Wednesday, July 29, 2009
If you have never seen a solemn Traditional Latin Mass, this is a must see. Particularly well done is the Gregorian chant.
This aspect of the Traditional Latin Mass is a direct reflection of the Temple worship of the Old Testament. In the Old Law the Hebrew people were required to be present at the sacrifices, and to join their prayers to those of the priest offering the sacrifice. However, the altar of sacrifice was above where the people congregated for the sacrifice, and the priest faced away from the people and toward the Holy of Holies when the sacrifice was being offered. As a result, the people could neither see or hear clearly what the priest was doing or saying. However, they knew what he was doing, and they joined into his actions and prayers with their own prayers.
When the high priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies, itself, he would disappear behind the temple veil, and even though the people could neither see him nor hear him, they still joined their prayers to his as he bore the blood of the sacrifice. Each man and woman present offered their own unique prayers, with their own unique needs, with the prayers of the high priest.
This is the same at the Traditional Latin Mass when the priest offers, during the Canon, the one sacrifice of Calvary. The people assisting, even though they can not hear the words of the prayers, or see the actions of the priest, are united to that one Great Act, offering in unity with the prayers of the priest their own unique prayers with their own unique needs. No two people have the same needs, nor does everyone carry the same cross. This kind of prayer is genuinely full and active participation, more so than merely repeating from rote “Mass parts.” This is sacrificial prayer!
This is the kind of prayer prayed by Mary the Mother of God, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. John at the sacrifice on Calvary, the very same sacrifice that is re-presented at every Mass. The High Priest on Calvary offered up this Supreme Sacrifice mostly in complete silence. Only seven times did the High Priest speak during the three long hours that He hung on the Cross. Mary, the Mother of the High Priest, St. Mary Magdalen the Penitent, and St. John the Beloved spoke not a single word. Instead each offered her and his unique prayers at that moment in unity with the sacrifice being offered. This is only fitting, as each came from very different backgrounds, each brought to the Cross different needs, petitions, and unique experiences of the watershed event of the Incarnation.
And so it is with us, today, at the Traditional Latin Mass. The priest, when he comes to the prayers of the Canon, retires into the Holy of Holies, just as did the high priest of the Old Law’s Temple. He enters into the inner sanctuary, his words flowing like a rushing stream toward that most intimate of moments, the consecration and elevation, our Visitation! Then with the same flow, the priest prays to the Pater Noster, conscious of the awesome mystery in his midst. Just like the Hebrew people in the Temple, the lay faithful do not need to hear or see what the priest is doing. In the wisdom of the Traditional Latin Mass, the people are given the silence, the spiritual space, to offer in unity with the sacrifice, their unique prayers and needs. This is sacrificial prayer!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It is for them [progressive/liberal Catholics] an encounter with the monster under the bed. They recoil from it.
ALL people recoil from mystery! It is terrifying!
But true Catholics with vera fides find that terrifying encounter also profoundly alluring.
And so people with that Catholic sense draw closer, quaking but inching forward all the same, eyes cast down and nevertheless seeking what may be within, seeking the encounter which will suck them dry but in turn fill them with what they cannot comprehend or attain by any merely human means.
Above all, the Traditional Latin Mass is a mystical encounter with the God Who Is. This God is He who many liberals and progressives want to avoid.
The new order of the Mass rarely rises above the mundane human encounter, focused on human action and human understanding. However, all the hand holding in the world will never turn God into our "buddy", the modernist attempt to make God into an insignificant force on the sidelines that makes humans feel good about whatever choice they should make. The "God is our buddy" movement seeks to corrupt the Catholic's understanding of God Who is the Lawgiver and Creator of an objective reality, and thereby justify relativism and every vice that comes with it.
But God is Mystery, ineffable mystery. This hand holding that justifies relativism can't change Who God is. Nor can it replace the profound power of an experience with the ineffable mystery, ultimately the only encounter that can satisfy the longing of our souls. Only the God Who is God, He that is worshiped fittingly by the Traditional Latin Mass, can satisfy our thirst.
Nota bene: Assisting at the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite brings the soul to the heights of Catholic worship. Live as a traditional Catholic for just one month, and you will desire nothing else save heaven.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Facite vobis amicos de mammona iniquitatis.
The Douay-Rheims translates this passage: “Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity”. The key to understanding this passage, however, is the Latin preposition “de”. It is often translated “of” or “concerning”, but it can also be translated “down from” or “from”. In this case, the better translation is “from”. This renders the passage: “Make you friends from the mammon of iniquity.”
The mammon of iniquity is the riches of this world, material wealth. Our Blessed Lord in today’s parable explains that the Christian can use even the material wealth of this world for God’s good pleasure.
Earthly goods, Holy Mother Church and right reason teaches us, are necessary for man’s subsistence, such as food, clothing, a dwelling-place, money, etc. All men are justified in striving to gain earthly goods after a just manner, and in possessing them as his personal property. God commanded our first parents in paradise to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1. 28). We know that both Cain and Abel sacrificed from the store of their own possessions. Indeed reason dictates that each man ought to have his own personal possessions to provide for himself and those who are dependent upon him, and to provide a right incentive for labor.
Nature, however, does not give man the right to possess anything he might wish. The right to possess them must be acquired. Primarily this right to possess earthly goods is acquired by labor. It is a noble thing for man to obtain earthly goods by the cultivation of the earth, and Holy Mother Church has always considered it a grave matter for sin to deprive the cultivator of what he haw won by the seat of his brow. Even though property as a rule is gained by labor, it may also be possessed as a free gift. Such is the case when property is bequeathed or willed.
Secondly, man must understand who the Supreme Arbiter of things is. Man is not the creator or the sufficient of cause of anything he possesses by either labor or gift. All things belong by right to God, as the Creator and Supreme Legislator. Ultimately, everything we possess, even our very selves, belongs to God. Therefore, we are required to employ the things of this world and to order all our endeavors in this world according to His will.
We treat first of the most obvious lesson in today’s Gospel, which is almsgiving, the use of wealth to elevate the sufferings of others.
The unjust steward wasted his master’s goods. Fearing a fate of digging or begging he devised a cleaver scheme—he would help those indebted to his master by writing off a portion of their debt. The fear of being sacked and having to dig or beg was in the end the only incentive that moved the unjust steward to look beyond his own self-gratification and materialism. As dishonest and criminal as his action was, the master of the unjust steward commended him for his worldly prudence. How much more will our heavenly Father commend us for redeeming our sins by being obedient to God’s will and the performance of good works? Thus Our Blessed Lord admonishes us to use the things of this world, the perishable “mammon of iniquity” to help our neighbors who are indebted due to their poverty. Of course, Our Blessed Lord does not command us to act in a dishonest or criminal way in order to give to the poor. However, we are exhorted to make the poor our friends before God, by relieving them with the material goods that justly belong to us. By this we see, that the poor servants of God, whom we have relieved by our alms, may hereafter, by their intercession, bring our souls to heaven. As Haydock says,
Almsgiving is not practiced much or very well in our time. Beggars are often looked upon with disdain, and even kicked off of the steps of our churches. The act of begging is a morally neutral act. If alms are given to a beggar in good faith, those alms are profitable to the giver no matter how the beggar should dispose of the money given. It is our hope that the beggar will use that money for his welfare, but if he doesn't, the good work still bears merit for the person who gave the alms. If one should worry about how his alms will be used, perhaps it would be better to give money and goods to local homeless shelters, or to donate perishable items or time at a food pantry or soup kitchen. These forms of almsgiving are very beneficial.What a beautiful thought this! What a consolation to the rich man, when the term of his mortal existence is approaching, to think he shall have as many advocates to plead for his admittance into the eternal mansions of rest, as he has made friends among the poor by relieving their temporal wants. The rich give to the poor earthly treasures, the latter return in recompense eternal and infinite happiness. Hence we must infer, that the advantage is all on the side of the giver; according to the saying of our Lord, happier is the condition of him who gives, than of him who receives.
Today's Gospel also has something to say concerning our society and economy. While the holding of personal property, and man’s use of personal property for his well being is an ordinance of God, based both on His Divine Law and the natural law, it can not be said that any given distribution of wealth in society is the will of God. It can not be God’s will that a small minority should enjoy a superfluity, while so many of God’s other children should live in poverty and destitution. As St. Thomas Aquinas says, this world’s riches exist only for the preservation of human life. What goes beyond the preservation of our lives, according to our social station, is an abundance that must be used to assist those who are in want. “If thou dost not give thy neighbor, who is in want, sufficient to support life, thou dost not love him,” said St. John Chrysostom. To give alms is a strict duty for those who have the means of giving them. To struggle for a more equitable distribution of wealth in our society is everyone's Catholic responsibility.
The means to achieving a just distribution of wealth are subject to various opinions, but it must be admitted that any means of distributing wealth that lays the burden on one class, or punishes ingenuity and labor in order to reward the slothful is to be avoided. There is a need for the Catholic notion of subsidarity, wherein larger government does not endeavor to do what smaller government can and ought to do. Subsidarity places the burden of social justice on local communities and families, the only two social units that can truly foster fellowship between real individual persons. A just distribution of wealth depends on fostering strong families, supporting marriage, and creating stability for the rearing of children. These things build a stable, strong society, and ensure a thorough civic education. Stable societies peopled by the civically well educated ensure a more just distribution of wealth.
There is a tendency, especially amongst conservatives in our day and age, to think men are not accountable to any one, and that man can dispose as he wills of the things in his possession. However, as St. Ambrose taught, even though we can possess earthly goods as personal property, they are never, fundamentally, our sole possessions. They ultimately belong to God, and we in this life merely have them on loan. To fetter and squander away the resources of our cultivation in pleasure and the gratification of our passions is to play the role of the unjust steward in today’s Gospel. Our resources exist so that we might serve our families and our neighbors.
However, the right use of earthly goods includes more than just almsgiving and the right distribution of wealth in society. It encompasses the way we live our whole lives. Understanding that all things belong ultimately to God, and that what we possess in this world is both perishable and merely on loan for our subsistence, gives to these things a heavenly purpose. Ordering the things of this world must be prioritized according to the salvation of our souls and the salvation of the souls of our neighbors. The natural law, of course, requires that man work to provide for his sustenance and a modest surplus to provide for contingencies that are native to this world, such as the misfortunes of sickness or financial difficulties. However, if every moment of a man’s life were engrossed in the business of self-maintenance, there would be no time to attend to the higher business of his eternal interests. What use is it to fill up one’s bins, if tomorrow the Good Lord should ask for one’s soul? What good is all that grain that has been stored if one has not attended to the needs of one’s eternal salvation?
A right management of one’s earthly goods begins with a right management of one’s time. Our modern society seems very cognizant of the fact that time is a commodity. “Time is money.” If time is a commodity in the secular world, how much more of a commodity it is in the business of eternal salvation! In comparison to eternity, God has allotted just a few very precious years on this earth to choose either eternal beatification or eternal punishment. The time is short. We must be very economical in our use of time in this world if we are to use this time for the salvation of our souls. Our day’s routine should be structured around our spiritual lives. The day needs to begin with the morning offering and prayer. As the day progresses it should be structured around spiritual exercises. Praying the Angelus three times a day, in the morning, noon and evening is an excellent way to add a spiritual “skeleton” to the day. Our days need to end with prayer and an examination of conscience. There are plethora of spiritual exercises and devotions that are designed to make our time holy, not the least of these being the hours of the Divine Office, or the Breviary. A good way for the lay faithful to benefit from the Breviary is to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the day. Another invaluable resource for the traditional Catholic family is to set aside times especially for family prayer, such as the family rosary or Vespers on Sunday evenings. A solid hour to an hour and half for prayer and mediation ought to be dispersed throughout the day.
The right management of our earthly goods also includes the management of our households. Amongst the Hebrews of the Old Testament, the management of the household was the special task of the wife. We see from the Proverbs woman the supreme height of professionalism that is required to manage a household. For this reason, the ninth commandment stands alone the more ancient Catholic method of counting the Ten Commandments. To covet a man’s wife is more than just lusting for another man’s wife. For the Hebrew, to covet another man’s wife was to be envious of his very way of life. A man’s wife is the person who defines the family’s way of life.
However, managing a household is more than just making schedules and following them, assigning chores, and balancing the budget. It involves something much more metaphysical, and requires the participation of all the members of the home. The proper management of the household begins with maintaining a right attitude. In order to manage a household properly, all the members, under the direction of Mom, of course, must strive to maintain Christian principles. Education is absolutely central in the Catholic home. In order to strive to maintain Christian principles, these principles must be known and cherished. This is, Holy Mother Church has always taught us, the primary responsibility of the parents. It is primarily the parent’s responsibility to educate their children, in all things, not just religion. In our modern society, the school system, and we see this even in the case of the Catholic school system, has become the primary educator of children. While schools can be useful tools for parents, they ought not to become the instrument of primary education. When the schools usurp the parent’s responsibility to educate, society suffers. We are seeing now the adverse affects of a society that is denying the parent’s responsibility to teach their children.
Attending to the maintenance of one’s household, especially maintaining functionality, is very critical for the mission of the Catholic family. Attention needs to be paid to the finances. The right use of money requires the joint efforts of all the members of the family. The day to day chores are rightly meted out to different family members, but the maintaining of functionality that specifically requires physical labor has always been the responsibility of the father. Those “honey do” lists aren’t just an inconvenience on a Saturday morning or afternoon, they are an integral part of the vocation of the husband and father. St. Joseph ought to be the prime example for all husbands and fathers in this regard. The Gospels do not record a single word spoken by St. Joseph. He did not wax eloquently. His wife did. He didn't enter into conversation with the angel of God. His wife did. He did, however, stand by his wife and his adopted Child, a silent but steady rock of certainty, laboring not just for the livelihood of his family, but for the proper maintenance of their home. Indeed, those “honey do” lists, as important ingredients of the vocation, are means of salvation for the husband and father.
The management of the household also includes, in a more important way than one might realize, decor. The arrangement of a house’s decor ought to be modest, comfortable, and identifiably Catholic. There needs to be reminders, such as holy pictures, statues, and especially a crucifix in every room, of our final and true goal in this life. To grow up in a Catholic environment, and to live in a Catholic environment is extremely important. Do not neglect sacramentals, such as holy water founts near the doors, blessed chalk, and using candles blessed at Candlemass. Maintain a home altar, and especially give place in the home for images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Blessed Mother. These sacred images and sacramentals bring innumerable blessings upon the home.
The right management of our earthly goods, of course, includes providing for the needs of the Church. It is one of the six precepts of the Church to provide for the welfare of our pastors. This is a necessity. How pathetic our faith if our priests, who bring us Christ in the sacraments of the Church, should suffer base want and not be provided for by the faithful! It is also, likewise, extremely laudable for those who have the means to establish and support religious institutions. This is absolutely necessary in our day and age.
The right management of our earthly goods also requires us to take care of the world in which we live. We squander God’s gifts if we spoil them for future generations. However, there is a right conservation, one that starts and ends with the heavenly purpose of God’s creation, and a loathsome conservation, which a Godless world proposes as a new religion. The modern secular world has elevated conservation to a religion, a religion that does not include the Supreme Conservator. Once God was excluded from the consideration of the natural world, the next step of excluding man from the natural world quickly followed. There’s a television series on the History Channel called Life After People, the point of which is to speculate how the natural world will react to the absence of human beings. It isn’t so much scientific speculation as to what would happen if man were out of the picture. It is presented as an investigation of what will happen when people disappear. That man will fail is presented as an inevitable conclusion. As the series name implies, what is being proposed is that there will come a day when there will be life after people, and what’s more, it is considered as a positive thing. What the television series, Life After People, proclaims is the new religion of conservation that has excluded God, and as a result has developed the dogma that human life is something concerning which we should be ashamed.
Traditional Catholics, however, ought to have a very different conception of the natural world, one wherein all things are considered with their heavenly purpose in sight. In the liturgical cycle Holy Mother Church offers us, four times a year, an excellent opportunity to reflect on the natural world, it’s purpose, and our use of it. Ember days, celebrated during Advent, Lent, the week after Pentecost, and in September, are days of fasting, abstinence and prayer offered in thanksgiving for the turning of the seasons and the fruits that the earth brings forth by our cultivation. It is truly a great shame that just as the secular world was renewing an interest in conservation, the Church all but abandoned the practice of ember days. As a result, the Church has been silenced in the greater debate over conservation. Renewing our practice of the ember days is an important step in reasserting the truth that the natural world is a gift from God. What’s more, this gift from God is ordered, not in isolation from the human species, but is specifically ordered toward the welfare of man who is God’s most supreme creation. God created the world specifically to bring about the beatification of man.
To use the things of this world for a heavenly purpose requires heroic virtue. It’s easy to give to a charity, to write a check from our surplus wealth. It is quite another to sacrifice the pleasures of this world to use earthly goods according to God’s will. Take for example St. Christina, whom we commemorated on Thursday. She bravely took her father’s golden idols, broke them to pieces, and then distributed the pieces among the poor. As a consequence, St. Christina endured the wrath of her earthly father and eventually martyrdom. This isn’t a matter of writing a check out to some charity. It is a matter of living our lives completely dedicated to the will of God. Doing the will of God is always a real sacrifice that goes beyond our human abilities.
But, nonetheless, Our Blessed Lord is calling us to take the golden idols that we can find scattered about our own homes and destroy them. He is calling us to take these idols that distract us from the worship of the true God, break them to pieces, metaphorically perhaps, and distribute the pieces for a Christian purpose, for almsgiving or the support of the Church. How much money could be used for the will of God by eliminating just one convenience, pleasure or distraction from our homes?
And that is easier said than done.
We are not, however, debtors to the flesh, as St. Paul reminded the Romans. On the contrary, by the Spirit we mortify the deeds of the flesh, and thereby we live. Grace enables us to accomplish these heroic virtues. Today in the collect we beseech the Lord to grant us the spirit to think and do always such things as are rightful. If we ask the Lord to give us the graces to perform His will, He will not disappoint. It is in this spirit that we approach the altar, knowing that on our own we can accomplish nothing, but by the grace of God we are made sons of God, joint heirs with Christ.
“Taste and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopeth in Him.”
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Home Altar or Shrine
"Every home-church should have at least some little altar or shrine, a place fo rthe family to kneel and pray. It should, of course, be blessed. It need not be pretentious – perhaps only a little table or a shelf affixed to the wall. On it may well be placed a crucifix and a few candles; above it, a sacred picture. A vigil light can be kept available for use at least on special occasions. Children, properly instructed, will consider it a privilege to care for this little domestic shrine."
-From Customs & Traditions of the Catholic Family, "Your Home, A Church in Miniature", Neumann Press, 1996
"Today, most homes are dominated by the ‘entertainment center’, which has, indeed, become the center of the home and life of so many people. Have you ever noticed when you drive through a typical suburban neighborhood at dusk in the summer how eerie is the sedated environment? Things are definitely different from when I was young. There are no longer any laughing children catching fire-flies. There are no longer groups of people sitting on their porches talking and laughing with their friends, neighbors and family. Instead there is a sad silence, and, of course, the sickeningly greenish and bluish, flickering glow cast upon each of the living-room windows, streaming mindlessly from the entertainment center. Is this not idolatry? Is this not the worship of a false god, enshrined upon the altar we call the entertainment center? Isn't it frightening to imagine the dumb eyes of thousands of people, absorbing without thought what their false god teaches them from that box?"
-From a homily given at the Pontifical College Josephinum, 1990.
The following is a brief summary of the relevant points that you can read here at FishEaters regarding home altars or shrines:
In contradistinction to the television in the typical modern home, the Catholic home has the home altar or shrine as the "center", a place where the family can gather for rosaries or family novenas, a place of refuge for private prayer, especially in the morning and evening, spiritual reading and Lectio Divina.
A home altar can be adorned with a crucifix, statues or images of Our Lady, St. Joseph, the patron saint of the family, icons, candles (especially candles blessed at Candlemas), blessed palms from Palm Sunday and holy cards. Keeping a list of deceased family members at the home shrine is always a good way to remind us to pray for the members of the family who have passed from this world. Keeping a small library, consisting of maybe a bible, spiritual reading, the breviary or the Little Office of the Virgin Mary, helps to facilitate the home altar as a special place set aside for prayer and reflection. Lighting candles, burning incense and playing some Gregorian chant when appropriate helps to set a mood wherein the children can realize that prayer is something sacred and special, and should be taken seriously.
The home altar can be decorated according the various liturgical seasons, and getting the children involved in decorating and maintaining the home altar or shrine is a great way to teach the children to respect and care for sacred things. This helps the liturgical seasons come a live so that children feel as though they are part of something bigger than their family.
The more time we spend as families in prayer at the home altar or shrine, and the less time we spend mindlessly absorbing the television’s fleeting images and subtle messages often at odds with the message of the Gospel, the closer we bring ourselves to the life of Our Blessed Lord, the less cluttered our minds become, the clearer we see the world in which we live and the closer we get to a contemplative prayer life.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
This chart was provided at this website page.
In October of 1988 the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) was erected as an institute of pontifical right by Pope John Paul II. At that time the Fraternity had 12 priests. Twenty years later, the Fraternity grew to 219 priests.
That is an astonishing 86.25% annual growth rate!
Lets put this into perspective. The total number of priests in the United States in 1985 was 57,317. By 2008 that number shrank to 40,580. This comes out to an annual growth rate of -1.27%.
The mainstream priesthood is quickly disappearing, while the traditional Catholic priesthood is growing at an incredible rate. As the mainstream, new order Church winds itself down into oblivion, the future of the Catholic Church is clearly traditional Catholicism.
The new foundation of Discalced Carmelites nuns in Elysburg was founded due to the overflowing number of vocations to the Discalced Carmelites in Valparaiso, Nebraska. The incredible growth of traditional Catholic communities and orders is an indication as to the future of the Catholic Church.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Amerio's Iota Unum is an opus magnus that explains with clarity and accuracy the crisis that confronts the modern Catholic, the landscape of a modern Catholicism devastated by an alien anthropoloy and metaphysic at odds with Catholic Tradition and idenity. Familiarity with the writings of Amerio, and understanding his thought, are crucial for gaining an insight into the problems faced by today's Catholics who would be sincere in the faith they profess.
That Amerio's thought is gaining a new hearing is evidence that many, even those in the highest places of Church governance, are starting to see the devastation that has been wrought by a century that has forsaken traditional Catholicism, traditional liturgy, doctrine, identity, heritage and culture. Especially the last forty years of innovation has brought about a period of unpresidented confusion, brought on by weak leaders, uncontested heresy in nearly every corner of the Church, and a near total collapse of Catholic identity in the pews of the new order churches.
Here's a portion of Magister's treatment:
Many of the variations analyzed in "Iota unum" – although just one of them would suffice, one "iota," according to Matthew 5:18, from which the book's title is taken – would lead the reader to think that there has been an essential mutation in the Church. But Amerio analyzes, he does not judge. Or better, as the fully formed Christian that he is, he leaves the judgment of God. And he recalls that "portae inferi non praevalebunt," meaning that for the faith, it is impossible to think that the Church could lose its way. There will always be continuity with Tradition, even if it is amid turbulence that obscures it and leads one to think the contrary.
There is a close connection between the questions posed in "Iota unum" and Benedict XVI's address to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005, a fundamental address in terms of the interpretation of Vatican Council II and its relationship with Tradition.
This does not change the fact that the state of the Church as described by Amerio is anything but peaceful.
In the address on December 22, 2005, Benedict XVI compared the babel of the contemporary Church with the upheaval in the fourth century after the Council of Nicaea, described at the time by Saint Basil as "a naval battle in the darkness of a storm."
In the afterword that Enrico Maria Radaelli, a loyal disciple of Amerio, publishes at the end of this revised edition of "Iota unum," the current situation is instead compared to the Western Schism, meaning the forty years between the 14th and 15th centuries before the Council of Constance, with Christianity leaderless and without a sure "rule of the faith," divided between two or even three popes at one time.
Magister includes a snippet of Enrico Maria Radaelli's afterward to the current edition:
He [Amerio] identifies and indicates a crisis in the Church, a crisis that even seems to overpower it, but demonstrates that it has not overpowered it; that seems to ruin it, but has not ruined it.In the last pages of Iota Unum, after an exhaustive compilation of the crisis, Amerio makes no clear predictions as to what or how the crisis will be overcome. It seems he heralds a note a despair, as though the crisis might be the Abomination of Desolation. There is hope, however, and we can safely conclude from his work that this hope resides only in continuity with Tradition. In some small corner, perhaps, continuity will continue amongst a "faithful remnant" of traditional Catholics. In closing Iota Unum, Amerio wrote:
He then clearly identifies the first cause of this crisis in a shift that is anthropological, and metaphysical even more.
Finally, he identifies and indicates the logical instruments (inscribed in the Logos) that are necessary and sufficient (heroically sufficient, but sufficient) to overcome it.
And Amerio does this by developing a "model of continuity" with Tradition, of ordered and therefore perfect obedience to the pope, of intimate adherence to the immediate rule of the faith, which would seem to clarify in full the correct understanding of that "hermeneutics of continuity" called for by Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005, in order to stay safely on the path of reason, which is to say on the path of salvation, or on the path of the Church in pursuit of life.
Romano Amerio: yes, he was a critic, but never a discontinuist. This entirely Amerian "model of continuity" is waiting only to be recognized at last, or better, to be appreciated at last. Who knows: perhaps even followed, for the common good (theoretical and practical, philosophical and ethical, doctrinal and liturgical) of the City of God, with the simplicity and courage necessary.
If the use of ambiguity and contradictions was able to effect an anthropological revolution toward the most empty fantasies, all the more so will it be possible to effect, with less effort, a more sound anthropological revolution toward Reality, since it is easier to be simple than complex.
The Church will continue to open itself up to the world and to conform itself to that world, that is, it will continue to undo its own nature; but its supernatural life will survive, restricted to a faithful remnant, and its supernatural end will continue to be pursued faithfully by that part of it which is left in the world. The misleading well-being of a Church that is dissolving itself in the world will be matched by the progressive contraction and wretchedness of a small number of people, a tiny minority that seems insignificant and doomed to die, but which in fact contains the concentration of God's elect, an indefectible witness to the true faith. The Church will be a handful of defeated men.
Here we see both the pessimism and optimism that is so common amongst traditional Catholics. Traditional Catholics are that wretched, tiny minority that seems insignificant and doomed to die in the face of a mainstream Catholicism that every day spirals closer and closer to a complete melding with the world of men. This faithful remnant has stood against the storms of heresy and corruption, and continues to do so even now, holding out a beacon of light to those who struggle in the stormy dark night of error. The Church continues, a handful of defeated men, traditional Catholics, and will continue to the very end.
There has been an influx into the Church of those who have, with or without malice, imbibed the spirit of "the Enlightenment," and there's been a full-scale, deliberate infiltration by outright malicious political enemies and religious heretics who share the goals and tactics of those who hold to "Enlightenment" ideals. Manning Johnson, a former official of the Communist Party in America, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953:
Once the tactic of infiltration of religious organizations was set by the Kremlin... the Communists discovered that the destruction of religion could proceed much faster through the infiltration of the Church by Communists operating within the Church itself. The Communist leadership in the United States realized that the infiltration tactic in this country would have to adapt itself to American conditions and the religious makeup peculiar to this country. In the earliest stages it was determined that with only small forces available to them, it would be necessary to concentrate Communist agents in the seminaries. The practical conclusion drawn by the Red leaders was that these institutions would make it possible for a small Communist minority to influence the ideology of future clergymen in the paths conducive to Communist purposes... The policy of infiltrating seminaries was successful beyond even our communist expectations.
A Catholic monk who heard ex-Communist Bella Dodd speak at Fordham University in the 1950s had this to say:
I listened to that woman for four hours and she had my hair standing on end. Everything she said has been fulfilled to the letter. You would think she was the world's greatest prophet, but she was no prophet. She was merely exposing the step-by-step battle plan of Communist subversion of the Catholic Church. She explained that of all the world's religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by the Communists, for it was its only effective opponent.
The whole idea was to destroy, not the institution of the Church, but rather the Faith of the people, and even use the institution of the Church, if possible, to destroy the Faith through the promotion of a pseudo-religion: something that resembled Catholicism but was not the real thing.
Once the Faith was destroyed, she explained that there would be a guilt complex introduced into the Church…. to label the ‘Church of the past’ as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries. This would be necessary in order to shame Church leaders into an ‘openness to the world,’ and to a more flexible attitude toward all religions and philosophies. The Communists would then exploit this openness in order to undermine the Church.
In the human element of our Church, we are seeing the results of this infiltration coupled with the effects of the pressures of secular materialism and sheer hedonism in the popular culture.
Know this: true Catholic teaching has not changed -- cannot change -- in any manner indicative of contradiction. It doesn't matter if 99 out of 100 priests say X, or if every single theologian who calls himself "Catholic" teaches X, or if even the Pope himself teaches X; if X is not truly consistent with Scripture and Tradition, then X is not an infallible Catholic teaching. It is as simple as that. Doctrine may be expounded on and explained more fully, and a doctrine that has always been believed may be clarified and raised to the level of dogma, but what was true 50 years ago is still true today, and anything that is not consistent with that Truth cannot be true. This is logic 101, the principle on non-contradiction in action. There is no mystery to it. In order to be a good Catholic, you simply must come to learn what the Church has always taught. And in order to fully benefit (in the subjective order) from the Church's liturgy, you must to do all you can to worship the way the Church has always worshiped.
So then, how to know what was taught 50 years ago before things got crazy? Easy: read catechisms 3 and papal encyclicals published before the Council. But let me give you a quick rundown of the basic errors you will see taught even by some of our most powerful hierarchs:
- The Error: A new ecclesiology that doesn't equate the Catholic Church with the Church established by Jesus Christ, but states that the Church established by Jesus Christ is merely partly contained in the Catholic Church in a vague, undefined way -- a confusion arising over controversies in understanding the true and intended meaning of the word "subsistet" in Vatican II's "Lumen Gentium." The meaning of "subsistet" is debated in traditionalist circles, with some seeing the word as perfectly acceptable if understood correctly, and with others seeing contradiction in its use.
The Truth: To do less than equate the Catholic Church with Christ's Mystical Body contradicts Pope Pius XII's '"Mystici Corporis Christi'' among other papal documents, and leads to false ideas of ecumenism ("ecumenism," in itself, is fine as long as conversion is the goal, Truth is not watered-down, etc.).
- The Error: An acceptance -- deriving from modernist interpretations of "Lumen Gentium" -- of collegiality, the idea that there exists a "college of Bishops" at all times (rather than just during Ecumenical Councils) which has authority and jurisdiction over the Church. This idea has weakened the papacy, attempted to democratize the Church by destroying the monarchial relationship between the Pope and his Bishops, and has made bishops' conferences a veritable "second Vicar of Christ" for the Church. This contradicts, among other documents, Pope Leo XIII's ''Satis Cognitum'' and even the "Nota Praevia'' to ''Lumen Gentium.''
The Truth: Catholic teaching is that the Keys were given to Peter (Matthew 16), that he and his successors are the Vicars of Christ who are blessed with the charism of infallibility which is exercised in very specific ways, and who have full and supreme authority over the Church apart from any other human being. Bishops derive their authority from him, who receives it from Christ. They have no authority apart from him and do not constitute an alternate or equal authority -- neither individually, nor collectively.
- The Error: A deflated view of the papacy and Magisterium on the part of "progressives," and an inflated view of the papacy and the Magisterium on the part of conservative Catholics who misunderstand papal infallibility and the different levels of the Magisterium.
The Truth: The Pope exercises his infallibility under very specific conditions. The Magisterium -- the teaching authority of the Church -- has three levels, not two, and only two of those levels are infallible. That which falls outside the Extraordinary Magisterium or the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is fallible. It is most certainly owed religious assent, but not if it leads to sin, to error, harm of souls, etc.
- The Error: an overly strong focus on the dignity of man coupled with an over-emphasis on the natural virtues (as opposed to the supernatural virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity which come from God alone rather than nature). This ignores original sin and the need for supernatural grace, leading to a sort of Utopianism that sees peace as possible without recognizing the Kingship of Christ, and seemingly gives the Church a new mission: peace on earth rather than the salvation of souls. This attitude, and teachings rooted in it, contradict Pope Pius X's "Quas Primas'', Pope Leo XIII's "Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae,'' ''Rerum Novarum,'' Pope Pius X's ''Notre charge apostolique,'' and other papal and conciliar documents that deal with social teaching.
The Truth: There is no peace without the Prince of Peace. Man has lost his likeness to God through original sin, and this likeness can only be restored through supernatural grace. Without this likeness, there will be strife among peoples and nations, and no amount of "Can't we all just get along?" thinking can overcome it. The purpose of the Church and all Her laws is the salvation of souls. Peace on earth is a fruit of man's regaining his likeness to God through the Sacraments and faith, but not the Church's primary goal.
- The Error: An embracing of false ideas of religious liberty and the radical separation of Church and State (as opposed to recognizing them as two distinct spheres, the secular being informed by -- but not controlled by -- the religious). This contradicts the oldest teaching of the Church, Leo XIII's "Testem Benevolentiae Nostra," etc.
The Truth: While it is often (perhaps more often than not) prudent and beneficial to the common good to tolerate error, while no one may ever be forced to believe against his conscience, and while those in error must be treated with charity and simple kindness, error has no positive "rights" in itself. A State whose laws are not based on natural law, whose laws don't have the Christian understanding of the True, Good, and Beautiful at their center, and whose laws don't have the good of the souls of its citizens/subjects at their heart is bound to lead to trouble with great eternal and temporal consequences.
If one stops to think about it, it is quite obvious that there are only a few options in this regard:
- We can have no rule of law at all.
- We can have a rule of law based on Catholic morality.
- We can have a rule of law based on Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, or other non-Catholic views of morality, and have our civic holidays and symbolism based on that belief system.
- We can have a rule of law based on "secular precepts" of radical individualism and tolerance for the sake of tolerance, the effects of which:
deny any role of religion or of the religious in the public sphere unless those religions and religious deny the precepts of their own religions. This forces the religious into "schizophrenic" lives split in half between their "religious, private selves" and their "public, political selves";
end in abortion, "homosexual marriage," euthanasia, divorce, rampant pornography, un-Catholic economic systems, attacks on the family via social programs (or, in a libertarian system of this sort, result in no support via acknowledgment of the rights of fathers), etc. One need not be religious to see the social effects of such policies;
secularize historically Christian holidays and symbolism in order to appease all religions, either denying those things any civic status at all, or forcing recognition of these aspects of all religious systems equally, giving equal weight in law, for ex., to Satanism, Scientology, and Catholicism;
sacrifice: man's needs for culture (rooted in the word "cult"); a society's need of a shared vision of the Good, True, and Beautiful; and a sense of historical continuity and rootedness, all in favor of ideologies which have shown themselves to be divisive and socially and psychologically unsatisfying.
That's it. Those are the options. Which is the right choice for a Catholic? Which ends in sanity? Which builds community, a sense of place, of belonging and rootedness? Which system is more likely to be coherent and lead to happiness? Which is consistent with Catholic teaching? And, most importantly, which is most likely to lead to the salvation of souls?
- We can have no rule of law at all.
- The Error: The spread of a false ecumenism (movement toward unity between Christians) and incessant, fruitless interreligious dialogue (dialogue between Christians and non-Christians) that has as its goal a religious unity that doesn't require conversion to the Catholic faith; that has served to water down the Catholic Faith in order to appease non-Catholics; and that has led to scandalous "interfaith" prayer and worship services that are based on sentiment and feelings rather than true charity which is rooted in Truth. This contradicts Sacred Scripture, Pope Pius X's "Our Apostolic Mandate" ("Notre Charge Apostolique"), Pope Pius XI's ''Mortalium Animos,'' Pope Pius XII's ''Humani Generis'' and other documents.
The Truth: While understanding between the practitioners of various religions is quite good, and while it is a wonderful thing -- a Christ-commanded thing! -- to have warm, charitable relations with non-Catholics, it is a dogma of the Faith that "outside the Church there is no salvation" ("extra ecclesiam nulla salus"). To gain a proper understanding of this very subtle and very often misunderstood (even by traditionalists) teaching, see the relevant paragraphs on the page "Catholicism 101: A Brief Primer."
- The Error: A new view of ecclesiastical tradition that sees it as extremely changeable and has led to dangerous modifications in Catholic practices, liturgy, and disciplines, and to an embracing of novelty which had been unheard of it the Church before the Second Vatican Council. This contradicts, among other papal and conciliar documents, Pope Pius X's Motu Proprio ''Sacrorum antistitum'' (an oath taken by all priests prior to the Council), Pope Gregory XVI's ''Mirari Vos'', the Fourth Anathema of the Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, the teaching of the First Vatican Council, especially the document ''Pastor Aeternus" and the ''Fourth Anathema of the Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea'' which reads, "If anyone rejects any written or unwritten Tradition of the Church, let him be anathema."
The Truth: Ecclesiastical traditions can change over time, but they must do so only organically -- and never if the changes harm souls, lead to sin, damage the understanding of the Faith, etc. One of the three Pillars of the Church is Tradition; it must be guarded, whether those traditions are written or unwritten.
- The Error: a new and critical attitude towards Sacred Scripture that contradicts Leo XIII's ''Providentissimus Deus'' and Benedict XV's ''Spiritus Paraclitus'' among other documents.
The Truth: Sacred Scripture is inerrant, divinely inspired, and historically and scientifically accurate even though some parts of it are to be read poetically or metaphorically. Proper interpretation of Sacred Scripture can be known by reading the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and by reading infallible definitions from Popes and Councils convened by Popes.
- The Error: An ignoring of the fact that the Church and the world are at variance with one another to some degree, and that the Church has enemies. This ignores Sacred Scripture, Pope Pius X's warnings in ''Pascendi Dominici Gregis,'' Leo XIII's ''Humanum Genus'', and many other papal warnings against secret societies and enemies of Christendom. The most obvious and dangerous way in which our hierarchs are betraying the Catholic Faith is in a new attitude toward Judaism, a religion that is not the religion of the Old Testament, but is Pharisaic rabbinism based on the explicitly anti-Christ Talmud rather than on Torah.
The Truth: The Church has always had enemies and will always have enemies until the end of time. Toward the end of time, Antichrist will come and lead these enemies to persecute the Church as She follows Christ in His Passion and Resurrection.
- The Error: A new "Paschal theology" which de-emphasizes the Sacrificial aspects of our salvation and which leads the faithful to believe that it is Christ's Resurrection alone, and not the Blood shed by His Sacrifice on the Cross, that saves. The revision of the Mass liturgy under Pope Paul VI is a fruit of this "paschal theology," a theology that contradicts Scripture and Encyclicals such as Pope Pius XII's "Mediator Dei''. This paschal theology also de-emphasizes the meaning of suffering, ignoring Christ's admonition to Christians to "take up their crosses" (Matthew 10:38), and forgetting St. Paul's admonitions to mortify the flesh (Galatians 5:18-25, Colossians 1:23-24).
The Truth: 1 Corinthians 1:23 "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness." We get to the Resurrection through the Cross; we have to pick up our own crosses and follow Him.
In addition to these errors, post-conciliar changes in liturgical rites and religious disciplines have gravely damaged the Church and the faithful's understanding of the holy religion. Foremost among these changes is the new Order of the Mass (the Novus Ordo Missae) that is rooted in the aforementioned Paschal Theology and which, therefore, de-emphasizes traditional Catholic teaching that the Mass is a Sacrifice (the offering up of Jesus to to assuage the Father's wrath at our evil ways, in a re-presentation of Calvary and for the remission of sins).
The Novus Ordo Missae (the Mass published after Vatican II) has been stripped of important Catholic prayers; is open to abuse because of the various options allowed; de-emphasizes the ordained priesthood; is divisive because of the eradiction of Latin which brought people of various nations together; is subjectively more man-centered; includes an order of readings that omits controversial things (Hell, Pharisaism, miracles, etc.); and is less beautiful, poetic, and able to act as a sign of Mystery, etc. Some of these problems are summarized in the ''Ottaviani Intervention'' and on the "Introduction to the Traditional Mass" page in the "Being Catholic" section of this site. Consider what goes on liturgically in a typical parish, and then contrast it with the traditional Order of the Mass. Also in the "Being Catholic" section of this site, you can contrast the sacramental rites you see in your parish with the traditional rites of Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Matrimony, and Unction ("Annointing of the Sick").
In the area of discipline come changes that have served to lead people to believe that Catholicism is a religion that doesn't reflect the deep meaning of the Incarnation. The signs, symbols, and external rites that had always served to discipline the body, inspire holy thoughts, and feed the imagination have been stripped away. Church buildings have been emptied of their statues and other icons. Religious habits and cassocks which once inspired respect and holy thoughts are rare. Fasting and Friday abstinence from eating meat, though still the universal law of the Church, are ignored as Bishops' conferences have their way with them, R.C.I.A. clases don't teach them, and lay Catholics simply ignore them. The customs of the liturgical year and the ways and rhythms of the Catholic home are disappearing. All of these things once had the effect of binding Catholics together as a single people -- a catholic (universal) people -- by giving them, as Latin did (and still does for traditionalists), a common cultural "language."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The problem Bill Donohue and the rest of the new order establishment is having owes to the fact that it is now impossible to distinguish who is faithful and who is not faithful based on attendance at, and "participation" in, the new order Mass. For Donohue, the fact that Benjamin was a "lector" was perceived as a positive sign that Benjamin was a faithful and orthodox Catholic. For us traditional Catholics, it was perceived as an indication that Benjamin would probably deviate from traditional Catholic practice and doctrine. That's the way of those who indulge in "lay ministries" like lector or ministers of Holy Communion.
I hate to say "I told you so", but, I told you so.
The only thing that can save the modern Church is a return to traditional Catholicism.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
“They think of us as an ecclesiastical work force,” said Sister Sandra M. Schneiders, professor emerita of New Testament and spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, in California. “Whereas we are religious, we’re living the life of total dedication to Christ, and out of that flows a profound concern for the good of all humanity. So our vision of our lives, and their vision of us as a work force, are just not on the same planet."
So, let’s get this straight. Sr. Schneiders’ complaint is that she doesn’t want to be part of “the workforce.”
How should we lay people take this statement? How should we, who get up every morning to go to offices, factories, farms, department stores, and road crews to scrape out a living for our families, take this remark? How should homeschooling moms and dads, who get up every day to take care of their children’s education, pouring through curricula, patiently going over the same concept for the millionth time, grading assignments, worrying about their children’s progress, how should they take this comment? How should housewives who give every day of their lives for their husbands and children, by performing the mundane but necessary tasks of everyday life, how should they take Sr. Schneiders attitude that she should not be part of “the workforce”?
It is this attitude on the part of the new liberal Catholic elite in the priesthood and religious life that is one of the causes for the sorry state of the modern Church. There are times that I wish I could lift up a sign at church that simply says, “Do your job!”
The liberal elite like Sr. Schneiders believe that by speaking platitudes about their dedication to Christ and their love for "all humanity" (that amorphous term that indicates not one single individual person), they are somehow entitled to sit on a pedestal above the workforce, the same workforce that every lay Catholic must, by necessity belong. While they are busy with their overflowing love for "all humanity", the rest of us are doing the backbreaking work of building Catholic families, of serving individual persons such as our spouses and children and neighbors. Except now we no longer have the support of our priests and religious. The clerical elitism of liberals like Schneiders is one of the chief causes of the breakdown of the modern Catholic family, our parishes and our dioceses.
Schneiders besmirches the important work of those who came before her, those who worked in the hospitals and schools. As she besmirches, laity must fill the vacant places in the “workforce”, thus exponentially increasing the cost of Catholic schools and medicine. Where does that leave the already strapped for cash Catholic family? In order to send their children to Catholic school they must have two incomes to cover the tuition. Those who would not leave the education of their children to poorly trained Catholic lay school teachers must homeschool. The costs of Catholic hospitals run the same as public hospitals, and the charitable nature of Catholic hospitals is now something of the past. Catholic medical institutions are ran by executives who are more motivated by profit than they are by charity and Catholic morality. The exodus of religious orders from education and medicine has placed an incredible burden on the Catholic family. Modern Pharisees like Schneiders don't care that their so called dedication to Christ and their concern for "all humanity" is heaping impossible burdens on the backs of Catholic families, parishes and diocesan communities.
Indeed, Schneiders forgets that St. Paul, himself, was part of the workforce, plying his trade as a tentmaker. In fact, St. Paul admonished that “those who don’t work, should not eat.”
Sr. Schnieders sits back in her comfy, independant living, academic life-style, and speaks platitudes about her dedication to Christ from which flows " a profound concern for all humanity", all the while ignoring the impossible burdens she has caused by her lack of genuine concern for real people. Schneiders' concern for "all humanity" doesn't translate into love for any single, actual-living-breathing person. Her concern for "all humanity" doesn't include serving the needs of her neighbors, all of whom are individual persons. That isn’t love or dedication to Christ. Quite the contrary, it’s called sloth.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Dr. Benjamin is a high profile, "committed", new order Catholic. She's even a new order lector at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama. Then Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb of Mobile recommend Benjamin for the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award, which was bestowed on her by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
However, according to LifeNews.Com:
In December 1996, Benjamin spoke in favor of a vote by the AMA's governing body to 'urge medical schools to expand their curriculum' to teach more about abortion."
She supported teaching doctors to do abortions in an interview with the Associated Press.
"We are adopting a policy that medical school curriculum provide the legal, ethical, and psychological principles associated with abortion so students can learn all the factors involved," she said.
According to the same report, Benjamin is on the board of directors for Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that is opposed to laws against abortion abroad, lobbied to limit the now defunct Mexico City Policy of the Bush administration, and to ratify the CEDAW treaty that has been used by the United Nations to pressure countries to legalize and expand abortions.
Benjamin is a plant, set up by the twisted and subtle network that gave us the current state of the Church and the reign of the Obamanation of Desolation. Benjamin is yet another "Catholic" in the Obama administration put in place to draw new order, pro-abortion "Catholics" into a splinter group, the existence of which is intended to weaken the Catholic Church and marginalize traditional Catholics and other Catholics who are opposed to the Obama administration.
She is the product of the liberal, new order establishment. Before Archbishop Libscomb recommend Dr. Regina Benjamin for the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award, at the 2002 USCCB Summer Meeting he recommended that not all pedophile priests should be removed from active ministry, but some could be retrained. Libscomb had close ties with Joseph Cardinal Bernardine, and was chairman of Bernardine's "Common Ground" initiative (sound familiar?). Lipscomb's poor judgment in regards to pedophiles and homosexuals in the priesthood, and his connections with Bernardine liberalism, especially with its weak stance on abortion, inherent in Bernardine's "seamless garment" garbage, should throw up warning signs. Libscomb's recommendation of Benjamin for the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award should be seen for what it is: a ruse.
It is also further proof of a long history of collusion between new order Catholic prelates with a Bernardine connection and the liberal power brokers currently in power. As the Obama administration wages an effective divide-and-conquer strategy against the Catholic Church, the diabolic reasons for post-VCII liberalism is starting to come to the surface. Bernardine's liberalism (and the Bernardine prelates such as Lipscomb, Matthew Clark, Roberto Sanchez, Howard Hubbard, Pierre DuMaine, Joseph Ferrario, Patrick Flores, Daniel Pilarczyk, Kenneth Untener, Peter Gerety, Joseph Imesch, etc.) served to weaken the Catholic Church over the last 40 years. The intellegensia formed by the liberal "Catholicism" of Bernardine, et al, are now becoming the shock troops of a new "Catholic" church being set up by the Obama administration. The post-VCII new order Mass and liberalism paved the way.
Like Kiemic, Benjamin is another faithful follower of the new Obama "Catholic" church. Benjamin has all the appearance of new order Catholicism and even appears virtuous, but what we really have is another pro-abortion, pro-Obama wolf in new order Catholic clothing.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
For more than 1000 years the Church in Scotland was at the very heart of Catholicism in Europe. It was a seat of great learning and evangelising from the 6th to the 16th centuries, numbering among its litany of saints such illustrious names as Ninian, Kentigern and Columba.
Then came the Protestant Revolution which saw the Catholic hierarchy abolished, churches, seminaries and universities burned down or seized, priests executed or driven out and the general Catholic population dispersed into small pockets throughout the land. Catholicism in Scotland was almost, but not quite, eradicated.
With worshipping, voting and property ownership rights removed from Catholics by the Reformers, underground seminaries were established in the highlands and islands to cater for the needs of an impoverished faithful.
For their part, the Popes established Scottish seminaries in the safe havens of Rome and Spain which sent priests to Scotland by secret route to help in the pastoral work, a work that meant certain death for those discovered. These priests became known as “the priests of the heather.”
Outstanding among these great priests was the Jesuit St. John Ogilvie who was hanged, drawn and quartered in Glasgow in 1615 for the crime of being a Roman Catholic priest.
Finally, in 1714, through the blood of these martyrs, the persecution was sufficiently relaxed to allow a semi-official seminary (Scanlan) to be established. It was small, but it was a beginning.
By 1878, and with no small thanks to a very large Irish Catholic immigration, the Church was permitted to re-establish the hierarchy in Scotland. It was the very first act of the new pope—Leo XIII.
From that year Catholicism spread rapidly across the country so that by 1970 five seminaries, two junior and three senior, had sprung up and were filling up. Indeed, even in 1970 the intake of young men for just one of the junior colleges was 65. This gives us an idea of how vocations were flourishing… until, that is, the Conciliar vandals took over.
The early Protestant Reformers employed brutal violence to deprive Scottish Catholics of their religion. With the reformers of Vatican II, however, the method applied was a gentle coaxing into religious indifference through doctrinal deviances introduced under a false application of obedience to authority.
The Catholic Hierarchy in Scotland enforced the New Mass and ecumenism, stripped the churches of their altars and rails, their tabernacles and shrines, introduced Communion in the hand, standing, Ministers of the Eucharist, women active in the Sanctuary, and all those other abuses Catholics had previously associated with Protestantism. The bishops did all these things in the name of Vatican II, claiming obedience to their lawful authority, and Catholics fell for it hook, line and sinker.
As a result of this alien interpretation of our holy religion, many priests and faithful abandoned the faith, while the number of vocations naturally began to decrease.
Rather than address the real source of the problem, the bishops began a succession of seminary closures and mergers until they had eradicated all but one seminary—their 1993 liberal flagship called Scotus. Now they have succeeded in closing even that strange place and moved us a step closer to a country of priestless parishes, which, of course, is what the Protestant Reformation sought in vain to achieve 400 years ago.
The devastating affects of the post-councilor reforms are evident everywhere we look, and the empty seminaries, closed churches, shrinking mass attendance, disappearing religious orders are ignored by an incredibly intractable Church leadership that refuses to face the facts. It's hard to believe that such a perfect storm of destruction and vandalism had not been well planned by evil forces.
Catholic Tradition has not, however, been stamped out. Against all odds, traditional Catholicism has survived a long and treacherous sojourn in the desert of doctrinal and liturgical confusion, and is now starting to emerge as the salvation of modern Catholicism.
The only thing that can save the modern Church is traditional Catholicism, that is, the Traditional Latin Mass, traditional devotions, a love for our traditional Catholic heritage and culture, and fostering of traditional Catholic art, architecture, philosophy and literature. It begins with an ardent life of prayer and sacrifice, and a willingness to give our lives for the "experiment of Tradition."
Friday, July 10, 2009
I just got a very interesting e-mail from a priest friend and must share it:
I am not sure, but it seems that something is odd with this gift that the President is living to the Holy Father. It is said to be a stole that “belonged to” John Neumann, something of ‘great historical significance’ – but when you look at the photo of the stole here, it is obvious that it is an Almy special, [ROFL! Absolutely right! I didn’t really look at the photo too closely in the other article, but though that it was, at first glance, in pretty good shape! But… really!] and then as you read further, you begin to pick up the fact that it really was only put on the body of the saint in 1989 and removed a few yeas later to be replaced with something that was more authentic to the period in which he lived.
One has the impression that with an Ipod to the Queen and some CDs to the Prime Minister of England and now and Episcopalian-made ‘sash (as one report puts it) being given to the Pope, the Obama White House just does not have the protocol of gift giving to Heads of State down.
I can hardly wait to see what Mrs. Obama wears to the audience.
In all fairness, it may have been an honest, albeit somewhat stupid, mistake.
Here is the stole pictured at CNA:
That looks like an Almy stole, designed to hang straight down. There's no way that a 100 year + liturgical vestiment would look that well preserved, unless it has been encased in an airtight box.
Now compare that to an authentic 19th century vestment set:
Notice the stole hanging to the left and how it flares out at the ends. Here is a modern stole based on this pattern:
According to the news article: "The stole was discovered by Louis DiCocco, president of the St. Jude Shops and the St. Jude Liturgical Arts Studio, who was contacted by the Obama administration for assistance in finding a gift for Pope Benedict."
Mr. DiCocco should come clean about where he discovered this stole. Maybe online from Almy? See this picture from Almy's website:
Please note that it appears Mr. DiCocco ordered the white stole.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I've read it four times, intending to write a lengthy comment about it.
I thought about broaching paragraph 41 wherein so many are claiming that the Holy Father called for a one-world-government. Whatever he meant by "a true world political authority", no one, unless she were an ideologue or pundit of some one or another agenda, could seriously believe the pope to have meant some kind of world government by an elite oligarchy. Such an interpretation contradicts what the Holy Father wrote elsewhere about the integrity of nations and subsidiarity, especially paragraph 57. On the other hand, what the Holy Father actually meant is unfathomable. Like many other things he has written, I doubt if even he knows what he meant.
However, there's already a rather discordant cacophony in the media in regards to this matter, which is making a poorly conceived sentence into a very deep and dark quagmire. There's no need for me to add to the confusion the pope, himself, excited.
I thought about commenting on the Holy Father's focus on the papacy of Paul VI, and a few other points, but it was then that I realized I was, to be completely honest, utterly bored with the whole thing.
I mean no disrespect to the Holy Father, but it’s just that he wrote a terrible encyclical. It really has to be the worst encyclical I’ve ever read, and that's saying a lot since I've read every encyclical by Pope John Paul II.
Reading this encyclical is like working 15 different jigsaw puzzles that have all been dumped into one box. What’s more, each of the jigsaw puzzles is of puppies and kittens. Not only is it an excruciating exercise to piece them all together correctly, but also once accomplished there’s absolutely nothing rewarding at which to look. I’m not saying that there weren’t some really good things the Holy Father managed to say. For example, the thought of Amerio Romano is subtly present, even in the encyclical's title. However, none of it was newly put or truly enlightening, and, at any rate, when good things could be found, they were surrounded on all sides by the irrelevant and confusing. This encyclical was more of an undisciplined academic dissertation than a document intended for instruction and guidance. After reading it, one is left wondering if one really needed to know all that stuff. Will it make a difference?
This later point was particularly evident as I was listening to Glenn Beck’s stand-in today trying to interpret the encyclical. He was thoroughly unable, not because he was an idiot, but because he lacked some rather important hermeneutic tools to do the job. He lacked an understanding of some of the theology and history about which His Holiness wanted to write. Now Glenn Beck’s stand-in might not have known much about Catholic social teaching, but I’m willing to bet that he has a fairly comparable knowledge to that of the average politician, economist, businessman, etc. Are they able to understand this jigsaw puzzle of an encyclical? Are they going to understand the complex theology and history about which the pope wanted to write? Will they be willing to read this thing four times? I seriously doubt it.
If someone like me is utterly bored out of my mind by this encyclical, how can we expect others, even economists, to muddle through this ponderous, laboriously tedious document?
Encyclicals, indeed, can be exciting—not so much since the Second Vatican Council—but they can, and I think they even should be, exciting. Take, for example, Pope Pius XI’s encyclical, Mortalium Animos. Now there was an exciting piece of papal writing! Imagine the buzz that would be incited if a pope today were to write this: “Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism.” This ain’t the post-Vatican II style, though, is it? I don't think the world has gotten any better since 1928. In fact, I'm willing to bet it may just be a touch worse. Yet today's pope is afraid to say any one's in error or that any one's deceived? Might this be a contributing reason as to why the world might just be a touch worse than it was since the days of Pope Pius XI? Just ask'n.
It would seem that for the worse, I’m afraid, we are stuck with boring, dry as chalk, often confusing and irrelevant, papal documents, which are neither forceful nor inspiring. I’m sure the Holy Father’s intentions were good, but this disease in the modern Church—and yes, it affects ALL bishops, even the pope—has rent ecclesial governance and teaching of all their clarity and force. The end product, in this case, was a confusing, convoluted academic dissertation that no one, I'm sure, will remain interested in for long.
The only thing inspired by this encyclical has been idle and useless speculation as to whether or not the Holy Father advocates a one-world-government. No one in Catholic circles has been inspired to look beyond their own ideological barriers, and no one moving the world's governments or economy could give a rat's behind.
As for me, I've got better things to do... like mow the lawn.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Waiting for a translation of Ecclesiae Unitatem.
Translation available at Rorate Coeli. (Nothing new in regards to the canonical status of the SSPX, and nothing new in regards to the theological discussions.)
It should be noted that Ecclesiae Unitatem puts to rest any rumors concerning a temporary canonical status for the Society with these words: "The doctrinal questions, however, obviously remain, and, while they are not clarified, the Fraternity does not have a canonical status within the Church, and its ministers cannot exercise any ministry legitimately."
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A translation of the article can be found at Catholic Church Conservation, here. Much thanks to Catholic Church Conservation, but the article is absolutely idiotic. It's only worth is letting us know the newest rumor.
A few points:
The suspension of the SSPX priests is just one more step. They will still need to be granted faculties by local ordinaries, and that would be extremely unlikely almost everywhere. There certainly doesn't seem to be any willingness on the part of bishops, at least in the United States, to engage in ecumenical discussions or activities with the SSPX (not to the degree they are willing to engage in ecumenical discussions and activities with heretics and plainly identifiable schismatics, at least).
A temporary canonical status would be useful, but I'm beginning to doubt the rumors based on remarks made by His Excellency Bernard Tissier de Mallerais (here). Specifically:
The sine qua non condition which we consider on the status to be given to the Fraternity of Saint Pius X is the resolution of our arguments. While we expect [that], we will preserve the statute which is our current one; there is no urgency which demands it to evolve, and we will change nothing in our apostolate. Consequently, the discussions should and must take the time that is needed.Lastly, these are just rumors. What we know for sure is that theological discussions will proceed as planned. We should continue to pray and make reparation.