, then, there should be no majority ethnic group anywhere, which then means that no group is in a position to reproduce its own distinctive culture.

Whites are not privileged in other senses of the term. Asian Americans, for instance, do noticeably better than white Americans when it comes to average income; educational outcomes; family stability; professional status and so on. Nor are whites privileged when you look at the global situation: whites are a minority group whose position is everywhere on the decline. Talking about white privilege at this time in history obscures the vulnerable position that nearly all white communities find themselves in.

I could also have mentioned that whites don't really get to benefit from majority status in the kind of easy way that Mills suggests, as we are the group that gets attacked as an oppressor group within the institutions of society, particularly within the schools and universities.

If you do happen to choose to leave a comment at the website I linked to, I'd ask that you make it as calmly reasoned as you can as that is far more likely to have an effect on the readership than anger or indignation.


Kneeling Foreign Policy [The American Catholic]

The Obama administration, so desperate to preserve the Administration’s surrender deal on Iranian nukes, ignored Iranian mistreatment of American sailors who got lost and wandered into Iranian territorial waters last week.  Jerry Hendrix, a retired USN Captain, explains what this means at National Review Online: Two thousand years ago, a Roman could wander the known […]


Surprise au Liban [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

Geagea Aoun.jpg

Les chefs chrétiens les plus opposés du Liban, Samir Geagea et Michel Aoun, se sont mis d’accord sur la candidature du général à la présidence de la République.

Samir Geagea est le chef de la composante chrétienne de la Coalition du 14 mars (avec notamment les sunnites de Hariri), alors que Michel Aoun est le chef de la composante chrétienne de la Coalition du 8 mars (avec notamment les chiites du Hezbollah).

En décembre, la réception ostentatoire de Solimane Frangié par le patriarche maronite laissait entendre que le chef du clan chrétien pro-Assad allait être président, d’autant qu’il avait semble-t-il (de façon étonnante pour un ami d’Assad) l’appui de l’Arabie saoudite, donc des sunnites d’Hariri. Mais Aoun, 82 ans, qui veut être président depuis des décennies, n’allait pas le laisser faire.

Lundi c’est Geagea et Aoun qui ont été reçus par le patriarche…

Mais Frangié a fait savoir qu’il ne retirait pas sa candidature.

L’annonce du tandem Geagea-Aoun a tellement surpris (même si au Liban on voyait cet accord se profiler) que dans l’immédiat il n’y a eu aucune réaction des autres forces en présence, les druzes de Joumblatt ou Hariri (donc l’Arabie saoudite).


Une preuve du délire hindouiste [Le blog d'Yves Daoudal]

Les hindouistes extrémistes sont tellement acharnés à poursuivre les chrétiens coupables de « conversions forcées » qu’ils en arrivent à faire vraiment n’importe quoi.

Le 14 janvier, dans le village de Dahar au Madhya Pradesh, ils ont dénoncé à la police 12 chrétiens coupables de se livrer à des conversions forcées, qui venaient de se réunir dans la maison de l’un d’eux, Shankar Singh. La police est arrivée, a arrêté les 12 personnes et les a mises en prison. Puis les a relâchées le lendemain parce que… aucune d’elle n’est chrétienne. Il s’agissait d’hindous qui s’étaient réunis pour la célébration de la fête de Makar Sankranti (qui veut dire littéralement et célèbre le passage du soleil dans la maison du capricorne), qui a lieu le 15 janvier, comme le savent tous les hindous…


Beyond the World and Me: A Challenge to Ta-Nehisi Coates [Dominicana]

Reading outside the strictures of academia is one of the joys of the Christmas break. I like to go to Barnes and Noble and pick out a book that has been influential in the last six months and “catch up” with the world. This Christmas’s pick was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. […]


Vor dem neuen "Kampf um Rom", welche Position wird der Papst beziehen? [Beiboot Petri]

Das fragt sich Sandro Magister bei Settimo Cielo, L´Espresso und vergleicht die Lage mit der Situation in Argentinien 2010, als der damalige Erzbischof von Buenos Aires vor der selben Frage stand.
Hier geht´s zum Original:  klicken


"Die Ankündigung des "Familientages" (ital. Version der "manif pour tous") wg. des Gesetzes zu gleichgeschlechtlichen Ehen hat zu starken Reibungen an der Führungssspitze der CEI geführt, zwischen ihrem Präsidenten A. Bagnasco und ihrem Generalsekretär Nunzio Galantino.

Galantino hat wissen lassen, daß es für die Demonstration keine Unterstützung von Seiten der CEI geben werde und wenn ein Bischof teilnehmen wolle, könne er das tun, aber er dürfe nicht vorgeben, daß auch alle anderen Bischöfe mit dabei seien."

Und zu dem entstehenden Gesetz hat er zu Verstehen gegeben, daß er es für akzeptabel halte - außer was die Adoptionen und die Gleichsetzung von HS-Verbindungen mit der Ehe zwischen Mann und Frau angehe.

Kardinal Bagnasco dagegen hat gegenüber der Tageszeitung der CEI "Avvenire" Erleichterung über und Zustimmung für die Demonstration am 30. Januar signalisiert. Das hat die Zeitung am 16. Januar bekannt gegeben - und so das Schweigen der vorhergehenden Tage gebrochen.

Außerdem hat an eben diesem 16. Januar Bagnasco mit Kiko Argüello telefoniert, dem Gründer des Neokatechumenalen Weges und ihn zu ermutigt, in Massen am Familientag teilzunehmen, weil er sehr gut weiß, daß bei der letzten Demonstration dieser Art am 20. Juni die Teilnahme des Neokatechumenalen Weges entscheidend dafür war, Tausende von Familien auf die Straße zu bringen.

Kiko hat eingewilligt und der Agentur Zenit vom Anruf des Präsidenten der CEI berichtet und von seiner Unterstützung: "es ist äußerst wichtig, daß die italienischen Bischöfe mit uns vereint sind, weil wir sonst allein und verstreut sind und uns sagen lassen müssen, daß wir homophob sind und Ähnliches. Das ist nicht wahr, hinter uns steht die Kirche, die uns in dieser Verteidigung der christlichen Familie, der man so viel Schlechtes zufügt, unterstützt."

Aber vor allem hat sich Kardinal Bagnasco am 17. Januar öffentlich gegen die ...des Gesetzes und seines inneren Planes gewandt: eine große Ablenkung von Teilen des Parlamentes angesichts der wahren Probleme Italiens. Er hat dem Family-Day seine Unterstützung zugesagt: eine Demonstration, deren Ziele man teilen kann und die absolut nötig ist."

Am 25. Januar findet bei der CEI die Wintertagung ihres permanenten Rates statt und man kann vorhersehen, daß dort die Funken fliegen werden.

Galantino hat immer behauptet, in direktem Auftrag von Franziskus zu handeln, Und es ist wahrscheinlich daß das in diesem Fall so ist, wenn man den bekannten Unwillen des Papstes bedenkt, die Kirche für "Schlachten" dieser Art auf die Straße zu bringen.

Bis zum letzten Augenblick wird es deshalb einen Rest von Unsicherheit darüber geben, was Franziskus tun wird, ohne Überraschungen auszuschließen, wenn man bedenkt , wie er 2010 agierte als eine analoge Situation seine Erzdiözese und ganz Argentinien betraf.

Da schickte Jorge Mario Bergoglio die Katholiken, die sich vor dem Parlament zu einer Gebetswache gegen die bevorstehende Anerkennung gleichgeschlechtlicher Ehen versammelt hatten, nach Hause. Er überzeugte sie, keine Gegenposition zu beziehen. Er hatte aber einen Brief an die klausurierten Karmelitermönche geschrieben, in dem er den Teufel in sehr "farbiger" Sprache beschuldigte, die pro-HS-Politiker aufzuhetzen und bat sie um Gebete.

2010 wurde das Gesetz vom argentinischen Parlament angenommen. Aber noch heute diskutiert man darüber, ob nicht das Verhalten Bergoglios das Ganze beschleunigt habe. Verläßliche Quellen in Buenos Aires haben mir in den letzten Tagen weitere Informationen zum damaligen Geschehen zukommen lassen.

Die kann man so zusammenfassen:
Der Brief Bergoglios an die Karmelitermönche - bis dahin äußerst geheim gehalte n- erschien am 8. Juli nicht auf der offiziellen website der AICA- der argentinischen Bischofskonferenz- sondern auf der der Erzdiözese Buenos Aires, augenscheinlich nach dem Willen ihres Erzbischofs.

Das schlug ein wie eine Bombe. Der Brief kam in die Medien, und wurde am Ende auch von der AICA veröffentlicht. Tagelang sprach man in Argentinien über nichts anderes, innerhalb und außerhalb des Parlamentes, wo die Unterstützer des Gesetzes leichtes Spiel hatten, die Ausdrücke lächerlich zu machen, die Bergoglio gegen den Teufel und gegen sie verwendet hatte.

Der engagierteste Unterstützer des Gesetzes, der Kirchnerist Miguel Pichetti, drückte seine Überraschung darüber aus, daß ein "so intelligenter Mann wie der Kardinal sich so ausdrückte. Eben diese Präsidentin Kirchner erklärte sich bestürzt angesichts dieser "Rückkehr ins Mittelalter". Bis zum 8. Juli hatte es zahlreiche Demonstrationen mit vielen Teilnehmern gegen das Gesetz gegeben. Und im Parlament war man nicht sicher, ob es eine Mehrheit zugunsten des Gesetzes zur HS-Ehe geben würde. Aber vom Tag der Veröffentlichung des Briefes an änderte sich alles.

Der Zusammenstoß führte zu einer Polarisierung zwischen dem Obskurantismus der Kirche und den Lichtern des Fortschritts. Am 14. Juli begann die abschließende Debatte und das Gesetz passierte mit 3 Stimmen Mehrheit. Damals empfanden viele Katholiken, die die Familie verteidigten, Unbehagen wegen der von Bergoglio der sich in der Öffentlichkeit sonst immer sehr gemessen ausgedrückt hatte, benutzten Ausdrücke.

Und auch heute - wie damals - fragen viele, ob sein Brief nicht einen kontraproduktiven Effekt hatte, jedenfalls hat er die Annahme des Gesetzes begünstigt.

Die argentinischen Quellen haben uns gebeten, ihre Identität nicht preiszugeben, weil es "in Rom ein neues Establishment gibt, daß das gefährlich macht. Auch in Buenos Aires erleben wir das zur Zeit."

Quelle. Sandro Magister, Settimo Cielo, L´Espresso


Newman, Pope Francis, Surprises, and New Wine [Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment]

" ... it is one of the reproaches urged against the Church of Rome, that it has originated nothing, and has only served as a sort of remora [barrier] or break in the development of doctrine. And it is a objection which I embrace as a truth; for such I conceive to be the main purpose of its extraordinary gift." It is not easy to gauge how our beloved Holy Father understands his office. At my most


This man has been in a coma for 33 years – and his wife has stayed by his side [CNA Daily News]

Lyon, France, Jan 20, 2016 / 03:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After sustaining a damaged leg tendon in 1982, 34-year old international footballer Jean-Pierre Adams thought that a routine knee surgery at a hospital in Lyon, France would relieve some of his discomfort.

By the end of the day, the surgery had left Adams in a comatose state, unable to perform normal bodily functions like walking or talking.

That was over thirty years ago.

Today, his devoted wife Bernadette personally cares for Jean-Pierre in their home near Nimes, France, where the beloved footballer remains bedridden and comatose.

“I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well,” Bernadette told CNN in a recent interview, saying he can still breathe on his own but needs round-the-clock attention.

Bernadette and Jean-Pierre met at a dance in the 1960s. As an interracial couple, the two grew in resilience through the challenges they faced and married in 1969. Not long after, Jean-Pierre was playing first division side football as the “garde noire” alongside some of the best in the world.

“He was the 'joie di vivre' embodied in human form – a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” his wife told CNN.

That all changed on March 17, 1982 when the understaffed hospital botched Adams' intubation, causing a heart attack, brain damage, and an eventual coma. The surgery was ruled as an “involuntary injury” and the medical workers were found guilty seven years after the incident.

Jean-Pierre, now 68, is cared for daily by his faithful wife Bernadette. She feeds him, talks to him, clothes him, and still buys presents for him to open on his birthday.

“I'll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty sheets, or some scent. He used to wear Paco Rabanne but his favorite one stopped so now I buy Sauvage by Dior,” Bernadette told CNN.

When asked about euthanasia, Bernadette replied, “What do you want me to do – deprive him of food? Let him die little by little? No, no, no.”

Although the 33-year journey has not been easy, Bernadette still clings to hope and to her husband of 46 years.

“If one day, medical science evolves, then why not? Will there be a day when they'll know how to do something for him? I don't know,” she told CNN.

More information about the Adams' story can be found here


The Mystery of ISIS [RORATE CÆLI]

The Great Powers that can destroy a nation in days apparently have not ended their strange experiment of letting the "Islamic State" do whatever they want in most of Syria and half of Iraq.

After the genocide of Christians from the lands occupied by ISIS, they will not stop until every sign of Christian heritage is wiped out. Why, why do the Great of this world allow this?

"The mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way."... (II Thess.)

Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press confirm what church leaders and Middle East preservationists had feared: The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, yet another victim of the ISIS terror group's relentless destruction of heritage sites it considers heretical. 

St. Elijah's Monastery stood as a place of worship for 1,400 years, including most recently for U.S. troops. In earlier millennia, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches, prayed in the chapel, worshipped at the altar. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ's name, were carved near the entrance. 

Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo:
ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.


Catholic Education Before the Texas Bar [Cardinal Newman Society All Posts]

In the fall of 2015, the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Christian Legal Society of San Antonio, Texas, persuaded St. Mary’s University School of Law to conduct the first-ever Christian Legal Perspectives seminar for attorneys in the San Antonio area. Our goal was modest and seemingly noncontroversial: to reinforce the need to consider the moral and religious implications inherent in their legal practices in the 30 or so Texas attorneys who might attend (I also invited the 50 law students in my Catholic Legal Perspectives class).

For example, we thought it important to remind attorneys who are asked to handle divorce cases that our religious view of the sanctity of marriage might result in attorneys referring potential divorce clients to faith-based counseling that might preserve the marriage. We hoped to reach a modest audience on a one-time basis on a Friday afternoon in October. God, however, apparently had broader plans.



Joseph Ratzinger Foundation [Diligite iustitiam]


Have you liked the Facebook Page for the Vatican's Joseph Ratzinger Foundation?

Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Saturday, January 16, 2016

Archimandrite Zacharias on Elder Sophrony [Diligite iustitiam]


"Archimandrite Zacharias, from Holy Monastery of Honourable Forerunner, Essex, England, speaks about his spiritual father Elder Sophrony"

Posted by Orthodox Christian Network on Thursday, January 14, 2016


When it comes to abortion, there's more public agreement than you may think [CNA Daily News]

Washington D.C., Jan 20, 2016 / 12:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Beneath the pro-life/pro-choice divide in the U.S., there is a significant consensus favoring abortion restrictions, according to a new Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus.

“Although the issue is often a very polarizing issue politically, what we found is that it is not a polarized issue,” Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, said at the National Press Club on Jan. 19, announcing the poll results.

“The debate is too often reduced to the percentage who identify with the labels ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’,” said Patrick Kelly of the Knights of Columbus and executive director of the St. John Paul II National Shrine.

“What we have found each year is that the split over the labels masks a very real consensus, a consensus of Americans who favor substantial restrictions on abortion. A consensus who sees abortion as morally wrong and ultimately harmful to women,” he added.

The Knights released the poll results on Tuesday in advance of the Jan. 22 National March for Life, remembering the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that decided a woman’s legal right to have an abortion.

Over 80 percent of poll respondents – including almost two-thirds of identified pro-choice respondents – supported limiting abortions to the first trimester of pregnancy. This high level of support has remained about the same since 2008 when the Knights conducted their first poll on this issue.

That number is “the real story,” noted Andrew Walther, vice president of communications and strategic planning for the Knights of Columbus, at the National Press Club. It is a “much better metric in terms of where the American people are than simply terms like pro-life and pro-choice,” he said.

While polls like Gallup might reveal how many Americans identify as pro-life or pro-choice, the Marist poll has “gone deeper” and explored public opinion on various positions, Carvalho explained.

Pro-life and pro-choice respondents showed consensus on other positions too. Sixty-eight percent overall opposed public funding of abortions with tax dollars, and 51 percent of pro-choice respondents supported that.

While it is illegal for federal tax dollars to pay for elective abortions, recent heightened scrutiny has led to efforts to block federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. A defunding bill passed both the House and Senate as part of a budget bill that was vetoed by President Obama.

In the poll, 61 percent supported an abortion ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger – a position that 62 percent of pro-choice respondents supported. The U.S. House passed a 20-week abortion ban in May but the effort failed in the Senate in September.  

Fifty-five percent said that abortion “ultimately does a woman more harm than good” compared to just 30 percent who disagreed. Sixty percent said it is “morally wrong.”

“The real debate over abortion is not an intractable one over labels that correspond to hardened positions,” Kelly said. “Rather, it is a broad and often overlooked consensus in favor of substantial restrictions on abortion.”

Millennials also supported pro-life positions, although not as much as everyone else. Seventy-six percent favored restricting abortions to the first trimester, about two-thirds opposed taxpayer funding of abortions, and 62 percent supported a 20-week abortion ban.

More than 1,600 adults nationwide were surveyed between Nov. 15-22 by the Marist Institute of Public Opinion. The margin of error for the poll was 2.4 percentage points.



Vor dem Besuch in der Moschee, A.Socci zieht Bilanz nach dem Besuch in der Synagoge. [Beiboot Petri]

Nach dem Franziskus-Besuch in der großen Synagoge zu Rom hat A. Socci seine Eindrücke bei Lo Straniero in einem Kommentar zusammengefaßt. Hier geht´s zum Original:  klicken


Die Visite Papst Bergoglios bei der Jüdischen Gemeinde Roms war schön und bedeutend, konnte aber offensichtlich - aus historischen Gründen - nicht so bewegend sein wie die vorhergehenden Besuche Johannes Pauls II und Benedikts XVI.
Franziskus´ Rede bewegte sich auf dem Boden seiner Vorgänger, an die er auch mit einigen Redewendungen erinnerte. Klar war seine Verdammung "jeder Form von Antisemitismus" und die Verdammung "jeglicher Beleidigung, Diskriminierung und Verfolgung, die aus ihm entstehen."
Sakrosankte Worte, aber um die Begegnung aus einer gewissen offensichtlichen Ritualisierung herauszuführen, bedurfte es der leidenschaftlichen und berührenden Rede von Ruth Dureghello, der Präsidentin der Jüdischen Gemeinde Roms.

Sie sprach die Begrüßungsworte für den Papst und erinnerte an seine bedeutsame Erklärung: "Ein Christ kann kein Antisemit sein."
Aber vor allem hat sie daran erinnert, was er sagte - als er vor wenigen Wochen den Präsidenten des Jüdischen Weltkongresses traf, daß "Juden anzugreifen Antisemitismus ist, aber auch ein Angriff auf Israel ist Antisemitismus."
Schon lange versucht die jüdische Welt dieses Konzept der öffentlichen Meinung in der Welt der Intellektuellen, besonders der europäischen, begreiflich zu machen, die zwar die Shoah verurteilt, aber in vielen Fällen gegenüber Israel voreingenommen und ideologisch feindlich eingestellt ist.
Deshalb hat Dureghello mit großem Nachdruck betont, daß der Antizionismus die modernste Form des Antisemitismus ist."
Diese Erklärung ist die, die eine bestimmte Sorte Palästinensophile, Arabophile oder Islamophile aus Kultur und aus öffentlicher Meinung des westlichen Publikums irritiert, die sich nicht von den Schematismen der Ideologie befreien können,

Papst Bergoglio ist ein kalkulierender Mann und immer sehr politisch in der Kalibrierung von Zeitpunkt und Umständen seiner Reden.
Man weiß nicht, ob er vor einem großen Publikum die so bedeutsamen Worte wiederholen würde, die er zum Präsidenten des JWC sagte.
Aber mit dem gestrigen Besuch, sind sie - Dank Ruth Dureghello - de facto öffentliche und offizielle Äußerungen geworden.

Jetzt muß man sie nur noch mit den anderen päpstlichen Worten und Gesten vereinbar machen, beginnend mit jenen während des Besuchs bei den Palästinensischen Regierungsvertretern, als er schweigend pilgernd zur von den Israelis zur Verteidigung gegen weitere Attentate gebauten Mauer ging, eine Mauer, die effektiv den Sprengstoffblutbädern ein Ende bereitete.
Auch wenn die Gewalt in diesen Wochen  erneut explodierte, und man Angriffe auf jüdische Zivilisten mit Messern und Autos sah.
Deshalb hat die Präsidentin der jüdischen Gemeinde Roms unterstrichen, daß man, um den Wunsch nach Frieden zu untermauern, den der Papst während seines Besuches in Israel und den palästinensischen Territorien fortwährend wiederholte, daß "wir daran erinnern müssen, daß der Frieden sich nicht durch Terror mit dem Messer in der Hand  und nicht dadurch daß man auf den Straßen Jerusalems, Tel Avivs, Ytamars, Beth Shemeshs  und Siderots  Blut vergißt, erreichen läßt.  Man gewinnt ihn nicht, indem man Tunnel gräbt und man gewinnt ihn nicht, indem man Raketen abfeuert. Können wir einen Friedensprozess beginnen, indem wir die Toten des Terrorismus zählen? Nein.
Wir alle müssen sagen, daß der Terrorismus aufhören muß. Nicht nur zum Terrorismus in Madrid, London, Brüssel und Paris, sondern auch zu dem, der fast jeden Tag in Israel zuschlägt. Für Terrorismus gibt es nie eine Rechtfertigung."
Worte, die besonders für die kritisch klingen, die angesichts von Terrorakten immer wirtschaftliche Erklärungen beschwören, oder angebliche Ungerechtigkeiten, oder andere Ursachen.
Aber es gibt auch Worte, die einladen, keine absurden Abmilderungen anzubieten.

Unausweichlich gehen die Gedanken zum 16. Januar 2015, als nach dem Blutbad in Paris in der Redaktion von Charlie Hebdo - Papst Franziskus nach den Grenzen der Meinungsfreiheit (in Bezug auf die Karikaturen über den Islam), zur Religionsfreiheit antwortete: "Ich glaube, daß beides fundamentale Menschenrechte sind. Man kann nicht im Namen Gottes töten, das ist eine Aberration, aber man muß die Meinungsfreiheit gebrauchen, ohne zu verletzen. Weil es wahr ist, daß man nicht mit Gewalt reagieren darf.
Aber wenn Dr. Gasbarri, ein Freund, ein Wort gegen meine Mamma sagt, erwartet ihn ein Faustschlag, man darf nicht provozieren, man darf nicht den Glauben der anderen beleidigen."

Worte die vom Papst sicher in guter Absicht ausgeprochen wurden, um alle zum Respekt für den anderen aufzurufen, die aber objektiv gesehen einen faux-pas darstellten.
Weil ein Papst über eine gewaltsame Antwort auf eine eventuelle verbale Attacke nicht einmal theoretisieren darf. Und dann, weil seine Worte mit einer Rechtfertigung (das passierte dann auch  bei einigen islamischen Gruppen) einer gewaltsamen Reaktion verwechselt werden konnten. Für die es aber keinerlei Rechtfertigung gibt.
Außerdem brauchen die Terroristen weder Karikaturen noch Beleidigungen der Mamma, um den als Feind zu betrachten und zu ermorden, der anders denkt oder lebt als sie, oder sich ihnen nicht unterwirft.
Die Dureghello - noch immer an Papstworte erinnernd, fügte hinzu: "Die Lektion des Hasses bringt nur Tod vor aller Augen. Das lehrt die jüngste Geschichte ebenso wie die ältere. Sie haben es mit eigenen Augen in Buenos Aires gesehen, das am 18. Juli 1994 antisemitischen Terror kennen lernte, 85 Tote und 200 Verletzte. Viel haben gefragt, ob der islamische Terror je in Rom zuschlagen werde.
Meine Herren, Rom wurde schon geschlagen. Eine einziger Name: Stefano Gai Taché , 2 Jahre alt, am 9. Oktober 1982. Der Hass, der aus dem Rassismus entsteht, und seine Grundlage im Vorurteil oder schlimmer, der die Worte und den Namen Gottes nutzt. um zu morden, verdient immer unsere Empörung."

An diesem Punkt wurde die Rede der Präsidentin der Jüdischen Gemeinde noch ernster und dramatischer:
"Papst Franziskus, heute haben wir eine große Verantwortung gegenüber der Welt, angesichts des durch den Terrorismus in Europa und im Mittleren Osten vergossenen Blutes, angesichts des Blutes der verfolgten Christen und der Attentate gegen zivile Einrichtungen auch innerhalb der arabischen Welt, angesichts der furchtbaren Verbrechen an den Frauen. Wir können keine Zuschauer sein. Wir können nicht indifferent bleiben. Wir können nicht in die selben Fehler verfallen wie in der Vergangenheit, aus betäubendem Schweigen und verbogenen Texten, Männder und Fauen die unbewegt bleiben angesichts mit Juden vollgestopfter Waggons, die in die Öfen der Krematorien geschickt wurden."
Das ist ein wahrer Appell der Jüdischen Gemeinde Roms, noch dramatischer durch die Mitwirkung vieler Terrorakte, die zu gleichen Zeit in verschiedenen Ländern verübt wurden.
Es handelt sich darum zu verstehen, ob Franzikus, der in den vergangenen Monaten ziemlich passiv blieb angesichts der Tragödie der verfolgten und massakrierten Christen und der von dieser eindruckvollen Rede berührt war, dazu gebracht wird, nachzudenken, weniger sanft  in der Konfrontation mit der islamischen Welt zu sein und auch in der Verteidigung der verfolgten Christen und der Verteidigung des immer von Terror bedrohten Israels. 

Das enorme gegenwärtige Mißtrauen - das  nicht zu einer Konfrontation der Zivilisationen werden soll und darf, erfordert starke und gehobene Antworten, und Führer die fähig sind, alle Verhandelnden und die verschiedenen Völker  auf neue Straßen zu führen.
Johannes Paul II war sicher so ein Mann, wie aber auch Benedikt XVI mit seiner meisterlichen und prophetischen Regensburger Rede.
Wahrscheinlich war es kein Zufall, daß Ruth Dureghello mit besonderer Liebe an Johannes Paul II und Elio Toaff erinnert hat und Applaus für Benedikt XVI erntete ("einen herzlichen Gruß möchte ich an den Papa emeritus, Benedikt XVI richten") .
Normal 0 21 false false false DE JA X-NONE
Von Papst Bergoglio wird der Mut zu einer fundamentalen Änderung gefordert: die Wahrheit dem Erfolg in den Medien vorzuziehen."

Quelle: A. Socci, Libero,


The liturgical lie. [Catholic Sacristan]

Benefit of the doubt? Most priests who fail to serve and honour the Liturgy do so because of a failure to inform themselves after their improper and/or incomplete seminary formation. Yes, there are those priests who seem to have an ax to grind, and they intentionally grind away at the Sacred Liturgy. Most others due harm out of ignorance more than willful disobedience. The problem is, a culture of disobedience has formed within the Church, i.e., in most dioceses, and good priests and the faithful must contend with peers who are not the least bit interested in the canonical realization of the Mass.

Lack of Care

Priests who lack the will to care for the Liturgy may claim they that serve the Liturgy in spirit and in truth but in fact they only care about the low-bar celebration of the Mass which permits them to manipulate various aspects of the Mass to serve partisan wants. They are, to borrow and repurpose a phrase, low-church. Which is to say, they favour a low-brow church. Low-brow, as in, a man-made institution, not the God-made Church.

Lack of Attention

Priests who lack a sense of nuance because they think a concern for detail equates to a phariseeism that robs people of freedom or squelches the action of the Spirit are merely attempting to excuse their lack of respect for the rites which have been shaped by the Holy Spirit Himself. The travesty of liturgical abuse has been playing itself out since the introduction of the Pauline Missal in the 1970s.

The Mass, has fallen on hard times due the malicious actions of men who care not for celebrating the Faith with dignity, duty and detail. Or, to put it another way, the Mass has suffered at the hands of priests and lay folk who know not beauty, truth and goodness. Heathens have appropriated the Mass and liturgical disciples of Christ have been marginalized. If Catholics in western societies are routinely mocked for their faith, the responsibility for enabling that mockery rests on the shoulders of (c)atholics who rid parishes of authentic Catholic piety and identity thus leaving faithful Catholics prone to assault because they have had their spiritual weapons taken from them. The same lukewarm, conniving charlatans, unwilling to strive for holiness in Jesus Christ, don't want anyone else to approach the throne of grace.

No longer believing a lie.

There is no easy way to say what needs to be said. Which is, far too many priests are liars and spineless stewards of the liturgy. They lie to themselves about what the Mass is and they, spineless pushovers they be, permit a lie about the Mass (Ordinary Form) to persist which reduces worship to man's initiative rather than understanding that God initiates and man responds to His invitation to communion. The initiative or work of God has become the plaything of man. Thus we see in the Mass unsanctioned innovations and improvisations, heterodox songs, goofball attempts to entertain congregations hosted in unbelievably crude buildings masquerading as temples of God.

The rejection of the true orientation of the Mass, the rejection of ad orientem worship, is—if people's attitudes toward Church teaching and their lives are any indication—a form of rejection of God. If our prayer posture is not turned toward God, a posture Catholics have practiced since the time of the Apostles until liars robbed us of our heritage, we are turned toward to something else, something less than God. People's behaviours confirm that many have lost their sense of dignity, which is to say they have lost their identity. And what is the source of that dignity and identity, the source and summit to which we fix our hearts and minds and bodies? The Eucharist.

Ad orientem worship is the worship orientation sustained by the Second Vatican Council and retained in the current Missal. Anyone who says different is misinformed or a liar. The rubrics of the Missal assume ad orientem worship!

Shall we fully honour Tradition and the lex orandi and practice ad orientem worship, or shall we pretend that we can invent whatever form of liturgical worship that we want? Every Catholic should know the correct answer to that question and leap to the defense of ad orientem worship.

Priest or East?

We have become accustomed to a status quo which has no foundation in the Latin Church. With the exception of the past few decades, Catholics for most of the Church's history have faced toward the liturgical East with their priest facing in the same direction to worship God and to offer prayers on our behalf.

The priest facing the congregation for the duration of the consecration is not Catholic worship. If you want to witness Catholic worship, visit an Ordinariate parish where the celebrant faces in the same direction as the congregation, i.e., toward the liturgical East. The liturgical East is signified by the altar crucifix or a crucifix in the apse.

Ordinary Form Catholics are routinely subjected to mutilated liturgies by: priests who have no idea how to pray the Missal prayers; servers who forget to bow when crossing in front of or behind the altar; lay people who forget or refuse to genuflect before entering a pew and who seem oblivious to the Real Presence reserved in the tabernacle. Granted, it can be difficult to discern what is going on in people's minds and hearts. However, most people's behaviour at Mass is so obviously transparent that it doesn't take a psychic to realize where someone's mind and heart are at or are not at.


Antisemitism [RSS]

The history of Christian antisemitism was not only a dreadful injustice, but also a catastrophe for the diplomacy of theism.  It has convinced large numbers of contemporary Jews that they have safer allies among atheists, who deplore their God and despise them as “Zionists and racists,” than among Christians, who really believe that the True God spoke to them.


At Home with Blue and White [Tea at Trianon]

From Victoria:
Characterized by whispery hues of pristine white and misty gray, the Swedish Gustavian decorating style is perfectly represented in this Dutch designer’s own enchanting home and the bed-and-breakfast, Gustav Guest House, she operates one floor above it....A poster from a Parisian museum is positioned atop a Swedish desk—one of Myriam Gräeve-Rutte’s favorite pieces. Many of her treasured items were found in markets throughout England and France. (Read more.)


Sacerdotes que viven con miedo a sus Obispos [Adelante la Fe]

Recientemente, un sacerdote reveló que creía que, la liturgia latina rezada ad orientem, se centra en Dios y no en el sacerdote y la gente.  Tenía razón, pero revelar su creencia fue peligroso ya que invitaba a las preguntas. Así, le preguntaron si él instituiría el culto ad orientem en su parroquia. Lamentablemente, dijo que no, aduciendo en defensa de su decisión, la falta de catequesis de los feligreses, que sería mal recibido, etc. Cuando sabemos que algo está bien, ¿no se supone que debemos hacerlo?

Acerca de la catequesis, hay una simple realidad: transmitir la Fe requiere el mayor cuidado y precisión. Una realidad secundaria es la cita tan a menudo atribuida a San Francisco de Asís (y casi nunca citada): “Predica el Evangelio en todo momento; si es necesario, usa las palabras”. Si, realmente, es una cuestión de catequesis y de preparar a la gente para los cambios necesarios, ¿cuando podemos esperar para ver alguna acción? No vemos muchas y, cuando lo hacemos, a menudo van seguidas de significativas reacciones negativas.

Ésta aparente falta de acción, es síntoma de un problema mucho mayor, a saber: que los sacerdotes están siendo forzados a comprometer no sólo su conciencia, sino su propia Fe. No es necesario dar profundas explicaciones acerca de los antecedentes de algunos de los problemas presentes dentro de la Iglesia; otros han escrito mejor y más elocuentemente sobre el tema. Es suficiente decir que hay un asunto, en particular, muy relevante en la presente discusión, y éste es la formación sacerdotal.

Entre los seminaristas, hay un dicho famoso: “Hasta que el alba y la estola cuelguen sueltos”. En otras palabras: a los seminaristas se les dice que deben agachar la cabeza y mantener la boca cerrada hasta que sean ordenados. ¿Por qué deben observar semejante silencio? Están al tanto o son testigos de abusos varios y de heterodoxia. En los seminarios, existe un ambiente de miedo, no muy diferente a una dictadura comunista, que fuerza a los distintos, a los “ortodoxos”  a la clandestinidad, por miedo a ser perseguidos y no ser ordenados.

Hablando sólo del contexto de Estados Unidos, la formación sacerdotal es un sistema destrozado. Un hombre atraído por personas de su mismo sexo y que actuaba de acuerdo con sus sentimientos pero que estaba pensando en el sacerdocio, le preguntó a un sacerdote sobre la persecución en el seminario. El sacerdote le recomendó: “Miente”. En otras palabras: el sistema de formación está tan roto que puedes sacar todo el provecho ocultando la verdad y así conseguir ordenarte.

Otra historia real, concierne a un seminarista que tuvo que abandonar el seminario, en parte, porque era perseguido por sus “tendencias piadosas” (por ejemplo, comulgar arrodillado). ¿Por qué de esta persecución? “Arrodillarse no es la norma en las parroquias y tú debes obedecer las normas diocesanas del Ordinario local”. La adhesión del Ordinario a las normas de la Iglesia Latina nunca se cuestiona. Los obispos ostentan todo el poder en sus diócesis y tanto si se admite como si no, los que están sujetos a su autoridad no se atreven a contradecirle. Temen lo que pueda ocurrir con sus carreras. Esta norma, sin embargo, no se aplica, necesariamente, si es un obispo ortodoxo.

Se dijo que la generación de sacerdotes de Juan Pablo II y Benedicto XVI, “podría salvar” a la Iglesia de los aprietos en que se encuentra. Esta creencia  presenta una visión de futuro miope e insostenible. La actual generación de jóvenes sacerdotes ha sido, en gran parte, formada por la generación anterior, la cual contribuyó a crear los espantosos aprietos. ¿Qué formación han impartido a nuestra nueva generación? No sería aconsejable hacer una alegre danza y sacudir nuestros pompones mientras cantamos: “La crisis ha pasado”, como indicó recientemente Ross Douthat.

El hecho es que, los nuevos sacerdotes, son ordenados y se encuentran con que el ambiente de miedo y silencio comunista, aunque modificado, continúa en su vida parroquial. Ahora, en lugar de tener a los formadores del seminario observándoles, tienen en la parroquia a un pastor-policía-secreta que no les quita ojo de encima. No lo duden ni un momento: estos párrocos no pierden de vista a los “jóvenes cachorros” y hacen informes para la oficina de la cancillería diocesana.

Un joven sacerdote que use sotana o bonete sería motivo de conversación en la mesa de la rectoría, seguido de epítetos como: “rígido”, “demasiado conservador” y otros por el estilo. Más aún, si le gustara celebrar la Misa de Forma Extraordinaria, deberían ponerle la camisa de fuerza. En lenguaje común: estos hombres deben ser “abatidos”. Si tales tendencias se ven en el seminario, lo más probable es que sean asignados para trabajar con un párroco encargado, tácita o abiertamente, de “doblegar” el espíritu del sacerdote “de nuevo cuño”.

Otra forma de miedo utilizada por el párroco es el miedo patológico a la camaradería de la gente. En otras palabras: “No hacemos ‘X’ en esta parroquia porque no sería bien recibido por la gente”. (Léase: “No les gustaría yo y se llevarían su dinero o recursos a otro lugar”). Esta línea de pensamiento se basa en el respeto humano, el cual es una practica condenada en la vida espiritual porque: “Debemos obedecer a Dios en lugar de a los hombres” (Act. 5,29).

El respeto humano tiene una tendencia perversa que ignora las verdades salvadoras de Cristo y las formas de acción conformes a ellas. En el caso que estamos tratando, una práctica (ad orientem) que dirige a las personas de forma específica hacia el culto a Dios, como oposición a centrarse en el hombre, está siendo abandonada porqué “la gente” no la toleraría. ¿Quién es el custodio de las Verdades de Dios y Su Santa Iglesia, el sacerdote o la gente?

Ciertamente, a la luz del estado actual de los acontecimientos, se puede comprender que, la restauración del culto ad orientem a Dios Todopoderoso, será una ardua batalla, que requerirá el mayor cuidado y cautela. Sin embargo, unos cuantos sacerdotes, están librando esa batalla y debemos rezar por ellos. En sus respectivas diócesis son terriblemente maltratados y esto por decirlo suavemente. En los seminarios son condicionados a temer cosas como el latín y la Tradición.

En un caso conocido por quién suscribe, un grupo de mujeres echaron al sacerdote de su parroquia quejándose a la diócesis, utilizando las palabras más adecuadas frente a las autoridades. Este sacerdote no había hecho nada, excepto lo que se supone que debe hacer un sacerdote: traer la Tradición a la gente (latín, cantos, etc.). Ahora atiende una parroquia en una zona remota que, normalmente, se asigna a sacerdotes que tienen problemas con la bebida o la pornografía. Es injusto y, aunque semejantes atrocidades hacen santos y son un signo del favor de Dios, nunca debemos pensar que sea aceptable que los Ordinarios que persigan a sus sacerdotes de esta manera, es decir: “Hacer el mal, que el bien ya vendrá”.

Los sacerdotes se ven obligados a comprometer su misión porqué, según su expresión: “No quieren poner en peligro su sacerdocio”. Recordemos que un sacerdote es un sacerdote. El sacerdocio, per se, no se pone necesariamente en peligro: es su habilidad para ejercer el ministerio lo que está en juego. Su Ordinario, puede restringir las facultades del sacerdote haciendo que tenga tan poca influencia como sea canónicamente posible (los asilos y las parroquias remotas son las opciones más probables).

A los sacerdotes se les encomienda el cuidado de las almas. De su mano, una persona experimentará el cielo o el infierno. A los sacerdotes así juzgados, se les antepone a Rex tremendae maiestatis (el Rey en su tremenda majestad) y en eso no hay excusas. Lo que ocurre es que, cómo servir a Cristo el Rey, es la única verdad en sus vidas. Estas terribles palabras deberían hacerles vacilar, a saber: “Mas entonces, yo les contestaré: Jamás os he conocido: apartaros de mi, operarios de iniquidad” (Mt. 7, 23-25,41).

El hecho del sacerdocio debe  inculcar el más profundo miedo y temor en los sacerdotes y en los obispos que les guían, el miedo y  el pavor. Lamentablemente, es así. Muchos sacerdotes conocen que ocurre en sus respectivas cancillerías y con sus hermanos sacerdotes. Viven temiendo qué puede ocurrirles si hablan de ello, lo que les hace mártires ya que  las autoridades aplican sobre ellos todo el peso de las tácticas legales, de abuso y del miedo. Mientras tanto, sacerdotes fornicadores, porno-adictos y sodomitas están protegidos o van avanzando.

Esta es la real, oscura y satánica subcultura alrededor del sacerdocio y el episcopado en los Estados Unidos. Necesitamos rezar por nuestros sacerdotes, especialmente por aquellos a quién Dios ha escogido, dándoles una gracia especial para sufrir persecución por amor a su Reino en el Cielo. Estos sacerdotes no serán reconocidos por los poderes fácticos por lo buenos sacerdotes que son, pero son los verdaderos pastores de la Iglesia. A estos sacerdotes, sabemos que no debemos perderles de vista. Mientras, puede que la gente no les conozca ni les reconozca en masa en esta vida, pero Dios si ve y Su Gracia será su consuelo.

Articulista invitado: Tomás Rodríguez (seudónimo)

[Traducción de María Ángeles Buisán. Artículo original]

La entrada Sacerdotes que viven con miedo a sus Obispos aparece primero en Adelante la Fe.


El pecado nos ata y nos destruye [Adelante la Fe]

Profundizando en la fe

Capítulo 6: El Pecado

Una vez que el hombre había roto los planes originales de Dios y el pecado y la concupiscencia entraron en el mundo, el corazón del hombre tuvo que luchar arduamente para rechazar la tentación y abrazar la virtud. Una de las tentaciones que el hombre siempre ha sufrido a lo largo de su historia ha sido el deseo de determinar por sí mismo, al margen de las leyes de Dios, lo que es bueno y malo. En la actualidad, como consecuencia del influjo de una moral bastante separada de los principios cristianos de siempre, pero que ha conseguido influir en muchas personas, el concepto de pecado y la gravedad del mismo se han oscurecido en la mente de muchos. Es por ello que se ve necesario recordar y precisar la doctrina de siempre acerca del pecado.

El pecado es principalmente una ofensa personal a Dios. Secundariamente, el pecado también puede afectar a los demás hombres. Es por ello que el pecado puede tener también una dimensión horizontal. En la actualidad se tiende a sobrevalorar esta afectación que nuestra mala conducta tiene sobre los demás hombres en detrimento de la ofensa a Dios. Este error es fruto de la pérdida de los valores sobrenaturales de nuestra sociedad; y al mismo tiempo, es el resultado del humanismo desprovisto de fe que viven muchos hombres.

La religión moderna postvaticana tiende a hablar más del pecado “social” que del pecado “personal”. Con ello pretende librar al hombre de toda culpa y conseguir que toda ella recaiga sobre una masa informe llamada “sociedad”. Frente a estas corrientes hemos de decir que el pecado es una acción eminentemente personal; y como tal, nos hace a cada uno de nosotros responsables, primero ante Dios, y después, ante los hombres.

La moralidad de los actos humanos

La moralidad de los actos humanos viene determinada por tres parámetros: el objeto, el fin y las circunstancias. El juicio moral de un acto debe tener en cuenta no sólo la conducta externa sino la intención oculta, así como el proceso misterioso que une a ambas.

1.- El objeto

Es la materia de un acto humano. Cualquier acto humano está siempre provisto de una moralidad intrínseca que le viene dada por la materia u objeto del acto. Hasta tal punto el objeto posee una moralidad intrínseca que a veces en virtud de ella el acto es de suyo malo cualesquiera que sean las intenciones. Hablamos entonces de actos intrínsecamente malos, por ejemplo el asesinato, la fornicación o el adulterio. Cabe por tanto realizar un juicio de un acto por la materia del mismo, aunque como es lógico sin conocer las intenciones de la persona este juicio nunca será perfecto.

Por consiguiente un acto moral es susceptible de dos juicios. El primero es sobre el objeto en sí mismo y el segundo, más completo, es sobre el objeto en sí mismo y sobre la totalidad del acto, incluyendo las intenciones.

2.- El fin o la intención

El fin, llamado también intención, es aquello a lo cual tiende el hombre al realizar una acción determinada.

El Catecismo de la Iglesia católica nos dice (n. 1752):

“Frente al objeto, la intención se sitúa del lado del sujeto que actúa. La intención, por estar ligada a la fuente voluntaria de la acción y por determinarla en razón del fin, es un elemento esencial en la calificación moral de la acción. El fin es el término primero de la intención y designa el objetivo buscado en la acción. La intención es un movimiento de la voluntad hacia un fin; mira al término del obrar. Apunta al bien esperado de la acción emprendida. No se limita a la dirección de cada una de nuestras acciones tomadas aisladamente, sino que puede también ordenar varias acciones hacia un mismo objetivo; puede orientar toda la vida hacia el fin último. Por ejemplo, un servicio que se hace a alguien tiene por fin ayudar al prójimo, pero puede estar inspirado al mismo tiempo por el amor de Dios como fin último de todas nuestras acciones. Una misma acción puede, pues, estar inspirada por varias intenciones como hacer un servicio para obtener un favor o para satisfacer la vanidad.”

Y continúa en el n. 1753 añadiendo:

“Una intención buena (por ejemplo: ayudar al prójimo) no hace ni bueno ni justo un comportamiento en sí mismo desordenado (como la mentira y la maledicencia). El fin no justifica los medios. Así no se puede justificar la condena de un inocente como un medio legítimo para salvar al pueblo. Por el contrario, una intención mala sobreañadida (como la vanagloria) convierte en malo un acto que, de suyo, puede ser bueno (como la limosna).”

Con frecuencia se invocan las “buenas intenciones” para justificar un acción objetivamente mala. Hay que notar que estas “intenciones” no sólo no vuelven bueno un acto intrínsecamente malo, sino que no son la verdadera intención que informa el acto”.

3.- Las circunstancias

Según nos dice el Catecismo de la Iglesia católica (n. 1754):

“Las circunstancias contribuyen a agravar o a disminuir la bondad o la malicia moral de los actos humanos (por ejemplo, la cantidad de dinero robado). Pueden también atenuar o aumentar la responsabilidad del que obra (como actuar por miedo a la muerte). Las circunstancias no pueden de suyo modificar la calidad moral de los actos; no pueden hacer ni buena ni justa una acción que de suyo es mala.

Las circunstancias son aquellas condiciones accidentales que pueden modificar la moralidad substancial que sin ellas tenía ya el acto humano. Responden a la pregunta: ¿dónde?, ¿quién?, ¿cuándo?, ¿cómo?, ¿con qué medios?

Definición de pecado

El catecismo tradicional define pecado como toda desobediencia voluntaria a la ley de Dios.

  • Desobediencia a ley de Dios: Dios nos ha dado una serie de mandamientos; saltarse esas normas es contrario a las leyes de Dios y como consecuencia, puede ser objeto de pecado si cumple con otras condiciones más. Saltarse las leyes de los hombres puede ser pecado o no dependiendo si conlleva asociado un acto de injusticia, imprudencia… Ejemplo: saltarse un semáforo en un lugar de mucho tráfico es pecado pues puede poner en peligro la vida nuestra o de otra persona. Fumar un cigarrillo en un bar es desobediencia contra una ley civil pero no es pecado moralmente hablando. En cambio cometer un aborto, puede estar permitido por las leyes civiles, y en cambio es un gravísimo pecado.
  • Voluntaria: Se dice que un acto de desobediencia a la ley de Dios es voluntario cuando uno es consciente de que la acción es mala, pero a pesar de ello la quiere y hace libremente.

A la hora de clasificar el pecado lo podemos hacer según tengamos en cuenta diferentes parámetros.

Clases de pecados

Los podemos clasificar según su gravedad, el tipo y el modo.

1.- Según la gravedad

  • El pecado de los ángeles: la ofensa cometida por los ángeles y que los transformó en demonios fue el pecado más grave cometido por criatura alguna. El rechazo de Dios fue tan grave por el entendimiento y la voluntad tan desarrollados de estas criaturas celestiales.
  • El pecado contra el Espíritu Santo: de todos los pecados del hombre es el más grave pues no tiene perdón. “Todo pecado y blasfemia les será perdonado a los hombres, pero la blasfemia contra el Espíritu no les será perdonada” (Mt 12:31). De hecho, la misericordia de Dios podría perdonar cualquier tipo de pecado; pero en este pecado en particular, el pecador se obstina en su maldad y rechaza directamente la gracia de Dios para conseguir el perdón. Esa es la razón por la que, mientras que no desaparezcan estas condiciones, el pecado no se puede perdonar. En realidad es un pecado de pura malicia. Se consideran pecados de pura malicia los siguientes: La desesperación de salvarse, la presunción de salvarse sin merecimiento, la impugnación de la verdad conocida, la envidio o pesar de la gracia ajena, la obstinación en los pecados y la impenitencia final.
  • El pecado original: su gravedad se debe a los dones tan especiales que tenían nuestros primeros padres, tanto en el orden natural, preternatural como sobrenatural. Fue un pecado tan grave que no sólo les afectó a ellos sino a toda la humanidad.
  • Pecado mortal es toda desobediencia voluntaria a la ley de Dios, en materia grave, con plena advertencia y perfecto consentimiento. Un solo pecado mortal lleva consigo la pérdida de la gracia santificante, de la filiación divina, de la amistad con Dios, de los méritos adquiridos, y al mismo tiempo quedamos sujetos al poder de los demonios y nos hace merecedores de las penas del infierno.[1]
  • Pecado venial es toda desobediencia voluntaria a la ley de Dios, en materia leve, o en materia grave, si no hay plena advertencia o perfecto consentimiento. No se pierde la gracia santificante, pero disminuye el fervor de la caridad, nos dispone al pecado mortal y nos hace merecedores de las penas del purgatorio.

2.- Según el tipo

  • De pensamiento: Es cuando uno piensa realizar un acto contrario a la ley de Dios y se goza en ese pensamiento malo. Con sólo consentir ese pensamiento ya sería pecado aunque luego no lo ejecutara. Ej.: “Yo os digo que todo el que mira a una mujer deseándola, ya adulteró con ella en su corazón” (Mt 5:28).
  • De palabra: Es cuando uno dice una palabra soez, blasfema.
  • De obra: Es el pecado más frecuente. Es cuando uno realiza un acto que es contrario a la ley de Dios.
  • De omisión: Es el pecado que se comete cuando uno debería hacer una obra que Dios nos manda y, por desidia, pereza u otra razón, no se hace. Por ejemplo: no ayudar a una persona que nos solicita razonablemente ayuda.

3.- Pecado habitual y pecado actual

  • Pecado actual es la ofensa cometida por cada uno de nosotros.
  • Pecado habitual es la mancha e indisposición dejadas en el alma por el pecado actual.

4.- Pecado material y pecado formal

  • Se dice que una persona comete un pecado material cuando hace algo malo pero no sabe que lo es. Por ejemplo: cuando una persona falta a Misa un día de precepto pero no sabía que era tal.
  • Se dice que una persona comete un pecado formal cuando hace una acción creyendo que es mala, aunque luego de suyo no lo sea. Por ejemplo: cuando una persona cree que hoy es día de precepto (y no lo es) pero no va a Misa porque prefiere irse con los amigos a un partido de futbol.

Condiciones para que haya pecado mortal

Decíamos que pecado mortal es toda desobediencia voluntaria a la ley de Dios en materia grave, con plena advertencia y perfecto consentimiento.

Materia grave: En caso de duda, es la misma Iglesia quien señala si una ofensa a Dios es materia grave. La materia grave es siempre necesaria para que un pecado sea mortal; al menos subjetivamente apreciada como tal.

Advertencia plena: Es la advertencia plena por parte de la inteligencia de que algo es pecado grave. Ejemplo: el que dispara un fusil y mata a una persona, creyendo que el fusil estaba descargado, no comete pecado. O el que come carne un viernes de cuaresma sin acordarse de que era viernes. A ella se opone la ignorancia culpable. La ignorancia culpable no es eximente. Por ejemplo el que no va a Misa en domingo porque dice que no sabía que había que hacerlo. Se supone que toda persona que ha hecho la primera comunión ha recibido la catequesis suficiente y ya tiene ese conocimiento.

Perfecto consentimiento: Es el perfecto consentimiento de la voluntad en hacer ese acto malo. Ese consentimiento puede ser por fría malicia o por flaqueza de la voluntad. Por ejemplo: los pecados contra la castidad suelen ser más por flaqueza de la voluntad que por pura malicia; lo cual no le quita gravedad al acto de suyo malo.

Efectos del pecado mortal

Los efectos del pecado mortal son los siguientes: apartamiento de Dios, pérdida de los méritos adquiridos, esclavitud del demonio, disminución de la inclinación al bien, efectos sobre el cuerpo, desorden interior y exterior, ausencia de la Santísima Trinidad en el alma del pecador.

1.- Apartamiento de Dios: Cuando el hombre  peca gravemente le ocurre como al sarmiento cuando se separa de la vid, muere y no da fruto (Jn 15: 1-7). Se pierden la gracia santificante, las virtudes infusas y los dones del Espíritu Santo.

2.- Se pierden los méritos adquiridos: Se pierden todos los méritos adquiridos por las buenas obras anteriores y al mismo tiempo uno queda incapacitado para adquirir nuevos méritos por las buenas obras que haga.

3.- Esclavitud del demonio: El hombre se hace esclavo del demonio, lo que le produce como consecuencia un aumento de las malas inclinaciones. Además se hace reo de la pena eterna del infierno.

4.- Disminución de la inclinación al bien: Conforme una persona se va separando más de Dios les es más difícil ser bueno. Es más, tiene una mayor inclinación a pensar y actuar con un corazón malo y torcido.

5.- Efectos sobre el cuerpo: El daño que el pecado causa no sólo afecta al alma sino a la persona completa, y como consecuencia, también al cuerpo. Esto se ve de un modo especial en el pecado original. En los pecados mortales también se produce aunque en mucha menor afectación. Del mismo modo que se ve la cara inocente de un niño que no ha cometido todavía un pecado mortal, también se ve la cara desencajada del que está en manos del pecado y del demonio.

6.- Desorden interior y exterior: El hombre que está en pecado grave y permanece en él, su carácter y conducta van paulatinamente cambiando para peor. Todo ello se debe a que cada vez está más atrapado por el demonio, y como consecuencia cada vez piensa más como el demonio. Por otro lado, ese cambio que afecta a su ser, también le afecta en su conducta y en sus relaciones con los demás.

7.- Deja de ser templo de la Santísima Trinidad: Como nos dice San Pablo, el cristiano es templo de Dios (1 Cor 6:19): “¿No sabéis que vuestro cuerpo es templo del Espíritu Santo?” Y el mismo Señor: “Si alguno me ama, guardará mi palabra, y mi Padre le amará, y vendremos a él y en él haremos morada” (Jn 14:23). Pero perdemos la inhabitación de Dios en nosotros como consecuencia del pecado mortal.

El pecado venial y sus efectos

Pecado venial es toda desobediencia voluntaria a la ley de Dios en materia leve, o en materia grave si falta plena advertencia o perfecto consentimiento.

El pecado venial priva de gracias actuales, dispone al pecado mortal y nos merece muchas penas en esta vida y en la otra.

El pecado venial puede ser: deliberado (una mentira); semideliberado (aquel en el que caemos por precipitación, sorpresa o fragilidad); habitual (es el estado en el que permanece el alma después de haber cometido un pecado venial si no ha hecho un acto de arrepentimiento sincero).

La culpa y la pena que conllevan el pecado

Es importante distinguir entre culpa y pena: La culpa es la mancha que queda en el alma después de haber cometido un pecado. La pena es el castigo que se merece por el pecado cometido. La culpa, sea grave o leve, se perdona con el arrepentimiento del hombre y el sacramento de la Penitencia; al igual que la pena eterna que se produjo por el pecado mortal, y que nos priva de la comunión con Dios.

Si un pecado es mortal, la culpa del pecado es grave y la pena es eterna. Si un pecado es venial, la culpa es leve y la pena es temporal, de duración limitada. La pena eterna debida por los pecados mortales, se perdona junto con la culpa en el sacramento de la Penitencia, que hace desaparecer el estado de enemistad que había entre el pecador y su Creador; más no así la pena temporal.

Pongamos un caso práctico y sencillo para entender mejor estos conceptos:

Un niño está jugando a la pelota rompe un cristal de la ventana de un vecino. Cuando se da cuenta de eso, entiende las consecuencias (vendrá el vecino gritando, conmoción en la familia, castigos…).

Ese sentimiento le hace decir a su mamá lo que sucedió. Le dice que fue sin querer, y que está arrepentido por no haber tenido el suficiente cuidado; le pide perdón a su mamá, y promete que de ahora en adelante no volverá a suceder más.

La mamá, lo perdona, pero le impone un “castigo acorde” para que el niño sea más cuidadoso en el futuro. ¿Terminó todo ahí? ¿Falta algo? Hubo un hecho malo, hubo arrepentimiento sincero, hubo perdón, y hubo una sanción acorde ¿ya está todo arreglado? NO, falta reparar el vidrio. Es un deber de justicia reparar lo que se ha roto. Esa “pena temporal” la reparamos con la penitencia que el sacerdote nos impone, con las buenas obras, los sacrificios, las indulgencias. Si en esta vida no hubiéramos “reparado los vidrios rotos”, tendríamos luego que hacerlo en el purgatorio.

La pérdida del sentido del pecado

Del mismo modo que la persona que no se lava llega un momento en el que pierde el sentido de la higiene y si le preguntas, dice que no está tan sucio, la persona que vive habitualmente en situación de pecado grave pierde el sentido de su pecado, no es consciente del estado de su alma y como consecuencia no ve necesario arrepentirse.

La pérdida del sentido del pecado es una manifestación clara del estado de separación del alma con respecto a Dios. Es fruto del endurecimiento del corazón causado por el mismo pecado  y del demonio actuando en su alma.

La pérdida del sentido del pecado es siempre culpable pues es el resultado de una separación voluntaria de Dios. Hoy día, es uno de los problemas más graves a los que se enfrentan los fieles en la Iglesia; pues al no sentirse la persona pecadora no busca a Dios, no siente la necesidad de arrepentirse y como consecuencia, cada vez se separa más de Él; y no sólo su voluntad sino también su entendimiento.

Por la pérdida del sentido del pecado, la sociedad cada vez se separa más de las costumbres cristianas y adquiere costumbres paganas y pecaminosas. La depravación es tal, que llega un momento en el que actos o conductas que son gravemente pecaminosos se ven normales e incluso justificables y buenas. Ejemplo: divorcio, aborto, homosexualidad, anticoncepción.

El permisivismo actual de nuestra sociedad es el resultado de haber perdido el sentido del pecado.

La tentación y las ocasiones de pecado

La tentación se define como un llamado o invitación del demonio, otra persona o nosotros mismos, a hacer algo contrario a la voluntad de Dios.

La tentación no es de suyo pecado. Lo que es pecado es consentir o caer en la tentación. Dios permite que seamos tentados, pues a resultas de una tentación superada crecemos en virtud. Sabemos, además, pues tenemos la promesa de Dios, que nunca seremos tentados por encima de nuestras fuerzas:

“No os ha sobrevenido tentación que no fuera humana, y fiel es Dios, que no permitirá que seáis tentados sobre vuestras fuerzas, antes dispondrá con la tentación el éxito, dándoos el poder de resistirla” (1 Cor 10:13).

Lo que no podemos hacer es ponernos en ocasión de pecado si no hay una razón que lo justifique. Por ejemplo: un censor de películas tendrá que ver en ocasiones películas inmorales. Si el censor es buen cristiano, Dios le ayudará para no caer en la tentación. Ahora bien, nosotros, que no somos censores de películas, no podemos ponernos en ocasión de pecado viendo películas inmorales. Aunque luego no cometiéramos ningún pecado de pensamiento o en acto, por el mero hecho de habernos puesto voluntariamente en ocasión de pecado -sin haber justificación para ello- ya estaríamos cometiendo un pecado grave de imprudencia y por exceso de confianza en nuestras propias fuerzas.

El principio del doble efecto

Otra cosa diferente es cuando una acción tiene un doble efecto, uno bueno y otro malo[2]. La acción puede ser moralmente lícita si cumple una serie de condiciones. A saber:

  • Que la acción en sí misma sea buena o indiferente.
  • Que la consecuencia mala no se siga directamente de la acción que se realiza.
  • Que se actúe con buen fin.
  • Que exista proporción entre el efecto bueno y el malo.

Pongamos un ejemplo y así lo entenderemos mejor: Veamos el caso de una mujer que está embarazada y tiene un tumor intestinal que necesita operarse inmediatamente.

  1. Que la acción en sí misma –prescindiendo de sus efectos- sea buena o al menos indiferente. En el ejemplo tipo, la operación quirúrgica necesaria es en sí buena.
  2. Que el fin del agente sea obtener el efecto bueno y se limite a permitir el malo. La extirpación del tumor es el objeto de la operación; el riesgo del aborto se sigue como algo permitido o simplemente tolerado.
  3. Que el efecto primero e inmediato que se sigue sea el bueno. En nuestro caso, la curación.
  4. Que exista una causa proporcionalmente grave para actuar. La urgencia de la operación quirúrgica es causa proporcionada al efecto malo: el riesgo del aborto.

Las raíces del pecado

A la hora de luchar contra el pecado es muy conveniente conocer cuáles son las raíces del mismo. De igual modo que si queremos quitar una planta mala del jardín tenemos que quitar también sus raíces, si queremos crecer en virtud, no sólo tenemos que quitar los pecados sino también controlar y eliminar las raíces del mismo. Estas raíces son conocidas con el nombre de los pecados capitales. Los pecados capitales son siete:

  • Orgullo: buscar desordenadamente el propio honor.
  • Avaricia: deseo no controlado de los bienes materiales.
  • Lujuria: deseo desordenado de los placeres sexuales.
  • Ira: estado emocional en el que se pierde el control de uno mismo y se busca vengarse de aquél que nos ha hecho daño.
  • Gula: deseo desordenador por la comida o bebida.
  • Envidia: tristeza porque otra persona sea mejor o tenga cosas que nosotros no tenemos.
  • Pereza: dejarse llevar por la desgana por trabajar.

Para concluir este artículo, habría que hablar ahora de la conciencia, pero dado que ya hablamos de ella en un artículo anterior, y con el fin de no hacer más largo éste, me remito a él.[3]

Padre Lucas Prados

[1] Concilio de Trento (DS 1544)

[2] Santo Tomás de Aquino, Summa Theologica, Iª-IIae, q. 18, aa. 2, 3 y 4. Ver también A. Fernández, El principio de la acción de doble efecto (tesis doctoral, Pamplona 1983).


La entrada El pecado nos ata y nos destruye aparece primero en Adelante la Fe.


Naive no more? [Oz Conservative]

The Traditional Britain Group has a Facebook page which has been a terrific source of information on the current immigration crisis in Europe.

One post which caught my attention was about a young German woman who couldn't wait to help the immigrants from North Africa and the Middle-East who are currently flooding into Europe. She applied for a job at a migrant reception centre but gradually her experiences disillusioned her.

I've posted the translation provided by the Traditional Britain Group below. It's an interesting read - especially at the end when the young woman admits that she has changed her behaviour now in response to the behaviour of the immigrant men. Again, you would think that Western feminists would be spitting chips over this kind of thing, but it's unlikely you'll hear anything from them, as their focus is on attacking white males.

Anyway, here it is:

Since Autumn 2015 I have worked as my main occupation and as a permanent employee in a Hamburg Initial Reception Centre for refugees. I applied for this job specifically; it was exactly what I wanted to do. When I finally got the job offer in my postbox, I felt so crazily happy about it; finally I would not just be able to help theoretically, but I could do something practical for the refugees.

Accordingly I went in the best of moods to my first day of work at the initial reception centre; I was naturally excited, of course, you always are on your first day of work in a new job, but otherwise I was very happy. My colleagues were engaged and very nice; although I had no direct contact with the refugees, I greeted them full of enthusiasm in the area and found them all just great.

"That was really great here," I thought. In the next few days I dove into the work full of motivation. That would be with the 1500 refugees who were housed there. I was responsible for their advice on social affairs, was supposed to be a point of contact for all of the refugees' social problems, support them in their asylum applications or make doctor's appointments if they needed them.

Well, and then the first refugees came into my office, in which I was to give advice about social affairs - and even after the first few visits I noted that my very positive and idealistic image of them and their behaviour diverged markedly from reality. Of course we should not make sweeping judgements about all refugees; many of them are very friendly, very thankful, very willing to integrate, very happy to be here. But if I am being honest, working with 90% of those I meet is rather unpleasant and not as I imagined it would be in advance.

First, many of them are extremely demanding. They come to me and demand that I should immediately get them a house and a nice car and, ideally, a really good job, because I have to do that, that's why I sit there and they've come all this way. When I reject that and instead try to explain to them that it doesn't work like that, often they become loud or really aggressive. Recently, an Afghan threatened to kill himself. And some Syrians and a group of Afghans explained they would go on hunger strike until I helped them move to another place. They even screamed to one of my colleagues of Arab origin "We'll behead you!" Due to these and other matters, the police are here several times a week.

Second, they often provide very unreliable information. They come to me and have their papers with them and tell a story that simply cannot be true. But they stick to it and I can only be sure once I have spoken to my colleagues about it and they often say that the person was here previously and told their whole story a bit differently. For example, there was one resident who came to me with his deportation notification and asked me what would happen now. I explained to him then he went away. Soon afterwards he came to my colleague and suddenly showed completely new identification papers in another name and said he was this person with another name. Then he wasn't deported, only moved to another camp.

Third, they rarely keep appointments. I make doctor's appointments for the refugees. All of them need to undergo a basic examination, that means X-rays, inoculation and a general check-up. But many of them want to go to other doctors too, like dentists or orthopaedists. Then I make appointments for them, but when it is time for the appointment, often they don't turn up. That happens so often that the doctors have now asked us not to make so many appointments - but what should I do? I can't just reject the request for an appointment only because I suspect that the person asking for it won't turn up.

And fourth, and this for me is the worst: some of the refugees conduct themselves unspeakably towards women. It is well known that it is mainly men on their own that come to us here, around 60% or perhaps even 70%, I would estimate personally. They are all young, around 20, at most 25. And some of them simply do not have any regard for us women. They accept we are there, they don't have a choice, but they don't take us seriously. When as a women I say something to them or try to give them an instruction, they barely listen to me, immediately dismiss it as unimportant and then simply go again to one of my male colleagues. They often only have contemptuous regards left for us women - or pestering. They whistle after you behind your back, call out after you saying something in a foreign language, which I and most of my colleagues don't understand, laugh. That is really very unpleasant. It is has even happened that they have photographed us with a smartphone. Just like that, unasked, even when we protested. And recently I was going up somewhat steep stairs. Some of the men ran after me there, went up the steps with me, laughing the whole time and - I suspect - were talking about me and calling to me.

Female colleagues have told me that similar things have happened to them. But they said that nothing can be done about it. That it's just part of the job here. It happens so often that if every time a criminal complaint was filed against someone or they were transferred, the institution would be significantly more empty. So they ignore it and try not to let it get to them - and so I have also done that. I have just walked on with my eyes to the front when they whistled after me or called out something. I didn't say anything and didn't make a face so as not to strengthen them, not to give me the feeling that they have done me any harm or could influence me.

But that hasn't helped; it's even become worse - speaking honestly: especially in recent weeks with ever more men from North Africa, Morocco, Tunisia or Libya who have come here to the institution. They were even more aggressive. Then I couldn't ignore it any more - and I reacted. To not expose myself to it any more.

Specifically that means: I started to dress differently. I am actually someone who likes to wear tight things - but not any more. I only wear widely cut trousers and highly-enclosed upper garments. I use make-up very little, at most sometimes a cover stick. And it's not only externally that I've changed, to protect myself from this harassment. I act differently. So, on our grounds, I avoid going to places where there are often men on their own. And when I have to do that I try and pass through very quickly and not smile at anyone in case it is misinterpreted.

But mostly I stay in my small office when possible, even throughout the whole day. I don't take the train to or from work - because recently one of my colleagues was followed to the underground station by some of the young men and harassed even in the train. I want to spare myself that so I come in the car.

I know that must sound serious: dressing differently, avoiding specific areas and only taking the car. And I find it frightful myself that I do all that and consider it necessary. But what should I do, what would the alternative be? Just let myself go on being stared at and propositioned; I can't do that. Not much help is to be expected from the official side. Neither on this matter, nor the other problems that we have, not from the Interior ministry and not from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. When you call them, they often don't go to the phone any more.

Actually all that remains for me really is to hand in my notice. But I always ruled that out before; I like my colleagues a lot, the refugee children too. And I was convinced about the job and the whole thing before - it's hard to admit that everything's a bit different than you had imagined. And handing in my notice would naturally be an admission of this. But I'm now thinking about it nonetheless. Many of my colleagues also want to hand in their notices. Because they can't take it any more, because they cannot look at how badly everything is going here and not be able to do anything about it. And if I'm being honest: I also can't take it any more.


Fear nothing [Vultus Christi]

Fra_Angelico_012Mother Mectilde de Bar to the Community of Toul, 1678 (Part II)

If you have something hidden deep down inside you, God knows it, and you are not suitable for His designs. He asks that you have the simplicity of a dove and the sincerity of a child. Examine yourselves, each one in particular, on the holy union that Our Lord wants from you and wants to establish in our Institute, without which it will infallibly perish. “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate” (Matthew 12:25), says the holy Gospel. God sees the heart and the dispositions that are enclosed therein.

You want me to tell you that God is asking two things of us: the first is that we look to Jesus, His Son, as to our King and Sovereign Monarch, and that we wait upon Him ceaselessly, that we present Him with all our needs, and that we have an unshakable confidence in His all–powerful bounty. The second thing is that we be one, that is to say, united in heart and mind by His divine dilection. With these two points, we shall conquer the world and hell with unfailing certainty.

Be the true imitators of Jesus Christ so as to become His victims. Do not content yourselves with lights, thoughts, and lovely words: get on with works. Offer to Jesus Christ all the calumnies, insults, and disdain that come your way, and pray for the poor folks who know not what they do. Carry out the words of this lovable Saviour who, from the height of the Cross, cried out to His Father: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), and those that He utters in another place, “Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you” (Matthew 5:44).

Here, my dear children, you have the maxims of Jesus Christ. Begin a novena for all those who make you suffer and you will do what He says. Take courage, then, and believe that I am with you in spirit and would wish to be with you in truth to console you and to draw into my heart the pains that you are suffering. I do not cease having prayer made to God for you; doubt not that you will be succoured by His graces. Fear nothing. Soon you will see the care that God has of you and of His work. In Him, with a most sincere and cordial heart, I am all yours. Remember to pray God for me.


"Idolatry and Divination"? [The Rad Trad]

Our traddiest readers will probably already be aware of the recent radio talk given by the Elderly Gentleman from Argentina, concerning the relationship of disobedience (and "cling[ing] to what has always been done") to idolatry and divination. One might be tempted to consider this yet another example of the modernist's misuse of scripture and doctrine to support whatever program is needing to be pushed.

But it is not only modernists who abuse 1 Sam. xv.23. The bishop of Rome's off-the-cuff remarks remind me very much of a sermon heard last year in a Tradistani parish, regarding the (ahem) sin of disobeying the parish's dress code:

Clericalism is alive and well, and when clergy start accusing those who aren't following their every personal rule of witchcraft and idolatry, it might be because they feel the walls closing in.


Now the Dutch join in [Oz Conservative]

The residents of a small town in a rural part of The Netherlands were told that they were going to house 500 of Merkel's immigrants. Permanent change of identity for the local population. To their credit the residents did not just passively accept their fate - 1000 of them protested at a meeting organised by town officials to explain the plan, with some attempting to storm the town hall.

My hope is that at least some of these residents will now become politically active. One outburst of anger won't change things, what's needed is a longer term commitment to challenging the establishment parties and to changing the political culture and values that currently dominate Western countries.

If you're interested there are some videos of the demonstration here.


Christian and Muslim Conversions in Late Antiquity [Eastern Christian Books]

One of the unanswered, and unanswerable, questions in early Christian-Muslim encounters is how many people abandoned Christianity when it was politically or economically feasible for them to do so in order to hitch a ride with a newly ascendant Islam. In many places, such people simply dropped out of sight, and nothing like a mass census of them has ever been possible. At the same time, while conversion out of Islam to something else is officially a capital offense in Islamic law, that does not mean it never happened--though here, too, such conversions were often hidden for obvious reason. This whole process of conversion--how it happened, how many converts there were, and what their motives were--is a complex business indeed.

A volume released last year from Ashgate sheds light on the process of what it means to "convert" to or from Christianity, Islam, and other traditions: Arietta Papaconstantinou, ed., with Neil Mclynn and Daniel Schwartz, Conversion in Late Antiquity: Christianity, Islam, and Beyond (Ashgate, 2015), 396pp.

About this book we are told:

The papers in this volume were presented at a Mellon-Sawyer Seminar held at the University of Oxford in 2009-2010, which sought to investigate side by side the two important movements of conversion that frame late antiquity: to Christianity at its start, and to Islam at the other end. Challenging the opposition between the two stereotypes of Islamic conversion as an intrinsically violent process, and Christian conversion as a fundamentally spiritual one, the papers seek to isolate the behaviours and circumstances that made conversion both such a common and such a contested phenomenon. The spread of Buddhism in Asia in broadly the same period serves as an external comparator that was not caught in the net of the Abrahamic religions. The volume is organised around several themes, reflecting the concerns of the initial project with the articulation between norm and practice, the role of authorities and institutions, and the social and individual fluidity on the ground. Debates, discussions, and the expression of norms and principles about conversion conversion are not rare in societies experiencing religious change, and the first section of the book examines some of the main issues brought up by surviving sources. This is followed by three sections examining different aspects of how those principles were - or were not - put into practice: how conversion was handled by the state, how it was continuously redefined by individual ambivalence and cultural fluidity, and how it was enshrined through different forms of institutionalization. Finally, a topographical coda examines the effects of religious change on the iconic holy city of Jerusalem.

A Coptic Biography [Eastern Christian Books]

As an inveterate reader of biographies, as well as a scholar of Eastern Christianity with a special fondness for the Coptic Church, I am doubly looking forward to the release of this new study at the end of June: Youssef Boutros Ghali, A Coptic Narrative in Egypt: A Biography of the Boutros-Ghali Family (I.B. Tauris Press, 2016), 256pp.

About this book we are told:
A short walk from the glistening Nile nestled in a dusty Cairo street lies the Coptic Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, known locally as the Boutrosiya. If one were to enter through one of the seven doors, walk down the columned central aisle past Venetian mosaics and silk curtains, they would find the tomb of Boutros Pasha Ghali. Resting on two steps of black marble, decorated with colourful crosses, are written his last words: 'God knows that I never did anything that harmed my country'. The first Copt to be awarded the title of Pasha, the career of Boutros Pasha Ghali inextricably linked his family's fate to that of Egypt. From early whispers of independence to the last Mubarak government and the United Nations, the Boutros-Ghali's have not only been a force in the political, cultural and religious life of Egypt, but internationally. This book traces the illustrious history of this family from 1864 to the present day. Through assassinations, wars and elections, it illuminates the events that have shaped Egyptian and Coptic life, revealing the family's crucial role in the creation of modern Egypt and what their legacy may mean for the future of their country.


Confession: the heart of the pope’s book [The Catholic Thing]

The Name of God Is Mercy,More than anything, the book reads like the notes of a gifted retreat master exhorting his retreatants to make a good confession. 

The post Confession: the heart of the pope’s book appeared first on The Catholic Thing.


The Anglican lesson for Catholics [The Catholic Thing]

www.thecatholicthing.org_images_smilies_anglicanThe Episcopal Church of the USA has been suspended from the Communion for three years, following a meeting at Lambeth Palace, but there is really nothing remarkable about this. What is remarkable is that it has taken so long.

The post The Anglican lesson for Catholics appeared first on The Catholic Thing.


Jews increasingly leaving France [The Catholic Thing]

franceAn increasingly violent wave of anti-Semitic words and acts in France threatens the very existence of Jewish communities there, one human rights advocacy group warned in a new report. The attacks are “a harbinger of societal breakdown,” said Susan Corke of Human Rights First. “Left unchecked, antisemitism leads to the persecution of other minorities, and to an overall increase in repression and intolerance.”

The post Jews increasingly leaving France appeared first on The Catholic Thing.


Wars for the Soul of America [The Catholic Thing]

For decades, most secularists downplayed cultural clashes in America. Conflicts, they claimed, were figments of conservatives’ and Christians’ imaginations, stoked by Wall-Street types who wanted to divert attention from economic equality issues.

Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas, for example, told the New York Times in 2004 that culture wars “are a way of framing the ever powerful subject of social class. They are a way for Republicans to speak on behalf of the forgotten man without causing any problems for their core big-business constituency.”

Economics always plays a role in politics, but many distinguished historians, including Richard Hofstadter on the left and Michael Barone on the right, have argued that cultural foundations cannot be ignored.

Prayer-in-schools, immigration restrictions, Prohibition, Civil Rights, feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage – each of these hot-button political issues has had a significant cultural dimension.

Why did secularists earlier downplay culture? Because they hoped we would fall asleep at the switch as they worked quietly, but feverishly, infiltrating higher education, the media, government bureaucracies, and the courts. This led to the imposition of multicultural ideology via judicial decrees and executive fiat.

With numerous victories under their belts, however, emboldened secularists have now gone public. At the 2012 Democratic Convention, to take the focus off the weak economy, speaker after speaker alleged Republicans were waging war against women and homosexuals. Those who disagree, in the public square or on college campuses, are denounced as racists, misogynists, or homophobes.

Since the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, leftist academics have begun characterizing the culture wars from a new vantage point. One such surfaces in the newly-released book Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) by Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero. He claims his work describes and explains the cultural battles “that define America from Jefferson’s heresies to gay marriage.” While most of the text is narrative history, the major flaw lies in his definition of two terms he brandishes throughout: conservative and liberal.

Cultural conservatives, he claims, are anxious about passing ways of life and want “to exclude from full cultural citizenship those who are responsible for this loss.” Cultural liberals are defined as people who believe in progress, embrace new forms of culture, and are determined “to include more and more groups in the public life of the nation.”

These definitions confuse rather than clarify. This is most evident in Prothero’s chapter on anti-Catholicism.

“The Promised Land” by Thomas Nast (1870)
“The Promised Land” by Thomas Nast (1870)

He presents an adequate summary of the various anti-Catholic outbursts from the early 1800s until the Civil War. The large influx of Irish Catholics during that period frightened Protestants who feared the pope would soon move to America, overthrow the government, smother our liberties, and impose a Catholic despotism. These ridiculous fantasies fueled the Nativist, anti-Masonic, and Know-Nothing movements that led to riots and the burning of Catholic churches and facilities in several cities.

But these extremists were not “conservative,” they were bigots. And they were not just backwoods rednecks, but members of the more “liberal” wing of the political establishment. For example, at New York State’s first constitutional convention John Jay, our nation’s first U.S. Chief Justice, tried to amend at a religious tolerance clause and exclude those who believed in “the wicked and damnable doctrine that the pope has power to absolve men from sins.” This was sheer intolerance from a man who helped ratify the Declaration of Independence and wrote several of the Federalist Papers.

Prothero’s anti-Catholic narrative conveniently ends at the start of the Civil War. He does not cover the crusades against the growing Catholic presence led by the progressives and liberal populists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Three-time Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan –whose big-government proposals were the foundation of the New Deal – viewed urban centers dominated by Catholics as the “enemy’s country” and opposed immigration because it was responsible for the “dumping of the criminal classes upon our shore.”

It was Progressives who embraced Prohibition as a means to control those whiskey-loving Irish-Catholics. And it was Progressives who embraced eugenics hoping to purify gene pools and ensure the survival of the fittest, i.e., Anglo Saxons, while eliminating undesirable Catholics and Jews. Eugenics expert Daniel J. Keveles, asserted that “the Eugenics movement provided a biological rationale for the Immigration Act of 1924 which discriminated against immigrants from eastern and southern Europe.”

Prothero’s description of “critics of hyphenated Americanism” as “conservative” is also misleading. The leading opponent of Catholic-hyphenates was the father of modern liberalism, Woodrow Wilson. He insisted they were “pouring poison into the veins of national life.”

In the 1930s, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party welcomed Catholics not because they were inclusive, open-minded lovers of liberty, but because they needed their votes.

Although Catholic Al Smith was beaten badly in the 1928 presidential contest, he was the first Democrat to carry America’s twelve largest cities. Smith’s candidacy brought out Catholic immigrant voters in record numbers. Four years later, Franklin Roosevelt built a winning coalition of urban Catholics and Southern segregationists that lasted until the Johnson landslide of 1964.

Catholics later left the Democratic Party in droves and became an integral part of the Reagan coalition, because they believed leftist social planners who frowned upon Catholics’ cultural values had largely captured the Democrats.

As for recent leftist cultural victories, they owe a great deal to what Richard Hofstadter called “totalitarian liberals,” using illiberal means to achieve so-called liberal ends. They embraced “hatred as a form of creed” in pursuit of “reform.”

In the name of human rights, secular humanists have imposed relativist policies that have all but eliminated Judeo-Christian moral restraints and have ushered in what Pope Benedict called “a confused ideology of liberty [that] leads to a dogmatism that is proving evermore hostile to real liberty.”

Professor Prothero is right that liberals have been winning the culture wars, but wrongly hails those victories as advancing the cause of liberty itself.

The post Wars for the Soul of America appeared first on The Catholic Thing.


Love is Not All You Need [The Daily Register]

By Mark Shea | Here's an amusing snapshot of the American genius for combining Puritan high-mindedness with base self-interest.  A few years back, something called the "Campaign for Love and Forgiveness" by something called the Fetzer Institute...


Silence at Mass [Tea at Trianon]

From The Liturgy Guy:

Our Sunday liturgy should indeed create an environment for “learning”. The motion, noise and atmosphere of the profane must give way to the silence and mystery of the sacred. At times in the past my family and I have experienced a liturgy that fully embraced the concept of the Holy Mass as celebration. By this I mean that the typical commotion we might usually associate with a party environment has been transferred to the sacred space of the Mass. In these instances the imposition of the temporal and visible are so aggressively incorporated within the liturgy that the sacred and invisible becomes nearly impossible to “see”. What you then have, as noted by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his memoirs, is a community which is celebrating only itself. Unfortunately, I have seen this much more prevalent among communities that exclusively offer the Ordinary Form of the Mass. From my experience, the Extraordinary Form better establishes and sustains a prayerful environment through such means as the use of Latin, Ad Orientem worship, the use of Chant and frequent kneeling on the part of the faithful. (Read more.)


Body and Transcendence: The Philosophical Anthropology in John Paul II's Theology of the Body [Diligite iustitiam]


Body and Transcendence: The Philosophical Anthropology in John Paul II's Theology of the Body.This is the title of the...

Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Monday, January 18, 2016


At the Vatican There Is a “Seismograph” That Is Setting Off Tremors [Chiesa -]

The latest incident is on how Francis interprets and implements Vatican Council II. The “school of Bologna” is chanting victory. But two letters from the pope say the opposite



Chanting in Mount Athos [Diligite iustitiam]


"Elder Thomas Mikrayannanitis, Mt Athos, speaks for his monastic experiences and chants Byzantine hymns."

Posted by Orthodox Christian Network on Saturday, January 16, 2016


Link [Diligite iustitiam]

Fr. Z: Pope Francis! Restore the Feast of the Circumcision!

The World Jewish Congress speaks about Pope Francis' first trip to Rome's Synagogue on Sunday.
Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More photos from Pope Francis' visit to Rome's Synagogue.
Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pope Francis on Sunday became the third pope to visit Rome's synagogue.See our story at the link:...
Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pope Francis on Sunday became the third pope to visit Rome's synagogue in a sign of continuing Catholic-Jewish friendship.
Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Sunday, January 17, 2016


Pope Francis visits the Great Synagogue of Rome, at the invitation from the Chief Rabbi and Jewish Community of the...

Posted by Vatican Radio - English Section on Sunday, January 17, 2016


The Holy Person [Diligite iustitiam]


"He is free and does not desire to sin, not because it is ethically forbidden and out of place, but because he does not want to destroy the temple of God within him."

Posted by Orthodox Christian Network on Monday, January 18, 2016

That's a good photo of Metropolitan Hilarion; too bad his Russian FB page is no longer available.

His website.


Prayer Postures [Diligite iustitiam]


Fr. Stavros teaches that the preferred posture of praying is standing, but that the most important thing is to pray.

Posted by Orthodox Christian Network on Tuesday, January 19, 2016


What is Mystery? [Community in Mission]

In the secular world a “mystery” is something that baffles us or eludes understanding, something that lies undisclosed. And the usual response of the world to a mystery is to resolve it, to get to the bottom of if, to uncover it. Mysteries must be overcome! The riddle, the “whodunit,” must be solved!

In the Christian—especially the Catholic—world, a mystery is something a bit different. In our world, the concept includes the recognition that there are hidden aspects of things, people, and situations that extend beyond their visible, physical dimensions.

One of the best definitions I have read of mystery is one by the theologian and philosopher John Le Croix. Fr. Francis Martin introduced it to me some years ago in one of his recorded conferences. Le Croix says,

Mystery is that which opens temporality and gives it depth. It introduces a vertical dimension and makes of it a time of revelation, of unveiling.

Fr. Martin’s classic example of this to his students is the following:

Suppose you and I are at a party, and Smith comes in the door and goes straightaway to Jones and warmly shakes his hand with both his hands. And I say, “Wow, look at that.” And you say, puzzled, “What’s the big deal? They shook hands, so what?” And then I tell you, “Smith and Jones have been enemies for thirty years.

And thus there is a hidden, richer meaning beyond what meets the eyes. This is mystery. There is something hidden, something accessible only to those who know and are initiated into the mystery and who come to grasp some dimension of it; it is the deeper reality of things.

In terms of faith there is also a higher meaning that mystery brings. And thus Le Croix added above, It [mystery] introduces a vertical dimension, and makes of it a time of revelation, of unveiling.

Hence we come to appreciate something of God in all He does and all He has made. Creation is not just dumbly there. It has a deeper meaning and reality. It reveals its Creator, and the glory of Him who made it. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).

In the book of Sirach, after a long list of the marvels of creation, there comes this magnificent line: Beyond these, many things lie hid; only a few of God’s works have we seen (Sirach 43:34).

Indeed, there is a sacramentality to all creation. Nothing is simply and dumbly itself; it points beyond and above, to Him who made it. The physical is but a manifestation of something and Someone higher.

In this reductionist world, such thinking is increasingly lost. We poke and prod in order to “solve” the mysteries before us. And when have largely discovered something’s physical properties we think we have exhausted its meaning; we have not. In a disenchanted age, we need to rediscover the glory of enchantment, of mystery. There is more than meets the eye. Things are deeper, richer, and higher than we can ever fully imagine.

Scripture, which is a prophetic interpretation of reality, starts us on our great journey by initiating us into many of the mysteries of God and His creation. But even Scripture does not exhaust the mystery of all things; it merely sets us on the journey ever deeper, ever higher. Mysteries unfold; they are not crudely solved.

For the Christian, then, mystery is not something to be solved or overcome so much as to be savored and reverenced. To every person we know and everything we encounter goes up the cry, O magnum et admirabile mysterium (O great and wondrous mystery)! Now you’re becoming a mystic.

Here is Fr. Francis Martin speaking briefly on the subject of mystery:

The post What is Mystery? appeared first on Community in Mission.


So who is this Jason Welle, EssJay and why is he being ordained to the priesthood? [Vox Cantoris]

'Created with'
Jason Welle, S.J. Facebook photo
So just who is this Jason Welle, EssJay?  Well, he is not Father Jason Welle, OFM so let us be clear about that. Two different men, two different Orders, one name. Too bad for the Friar Welle.

According to his bio on The Jesuit Post, Jason Welle, S.J., was "born and raised in southern California, attended a high school seminary before going to University of California, Santa Cruz to complete a B.A. in Community Studies. He worked nine years in the travel industry, including seven as a flight attendant. In the midst of his high-in-the-sky career, he took a leave to do something more down-to-earth: serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi. Jason is now studying theology in Berkeley, CA."

Jason "really was a Flight Attendant for a major airline
and makes a big deal about it in the linked video and other speeches. He decided that the Jesuits were a better choice for him to "give his life completely over to the service of the poor." As Jason was involved prior to that in the Peace Corps he is clearly motivated by some sort of a altruism. Yet, is the first reason to be priest not to be an Alter Christus and to give oneself over completely to the service of Christ and through Christ to help all people come to Him, be they poor or even the rich? One does not need to become a priest to help the poor. Atheists can do that. Jason was ordained to the diaconate in October in Oakland. He is a member of the Oregon Province of the Jesuits. 

Quite bold and careless with his social media, as can be seen in the photo above from his Facebook with the rainbow flag superimposed over his face. Our EssJay friend has some other interesting photos and Tweets that deserve a view. 

This one speaks for itself, of course. It was from the decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike down laws declaring that a man cannot marry a man and a woman cannot marry a woman. Well, they cannot no matter what SCOTUS or Welle think or say. #LoveHurts, eh? So will Hell! As for his thoughts on sodomite and lesbian so-called "marriage", our regular commenter DJR reminds of Welle's thoughts in this piece

Now look, I love Lucy as much as anyone; I was born in 1956 during the golden age of television; in fact, Fox and I had a laugh watching "Yours, Mine and Ours" the other night, (where was that chapel) and we were happy to see a "Catholic" wedding and merger of their 18. Who could forget as well, The Long, Long Trailer with Lucy and Desi and of course, the New York shenanigans with the Mertz's. But truly, what does it say about the maturity of one who would mock a Saint of God on her feast day with this?

What of this profanity then? Well, we've all used the "F" word from time to time, to be sure. However, one should be particularly careful on social media about using such a word, no? And what if the profanity was used in the sense of a "prayer" and you are a Deacon of the Catholic Church. Is this an acceptable behaviour of a cleric, a Jesuit?

Yet again, we find Deacon Welle, EssJay up to no good on social media. Clearly, he needs to spend more time with his Breviary. It seems that he thinks Mohammed was a prophet, Muslims certainly do, of course. However, for a Catholic, and in particular one who has presumably studied theology, philosophy, church history and is about to be ordained to the priesthood to call that desert devil a prophet, when in reality he was an antichrist or St. Paul is a liar, is something quite different. If Mohammed was a "prophet" then Jesus was a liar too as were all of His disciples. For Welle, it is not enough to blaspheme God by putting a man who was a murderer, thief, warlord and child molester on the same level as the God Himself come to earth as the WORD MADE FLESH, Our Lord Jesus Christ, but he then blasphemes Him by mocking his Last Supper making it akin to just your typical birthday party with party hats and favours.

Jason Welle, S.J. does not seem to have been fit to be ordained to the clerical state as a deacon. Those posts above were after his diaconal ordination. The "gaying" of his picture took place before. 

Did Jason Welle really have the intellectual and spiritual maturity to be ordained to the diaconate? 

Does he have the maturity and spiritual discipline to be ordained to the priesthood? I think not.

Deacon Welle, S.J. is a member of the Oregon Province of the Jesuits. A quick search reveals a few interesting facts about this Jesuit Province. Shall we take a look at a brief history from just a few years ago?

"Northwest Jesuits will pay $166,000,000.00 to sex abuse victims in bankruptcy settlement."

"Jesuit Province files for bankruptcy."

Do they every learn?

Please write your concerns to Bishop Barber at the following email:

Please contact the Oregon Provincial Superior at:

Fr. Scott Santarosa, Provincial
Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus
3215 SE 45th Ave.
Portland, OR 97206
Phone (503) 226-6977


Sts. Fabian and Sebastian [Traditional Catholic Priest]

St. Fabian, a Roman, ruled the Church from the time of Maximian to that of Decius. He divided the City into seven districts and assigned a deacon to each to care for the poor. He appointed the same number of subdeacons to collect the Acts of the Martyrs from the records of the district notaries. …

The post Sts. Fabian and Sebastian appeared first on Traditional Catholic Priest.


Neue Mönche auf Schiermonnikoog [et nunc]

Normal 0 21 false false false DE X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Die Mönche der Trappistenabtei „O. L. Vrouw van Sion“ in Diepenveen nahe Deventer in Nordholland standen an einem entscheidenden Punkt ihrer Existenz. Die Wände des einst blühenden Kloster mit seinem großen Bauernhof und einer Käserei atmeten 125 Jahre Gebet und Gesang. Für die wenigen noch verbliebenen Mönche war es irgendwie sinnlos geworden, Gebäuden zu wohnen, die Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts für über 100 Mönche gebaut worden sind. Sie entschieden sich nach Jahren der Überlegungen und des Betens, etwas Neues zu wagen.

Letztes Läuten in der ehemaligen Abteikirche von Diepenveen

Am 30. Oktober 2015 erhielten sie aus Rom die Erlaubnis, dass sie ihr Kloster verkaufen durften. Damit war der Weg frei für den Umzug von zunächst vier Mönchen auf die Nordseeinsel Schiermonnikoog. Die ersten vier Mönche sind am 29. Dezember 2015 nach Schiermonnikoog aufgebrochen um für immer dort zu leben und zu beten, zunächst in einem Haus, das zuletzt als Friseursalon diente.

Schiermonnikoog ist eine Insel, die ihren Namen Mönchen verdankt, die vor einigen hundert Jahren dort siedelten. Was hier jetzt geschieht ist sicher ein einzigartiges Abenteuer. Ob das Vorhaben gelingen wird? Ob sich neben den geplanten und noch zu bauenden Klostergebäuden auch ein Gebäude aus lebendigen Steinen, aus Mönchen, errichten lässt? Die Situation der Kirche in den Niederlanden ist noch prekärer als in Deutschland. Bis der Bau des neuen Klosters bezugsfertig sein wird, werden noch Jahre vergehen.

Am letzten Sonntag im alten Jahr, am 27. Dezember 2015, wurde im niederländischen Fernsehen ein Dokumentarfilm über diese Trappistenmönche ausgestrahlt. Er trägt den Titel:

Der Film, mit wunderbaren Aufnahmen, sucht nach den tieferen Motivationen dieser Männer. Was treibt sie heute an, Mönch zu werden, sich den Anforderungen der modernen Gesellschaft zu entziehen? Was suchen sie an diesem kargen Dasein - ohne berufliche Perspektiven, ohne Beziehungen und Familie, ohne Autonomie und Freiheit, ohne sichtbaren Erfolg? Alles, was Mönche im Kloster finden ist eingebettet in den Klostermauern, der starren Hierarchie des Ordens, unterliegt einer strengen Tagesordnung von Gebet, Studium und Handarbeit. Geht die eigene Identität durch die Einheitlichkeit der klösterlichen Gewohnheiten verloren?

Die „Rückkehr“ der Mönche auf die Insel Schiermonnikoog wird die Brüder verändern. Es wird vor allem viel einsamer werden um sie. Sie werden nicht mehr so stark belastet von den vielfältigen „Erhaltungsarbeiten“ in ihrem alten Kloster. Ihr einsames Leben und ihr Gebet wird zu füllen sein oder ausgehalten werden müssen. Leere, scheinbare Nutzlosigkeit, wird sie in ihrer Existenz und in ihrem Glauben herausfordern.
Wenn es Gott gefällt, bringt ihr Mönchsleben reiche Frucht.

Am Fährhafen


Death; hope, not optimism [Καθολικός διάκονος]

At least where I live January is a dead time of year. I can't remember feeling any differently about the first month. When my Dad died five years ago in January this feeling intensified. Given the brilliantly shocking convergence of the release of his album Blackstar on 8 January, his birthday, and his death on 10 January, David Bowie’s passing intensified this all the more.

As I contemplated Lent last weekend, it occurred to me that this year, with Easter falling on 27 March, we will observe Good Friday on the Feast of the Annunciation: 25 March 2016- quite a convergence. With all of that out of the way, I apologize in advance for the disjointed nature of what follows.

In the wake of Bowie’s death, while listening to the first of his Berlin Trilogy albums last Friday, I decided to re-read Jacques Derrida’s The Gift of Death. In anticipation of this re-reading I read Derrida’s Guardian obituary, reading this led me to read Terry Eagelton’s response to some of the newspaper’s coverage of Derrida’s death (see: “Don’t deride Derrida”), which, in turn, led me to Eagleton’s 2006 review of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, which appeared in the London Review of Books (see: “Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching”). That is the path that led me here. How's the for intertexuality?

Where is “here,” you might ask? “Here” is the place of hope as set forth by Eagleton in his review of Dawkins’ execrable book:

The Christian faith holds that those who are able to look on the crucifixion and live, to accept that the traumatic truth of human history is a tortured body, might just have a chance of new life – but only by virtue of an unimaginable transformation in our currently dire condition. This is known as the resurrection. Those who don’t see this dreadful image of a mutilated innocent as the truth of history are likely to be devotees of that bright-eyed superstition known as infinite human progress, for which Dawkins is a full-blooded apologist. Or they might be well-intentioned reformers or social democrats, which from a Christian standpoint simply isn’t radical enough
This seems wholly fitting from Eagleton, whose Page-Barbour Lectures were published just last year with the title Hope without Optimism. About these published lectures, Slavoj Žižek wrote: “In our predicament every direct optimism is by definition a fake--the only bearers of true hope are those who dare to confront the abyss we are approaching.” In a very real sense, aren't we all hurdling towards the abyss? Death is the horizon beyond which we cannot see.

Green tree against grey sky- from my walk today

Eagleton rightly notes that the central doctrine of Christianity “is not that God is a bastard,” but is the incarnation of God’s only Son, who Eagleton correctly describes as “a joke of a Messiah . . . a carnivalesque parody of a leader who understood, or so it would appear, that any regime not founded on solidarity with frailty and failure is bound to collapse under its own hubris." Then, citing the English Dominican theologian, Herbert McCabe, Eagleton insists that the central message of Christianity is “if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you.” It seems to me that very often we try to make it not only about something else, but about anything else.

As if any of this needed reinforcement, as I prayed Evening Prayer today the two psalms were one psalm, as they often are when the selected psalm is a bit longer: Psalm 49, which reminds us that death is the great equalizer, or, as Bowie sang on the title track of his last album, perhaps narrating a dramatic dialogue he imagined taking place upon his own death: You’re a flash in the pan . . . I’m the great I am.

All of this made the prayer that concluded Evening Prayer this evening truly a prayer, that is, a cri de coeur:

yours is the morning
and yours is the evening.
Let the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ,
shine for ever in our hearts
and draw us to that light
where you live in radiant glory.


Don’t place too much hope in a constitutional/Article V convention [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

A reader who shall remain nameless sent me this link, to an article discussing a growing movement among conservatives to call an Article V constitutional convention.  I am as skeptical of anything positive coming out of this as is my correspondent.  A brief excerpt from the link:

Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes two methods for amending the Constitution: (1) The congressional method, in which Congress proposes an amendment by a two-thirds vote of each house and sends it to the states for ratification (three-fourths of the states are required); and (2) the convention method, whereby, if two-thirds of the state legislatures (34 states) apply to Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments (commonly referred to as an Article V convention, a constitutional convention, a Con-Con, or a convention of states), Congress shall call such a convention. Congress would send any amendments proposed by the convention to the states for ratification (three-fourths of the states are required).

In either of the two methods for proposing amendments, Congress has the option of sending the proposed amendments to either the state legislatures or to special state conventions for ratification……..

………Since most of our nation’s problems stem from a lack of adherence to the Constitution, the best solution is to bring about a large-scale, grassroots constitutional education campaign to inform voters sufficiently so that they hold elected officials accountable to the Constitution. As Thomas Jefferson famously said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be.”

Solutions such as the Article V convention movement, which depend on changing the Constitution rather than on creating an informed electorate, cannot restore our constitutional republic. [And I would argue, even more important than an informed public, is one grounded in Christian morality and practice.  Do you believe the United States of 2016 is more moral, more Christian (and especially Catholic) than it was in 1789?]

Not only would changing the Constitution without informing the electorate not work, but subjecting the Constitution to revision in a convention of the sovereign people, such as an Article V convention, would be to expose the Constitution to revision by a body with the right to alter or abolish our form of government and to institute new government. During such a process the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as the ratification procedure, would be subject to revision. See “The Solution Is the Constitution, Not Article V” for more information.

Although a “convention for proposing amendments,” as provided for in Article V, is absolutely constitutionally sanctioned, and the right of the people to alter or abolish their government is sanctioned by the Declaration of Independence, it is unwise, given the current lack of understanding of and support for constitutional principles by our leaders and voters, to work toward holding such a convention. The solution is to create an informed electorate, not to change the Constitution.

Here is what my correspondent had to say:

Article V Constitutional Convention. Many neo-cons, like Mark Levin, are calling for one and putting a lot of effort into it.

I share the opinion that a Con-Con could well be a Trojan Horse. I do not believe there could be a sure guarantee that a Con-Con would not run away and leave us in an inferior position. Of course that is opinion.

But the part that is senseless is the following. Is there a problem with our current Constitution? Can we improve on it by committee? I rather doubt it. The real problem is that the government that is created under that Constitution finds it inconvenient, which is the whole purpose. So the government just wholesale ignores the Constitution. The problem is not coming up with a better Constitution, or a better amendment. The problem is in forcing the government to obey the Constitution.

And if we are unable to force the government to abide by the current Constitution, maybe Mark Levin and those of his stripe can explain to us how we will force the government to abide by a “new, improved” Constitution.

That pretty neatly sums up my own concern, as well.  I would say even more, that given the fact that conservatives are generally outnumbered in this country 2:1, that the left is better organized, funded, and has the total backing of the media, and the general ignorance and immorality that abound in our nation today, the likelihood that a constitutional convention would have a happy result, and would not turn into a runaway even resulting in ane ven more directly authoritarian government, is exceedingly slight.  In fact, I think it very near a pipe dream.

We should also bear in mind the experience of the first constitutional convention.  What started out as a convention to reform the Articles of Confederation quickly morphed into a small group of self-proclaimed enlightened men completely scrapping the existing national government and proposing a total replacement.  Now, it certainly had a lot of pluses and worked quite well for a long time (at least materially), but it also ushered in a far more powerful, centralized national government and ultimately laid the ground work – for all its brilliance – for the point we have arrived at today.  That is to say, as good as it was, and it was in many respects excellent (but did have the paramount failure to place Jesus Christ clearly as the ultimate Source from which governmental authority was derived, and point to Him as our perfect King), it has still failed to prevent a tyrannous government from arising.  The checks and balances were insufficient to prevent the document from simply being ignored, or distorted beyond the conception of its creators.

And we think we might do better, today, with this cast of characters running the show?  I’m sorry, that seems the height of hubris, and folly.

I don’t think this nation can be turned around, “saved,” if you will, by political means.  A country wherein the vast majority of the populace is rabidly amoral (and blindingly ignorant) is not the seed-bed from which liberty flows. We get the government we deserve, and all that. You may disagree, but I really don’t see, practically, how conservatives would have a prayer of dominating at any such convention, and that is what it would take.

No, I fear if a constitutional convention is called, we could kiss what religious liberty, what freedom of speech, what freedom of press and assembly, and what freedom to keep and bear arms we have today pretty much goodbye.  But we’d probably get constitutionally assured “free” contraception, sex changes bodily mutilation, STD testing, and abortions.

Only one person can save this nation now:

Our Lady of the Expectation



How to ruin a fair book in one brief statement [A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics]

So I’ve always wanted to learn a bit more about the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. I think the Byzantine Empire generally gets very short shrift in the West.  It’s just basically ignored, or at most a footnote. But the Byzantine Empire preserved very high standards of  the Greco-Roman civilization for centuries after the West had been reduced to bare barbarism, and, more importantly, largely kept Islam out of Eastern and Central Europe single-handedly.  They preserved a great deal of ancient knowledge that, when transferred back west during the course of the Crusades, greatly assisted in the great achievements of the High Middle Ages.

So I got a mass market book that provides a sparse but fairly useful broad overview of the thousand-year run of the Byzantine Empire from the collapse of Rome to its sad fall to the Turkish Mohammadans in the 1450s.  It’s called Byzantium by Giles Morgan.  It was a pretty fair book, though much of it read as if it had been cobbled together from Wikipedia and other online sources.  But it did about what it was sold to do in workmanlike, if far from inspired, fashion – give a very brief synopsis of the high points of Byzantine history.

But ate the very end the author made a statement that was so hair-pullingly inane that it really undermined whatever worth the rest of the work held.  In fact, the author made a similar statement early on that I let pass.  But once it was repeated I had to assume he really believed what he was saying.  Here it is:

Within the arena of modern popular culture, Byzantium continues to fascinate in ways that often deeply divide opinion.  The best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, caused huge controversy with his questioning of the origins of Christianity, and, in particular, with his suggestion……..that Constantine the Great had invented the divinity of Jesus Christ, turning Him from a man into a God through the medium of the Council of Nicaea.  

Well……..that’s true.  It’s true in the sense that 2001: a space odyssey continues to polarize students of the history of the manned space race between the Americans and Soviets, what with its claims of manned missions to Jupiter in 1999 and the proof of intelligent life off the planet earth uncovered on the moon.

That is to say, it’s not true at all.  It’s completely, totally made up, and is “controversial” only in the sense that any outrageously stupid and obviously false claim is controversial.

Talk about obliterating the credibility of the author.  The history of Byzantium is inexorably bound up with the Christian Faith.  And to reveal such a shocking, mind-blowing ignorance of the subject matter at hand – there are literally thousands of references to the Divinity of Jesus Christ prior to the Council of Nicaea, including the entire Canon of the New Testament – reveals a level of ignorance of the subject matter under study that it simply beggars the imagination.  Sadly, but predictably, especially given the modern-day progressive milieu from which the Brit Giles Morgan hails, the author appears to feel that Dan Brown’s fabulist screed is as worthy of belief/debate as orthodox Christian belief, instead of simply completely dismissing them as ludicrous as any responsible historian would do.  That is the only conclusion I can reach from his twice mentioning Brown’s claims, in a book on a subject matter which really merited no such inclusion.

It is almost like he was trying, in a rather underhanded way, to cast doubt on Christian belief for his (presumed) reading audience. Obviously, knuckle-dragging faithful Christians haven’t the least interest in history, right?

So, can anyone make a recommendation for a decent one-volume history of the Byzantine Empire and its culture?




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That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill XML 22:00, Thursday, 21 January 23:00, Thursday, 21 January
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Zippy Catholic XML 22:00, Thursday, 21 January 23:00, Thursday, 21 January
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