Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lutheran Insulter

Whoever came up with this freaking rules. Basically, you hit the button and the Insulter gives you a randomly generated (authentic) insult from Martin Luther. We've talked before about how incredibly lame Luther was as a theologian and how all he was good at was heaping abuse on people without actually giving any kind of reasoned argument. This ingenious web site helps provide a good example of how vicious the Great Deformer could be.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Would It Take?

I may or may not have brought this up in the past. I don't know, but I find myself thinking about this a lot lately. What would it take to break contraception's death-grip on our culture?

What we've got so far is evidence that contraception can double the risk of HIV infection, cause weird mutations in fish once it gets in the water, increase breast cancer risks, pollute water enough to cause higher levels of prostate cancer, and, of course, cause abortions. And then there's Paul VI's warnings. I'm probably missing a few things here, so feel free to add stuff in the comment box.

Granted, one can argue about how much evidence there is for each of these items, but it's not like all these people are part of some massive papist conspiracy to keep women barefoot and pregnant. My question is whether it would matter if all these things had been proven by the most ironclad evidence possible. Would people stop contracepting? Or have we, as a society, become so allergic to the notion of life and children that we would simply embrace the culture of death even harder?

If there was another practice that was linked to so many different environmental and health factors, wouldn't there already be calls from Congress to have it banned or at least studied in greater detail?

If we accept that people wouldn't stop chemical contraception even if it meant higher cancer rates, bizarre wildlife deformations, and abortions, what do you think would make them stop? Even if you are 100% convinced that the pill has no negative effects, feel free to participate in this thought experiment. Barring grace or instantaneous death, I'm not sure there is anything that would do the trick.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today's Lenten Thought From St. Thomas More

I've taken to reading The Sadness of Christ during Lent. St. Thomas wrote it while he was awaiting execution, so there's a level of profundity in it that I really can't explain. His own desperation in dealing with his persecution and coming martyrdom is so palpable that the sense of it alone is enough to make you want to cry while reading it.

For today, I present the following for anyone looking for a worthwhile Lenten practice (or just a good thing to do in general):

How I wish that those of us who are prevented by our own laziness from imitating the illustrious example of our Savior might at least be willing to call to mind His all-night vigils when we turn over on the side of our beds, half asleep, and that we might then, during the short time before we fall asleep again, offer Him thanks, condemn our slothfulness, and pray for an increase in grace. Surely if we set out to make a habit of doing even the least little bit of good, I feel certain that God will soon set us forward a great way on the path of virtue.

Here is a man imprisoned, basically awaiting his death, and who is still looking for a way to improve his prayer life. What would I be worried about?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Italy Attacks The Church?

Thanks to Haskovec for this nugget.

There's a Bloomberg article indicating that Europe is now turning its guns on the Church, starting in Italy.

Prime Minister Mario Monti plans an amendment to an Italian law that will force the Catholic Church to pay taxes on all its commercial properties, according to a statement posted late yesterday on the government’s website.

The church currently pays property tax only on buildings designated as “purely commercial,” based on an Italian law originating 20 years ago and extended in 2006. The wording is ambiguous when it comes to clinics that have a chapel or monasteries that offer bed and breakfast accommodation.

The Catholic Church owns about 100,000 properties in Italy, a third of which are commercial, according to the Italian Radical Party, which historically has challenged the church.

Why is this happening now? You might think it's just because the country is broke and is wanting the Church to bail it out. Sort of. The article leaves the motives to the end. For now, let's read on:

Italy would gain an additional 100 million euros ($130 million) from increasing levies on the church to include all its commercial property, Paolo Berdini, an urban planner and consultant for local administrations, said in an interview last month.

Interesting how the focus here is on what Italy will gain, not what the Church will lose. And for those who think the Church is flush with cash:

The Vatican reported a profit of 9.8 million euros ($12.7 million) in 2010 after three years of losses during the recession.

I know "the Vatican" isn't the same as "the Church institutions in Italy," but it's significant that the writer of the article seems to think so yet still doesn't explore what the ripple effects of this action might be.

As to the reasons why:

Following a complaint by the Radical Party, European Union regulators opened a probe in 2010 into Italian tax breaks on real estate granted to the Catholic Church, saying they may distort competition.

Ah. So we're doing this in the name of capitalism? Really?

The outcome of the investigation will be made public by next month and if the decision goes against Italy, the EU could order the country to pay a fine and to demand that the church reimburse the government for unpaid taxes of the last five years, the secretary of the Radical Party, Mario Staderini, said in an interview in Rome on Dec. 21.

Monti has informed European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia of his decision to overhaul the rule and hopes “the government’s initiative will allow the European Commission to close the procedure,” according to the statement.

I don't know how accurate this is, but look at what was just said. The EU can order the Church to reimburse Italy for unpaid taxes that Italian law said were never due in the first place. Moreover, since this is being done because it might be "distorting competition," what is to stop this from spreading to every other country in the EU? If it distorts competition in Italy, wouldn't that also be the case every where else?

This is pretty bad stuff, and by that, I mean liquidating-the-monasteries bad.

Anybody ever read Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson? Something in the neighborhood of that kind of bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Contraception: a liturgical argument.

The debate over the HHS mandate is about the 1st amendment, as it should be. The president's actions seem to violate it. But I think that, if Catholics are going to make such a big deal about the mandate, we ought and owe it to God to attempt to understand the doctrine. Here is my poor attempt to explain it.

For the official restatement of the millenia old teaching, see Paul VI Humanae Vitae. For an attempt to explain it in terms of Kant's categorical imperative, see Karol Wojtyla's Love and Responsibility. For a theological examination of the scriptures and the role of the body in salvation, see Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II. I will try a liturgical explanation.

In my church, behind the altar we have this icon:

This is Jesus in the womb of Mary, his mother. He is portrayed as a young man to show that even as an embryo, he is God. The womb of Mary is the most holy place in all of Creation, because it is where the son of God became man. To rejoice at this occurrence, Simeon the prophet sang "Now you may dismiss your servant in peace, O Lord, for mine eyes have seen the salvation which you have promised to all peoples, a light of revelation to the gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."

At the baptism of every baby who comes into our parish, we do the same thing. The priest takes the child in his arms, carries him into the sanctuary, and sings the same song "Now you may dismiss your servant. . . " Each birth is holy because Christ's birth was holy. Furthermore, each _conception_ is holy because Christ's conception was holy.

The womb of the woman, every woman, is a holy of holies, because it is there that God creates the immortal, eternal soul of every human being. This makes the sexual act something holy as well. (This is why pornography is such an evil thing, because it makes the greatest of gifts into trash.) To enter into this temple but refuse the gifts which God may offer you is akin to sacrilege, I think. One may as well take the body of Christ in the eucharist and vomit it up to avoid the calories!

It bears repeating that this view of sexuality is ancient. The prohibition against contraception was universal in all Christian churches until 1930. Let me give you a quote from St. John Chrysostom, writing in the fifth century about this issue:

"Where there are medicines of sterility? Where there is murder before birth? Indeed, it is something worse than murder and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you despise the gift of God, and fight with his law?"

Indeed, even in the New Testament you can find writings that are probably against contraception. The NAB translates pharmakia as "sorcery", but it really means the making of potions. This is from "In the New Testament, it is possible that the Greek "pharmakeia" refers to the birth control issue. "Pharmakeia" in general was the mixing of various potions for secret purposes, and it is known that potions were mixed in the first century A.D. to prevent or stop a pregnancy. The typical translation as "sorcery" may not reveal all of the specific practices condemned by the New Testament. In all three of the passages in which it appears, it is in a context condemning sexual immorality; two of the three passages also condemn murder. (Galatians 5:19-26; Revelation 9:21, 21:8). Thus it is very possible that there are three New Testament passages condemning the use of the products of "pharmakeia" for birth control purposes."

It was the universal teaching of the Church, of all Churches. Should such a teaching get universal mockery?

We now take the great mystery of the creation of new human souls, and our participation in it, and we stop it, we limit it, we sterilize it. Perhaps we should approach the mystery with reverence, and, if for some grave reason we cannot accept the new life God may give us, we should abstain with prayer and fasting, rather than with pills and prophylactics?

I don't expect to convince anyone. On this issue, the culture has gone so far from the faith that it's really difficult to make any headway. But perhaps, someone might reconsider, or at least realize that opposition to contraception is a rational position based on faith.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And Remember, Today Is About Love

Not the feeling that you have to go buy flowers or chocolates.

It's the love that moves a person to shed their blood for the Love of God. Remember why we have a Valentine's Day. It's because he would rather be beheaded than to reject the duties of Faith. I couldn't find a picture of St. Valentine's martyrdom, but here's Caravaggio's rendering of the death of St. Peter for your consideration.

It's a picture of love, just not the kind we're used to hearing about today.

A Scary Quote From Cardinal George

This is from a CNA report about Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria's response to the HHS mandate. In the article, he mentions something Cardinal George said back in 2010:

“I will die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

I hadn't heard that one before, but holy smokes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Other Other War

Wars and rumors of wars, I guess. Curial politics have always been a very weird animal to try and analyze, mostly because you never really know what's going on or much about the personalities involved. However, when you've got this much news flowing out of the Vatican at once, all from vastly different ends of the spectrum, it seems a safe bet that there is some huge conflict going on behind the scenes. Take a look at the following items from the last couple of months:

1. The Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace releases a "white paper" calling for a global economic authority and central bank. All sorts of haywire is unleashed in Rome and around the world, with semi-retractions and confusion reigning.

2. A resurrection of scandal surrounding the Vatican Bank and the awarding of Vatican contracts, with denials and clarifications flowing out in rapid succession.

3. The approval/non-approval of the NeoCatechumenal Way practices of some nature that may or may not be liturgical, depending on who you talk to.

4. The super-weird situation surrounding Fr. Karl Becker, called by Rorate "the most traditional-minded of the cardinals to be created," and his being tapped for the next consistory. It was reported that he would be made a cardinal. Then, this was retracted, and it was said that he would never get the red hat. THEN, it was said that he would be made a cardinal some day but in private.

Now, it looks like he's back on for the consistory. You might have to use Google translate for the article.

5. On top of all this, we have what might be the most bizarre papal rumor of my lifetime. Cardinal Paolo Romeo allegedly went on a trip to China and completely went off in front of some Italian businessmen and local representatives of the Church (no indication if it was the real one or the fake one) about how Pope Benedict wouldn't live more than another year. The shpiel was so convincing for the folks he was talking to that they figured he was meaning an assassination plot. They blabbed it to the Vatican, Fr. Lombardi's head exploded, and everyone has gone into full-blown denial mode since then.

Not only is His Eminence quoted as saying that the Pope is done for, but he's apparently tapped Cardinal Scola as his successor and despises Cardinal Bertone, the latter point getting separate confirmation from both Tornielli and Magister.

6. As a throwaway, I'll add the ongoing SSPX saga, where you've hadreports of "rejections" by both sides (most recently the CDF- need to translate here too) but very positive language from Bishop Fellay and others.

Like I said, this is all fairly recent news. As in the last four months or so. I submit that this type of Curial buzz doesn't happen all that often. I certainly don't recall anything like it. Lots of controversial stuff coming out, with lots of reversals and retractions. It was so bad that the Pope allegedly called all the dicastery heads together to try and bring everyone into line. This type of stuff doesn't happen.

Keep your ears open.

The Accommodation and Leo Getz

Big stuff going down over the last week or so on the HHS mandate front. You've had Obama's campaign director basically tell Catholics to shut up. The Business Insider has run an article calling on the masses to admit the Church has been right about birth control the whole time. Ed Peters has called for an invocation of Canon 915 against Nancy Pelosi. The count of bishops condemning the president's actions went to 171.

Now, the controversy gets to start all over. As you've probably already heard, the president has offered an "accommodation" on the mandate to religious employers. Note the importance of that word. It's an "accommodation," not a compromise. A compromise would suggest either (A) giving up something of substance, (B) allowing the opposition to gain measurable ground, or (C) the administration was somehow wrong previously. Instead, there is merely an "accommodation," in which we can rejoice that our rulers have decided to scatter some largesse to the mere rabble.

What is the accommodation? I'm having a hard time figuring that out. Looking at the terms as they've been explained thus far, here's what I'm getting. From looking at the Washington Times and the new White House fact sheet, if a woman is employed by, say, a Catholic hospital, she'll be contacted by the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will let her know that her plan covers sterilizing herself, killing babies, and so forth. The plan will continue to pay for these things, though allegedly without having the employer to pay for it as part of the plan.

The president is obviously taking his political guidance from Katherine Schori. Nobody else comes to mind who thinks Catholics are this stupid. The insurance company is just going to provide this additional benefit for free? Really? Let's be realists and just admit that what's going to happen is that they jack up the Catholic employers insurance rates so that they will have to pay for this anyway.

What you have here is Obama forcing the insurance company to play the role of Leo Getz from Lethal Weapon II. Remember that guy? He created an innovative system for laundering drug money, only to be later targeted for murder by his bosses. Let's take a look at the Getzian process proposed by Obama to "help" make the mandate more palatable to Church leaders.

The Catholic employer pays the insurance premium. The cash works it's way through the bowels of the insurance company. Once the time comes to chemically murder a child, the money pops out again into the hands of the pharmacist all laundered and sparkly clean. This way, the Church can say it was never involved with paying for the drugs or what have you. Except that it was. It paid the premium. It offered the policy. It's all the same thing, and all the semantic shell games and accounting wizardry in the world will change that. Consider that Planned Parenthood and the "Catholic" Health Association are in agreement that this is a good idea. That should tell you something, since one is a group of genocidal psychos and the other is a hodge-podge of heretics and schismatics. Nobody is really fooled by this. Even them.

You've already got people coming out of the woodwork to condemn or mock this attempt by the administration to throw a sop to the Church, whilst simultaneously working for Her destruction. Most importantly, the bishops aren't giving in. Their latest response tells the tale:

First, he has decided to retain HHS's nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.

Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contours:

It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.

It would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage. The employee would not have to pay any additional amount to obtain this coverage, and the coverage would be provided as a part of the employer's policy, not as a separate rider.

Finally, we are told that the one-year extension on the effective date (from August 1, 2012 to August 1, 2013) is available to any non-profit religious employer who desires it, without any government application or approval process.

These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders—for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals—is unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.

We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance. Some information we have is in writing and some is oral. We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.

Since Fr. Jenkins made another poor effort in representing ND, I'll offer this letter as an alternative. It's probably the best piece I've seen in response to the president's newest slap in the face.

To conclude, let me say that this is entirely within the bounds of our prediction that the president will not be backing down here. He's offered a turd as an olive branch. Any real backtracking and the aforementioned psychos will start to turn on him. The folks at Susan G. Komen can tell you all about that. The question will be what course of action he takes to press forward.

Keep praying for your bishops.

Friday, February 10, 2012



But not necessarily in the way Clubber Lang meant it. After some reflection on the HHS mandate shenanigans, I've come to a few conclusions. Feel free to don your tinfoil hat.

First, I don't see the president backing down. This was such a blatant slap in the face that I find it hard to believe that he (or his handlers) didn't see anything of the political backlash that would occur. In other words, he's prepared to take this heat. Moreover, changing course now would be tantamount to admitting he was wrong. Who thinks that will happen?

Second, I don't see the bishops backing down either. Sure, some might do so, but I think the vast majority will stand firm. Obama has shown his hand now. The ones who are serious about this will probably never trust him again. Any "compromise" that might be offered will only be an incremental victory for the culture of death, and I don't think the current crop of shepherds will go for that.

Remember, compromise almost always favors the revolutionaries. See the last 50 years of Church history for an example.

Third, there is little chance of the mandate standing. It's so obviously illegal and unconstitutional that the courts should strike it down. However, I do expect it to get to the Supreme Court for its swan song. There are six Catholics sitting as justices. Let's not speculate on how faithful they are. It's irrelevant. The point is that, when this is struck down, Catholics will be voting to do so. At that point, you will see the left make a massive outcry about Catholics as judges, specifically on the Supreme Court. I fully expect legislation to be introduced on the issue. Hopefully, it fails. I give it about a 50/50 shot.

Fourth, unless Obama is defeated, which is hardly a fait accompli, his attacks on the Church will intensify. The champion of tolerance will permit anything except the Truth. He won't forget this uprising and will make sure to punish the Church as far as his considerable power will allow.

Fifth, which is really just an extension of the preceding item, I fully expect the mainstream media and various leftists to develop a sudden interest in the Church's tax-exempt status. You're already hearing some rumblings of this. "Those Catholic hospitals, etc. are just regular businesses. They should be taxed like everything else."

This political involvement by the bishops will no doubt start a movement to strip the Church of its exemption in an effort to destroy it.

Sixth, and I REALLY hope this one is just tinfoil hat stuff, but historically speaking, when this kind of legal submission is asked of the Church, the next step is typically to seek registration and licensure of priests and parishes. If the mandate's exemptions for parishes stick, or if the Church is allowed to keep its tax-exempt status, I can see a "compromise" offered by the government. The Church can carry on, but its clergy and property will be subjected to very specific regulations by the State.

I know, I know. It can't happen here. I'm sure that's what they said in Spain, Mexico, England, France, and so forth. I'm sure folks think that people in the US weren't being forcibly sterilized even in the 1980s (see Oregon). Or that we put people into internment camps during WWII. Last I checked Buck v. Bell and Korematsu v. US hadn't actually been overturned.

All I'm saying is that nobody should be surprised if things get worse.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Gods Of The Gentiles Are Devils

Scripture is clear about this in a bunch of different places. Psalms 95:5 and 1 Corinthians 10:20, for example.

You don't hear this from a lot of priests, though. Mine said it, though, and with specificity. He is from India. At Mass, he was very frank about it. "The gods the Hindus believe they are worshiping are actually evil spirits."

I couldn't believe he actually said something like that, but I applaud him for having the courage to say so, rather than being worried about what someone might say.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More On The Kiko-ists

I originally got the source articles from CNA regarding the alleged "approval" of the NeoCatechumal Way's weird liturgical practices, but I'm linking here to Fr. Zuhlsdorf's references so that his commentary is available.


“With respect to the celebrations of the Holy Mass and the other liturgies of the Church,” communities of the Neocatechumenal Way must “follow the norms of the Church as indicated in the liturgical books – to do otherwise must be understood to be a liturgical abuse,” a Vatican official who requested anonymity told CNA on Jan. 21.

If the non-approval is that obvious, why is this guy needing anonymity? What should he have to worry about?

The invitation issued by the movement to bishops for yesterday’s event stated that “the purpose of this meeting is that His Holiness will sign a Decree from the Congregation of Divine Worship recognizing the full approval of the liturgies of the Neocatechumenal Way.”

Instead, approval for the non-liturgical practices of the group came by way of another source. It was Pontifical Council for the Laity that issued a decree of approval – after having consulted the Congregation for Divine Worship – for those “celebrations” present in their Catechetical Directory.

In this process “the Neocatechumenal Way obtained no new permissions whatsoever,” said the official, who is familiar with the approval process for prayers and liturgies.

“Essentially, the Pontifical Council is only approving these things that are found in the Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way, and in no way touches those things contained in the liturgical books.”

He said that the decree served merely as an assurance that “there is nothing erroneous to the prayers that they use in the context of their catechetical sessions.”

And if this was just some kind of nihil obstat for their non-liturgical prayers, why all the hub-bub over this event in the first place?

A better response was given later by one of the NCW's own:

Father Ricardo Reyes Castillo, a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, said Pope Benedict XVI’s approval of the movement’s non-liturgical celebrations “has changed absolutely nothing.”

The Panamanian priest told CNA on Jan. 23 that the papal approval of the celebrations contained in the Neocatechumenal Catechetical Directory means “simply that the Church has confirmed that the rites used in the different stages of formation in the Neocatechumenal Way are in accord with the tradition of the Church.”

Hey, that's great!. Maybe somebody should explain all this to Kiko because he is thinking something a little bit different.

This is what Fr. Z and others seem to be ignoring. The "approval" is going to be touted as legitimacy for the whole thing. Until the CDW (or somebody) has the ability to squash the liturgical abuses, you're going to have priests, laity, and even bishops who are drawn in by this, all with the idea that Rome said it was ok. This would not be a new phenomenon. How many liturgical abuses are committed in the name of "what Vatican II said"?

Regardless of the fine print, it's tough for me to see this move as anything other than horrible.

Update On The Bishops

There appear to be only 6 bishops in the whole country lacking a statement condemning the recent HHS mandates. As Thomas Peters makes clear, they might have one that he hasn't found or are in the process of preparing one. Pray for them all.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Contra Obama: The Bishops March

The best comparison, I think, for this ever-growing conflict between Obama and the Church is what you see in The Lord of the Rings when the Ents decide that they are going after Saruman. Treebeard makes the point that it takes a long time for them to make a decision. When they finally do, they march on Isengard. Hopefully, our shepherds will meet with similar success.

The full roll call (as it now stands) of bishops who have stepped up and condemned the president's attack on the Church can be found at the American Papist's web site The current count is 153, with over 80% of the nation's dioceses having chimed in. If your bishop has not done so, please encourage him to speak out.

Above all, pray for these men. If you take a look at history and how other countries have passed laws like this, they are usually followed by other legislation that is quite evil. We will need brave men to stand against it.

If you are looking for patron saints to assist you in your appeals, consider the following:

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Universal Church
St. Michael, who cast Satan from Heaven
St. Thomas Becket, slain by Henry II for trying to protect the Church from the state
St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, martyred for resisting an Enemy of God
Blessed Miguel Pro or any of the other martyrs of the Cristiada, outlaws for the Faith because the Faith had been outlawed (the new tagline for the movie)
The Carmelites of Compiegne, who gave up their lives to end the Reign of Terror in France

There are countless others who would fit the bill. These are just the ones who have been on my mind a lot since all this started. Pray for the Church's victory and for the grace to bear persecution.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And Now We Are To Be Silenced

This bit from the National Review was emailed to me:

On Thursday, January 26, Archbishop Broglio emailed a pastoral letter to Catholic military chaplains with instructions that it be read from the pulpit at Sunday Masses the following weekend in all military chapels. The letter calls on Catholics to resist the policy initiative, recently affirmed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for federally mandated health insurance covering sterilization, abortifacients and contraception, because it represents a violation of the freedom of religion recognized by the U.S. Constitution.

The Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains subsequently sent an email to senior chaplains advising them that the Archbishop’s letter was not coordinated with that office and asked that it not be read from the pulpit. The Chief’s office directed that the letter was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and distributed in printed form in the back of the chapel.

Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants.

Following a discussion between Archbishop Broglio and the Secretary of the Army, The Honorable John McHugh, it was agreed that it was a mistake to stop the reading of the Archbishop’s letter. Additionally, the line: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law” was removed by Archbishop Broglio at the suggestion of Secretary McHugh over the concern that it could potentially be misunderstood as a call to civil disobedience.

The AMS did not receive any objections to the reading of Archbishop Broglio’s statement from the other branches of service.

In other words, Catholics are supposed to be docile and shut up about these things. But hey, wasn't it nice of Big Brother to give a "Woops, my bad" and let the letter be circulated. As long as the Archbishop wrote it the way Big Brother wanted him to.

The Latest On The SSPX

Rumors have been flying about all kinds of stuff on this front. You've got claims ranging from stalemate all the way up to the CDF rejecting the SSPX response outright. Rorate has been on top of it pretty well, I think.

The latest bit from Come de Previgny, though, is almost scary to read. You get to the point with a lot of Church news that you can't stand being optimistic because of the seemingly inevitable let-down hits. However, the words of this entry are just about the best things we've heard in the ongoing regularization discussion.

In a nutshell:

Bishop Fellay to Rome: "We are ready."

These words truly belong to Bishop Fellay. They were pronounced in Winona, Minnesota, on February 2, on the occasion of the conferral of the cassocks in the American seminary of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX). Do they summarize the entire thinking of the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X? In any event, not less than all those that were used, distorted or taken from their context, by some journalists who impatiently picked the headlines "The failure of the negotiations", or still, "We could not go further in the confusion". Moved by a growing panic as news of the regularization of the Fraternity move closer in time, Progressives and Sedevacantists now advance hand in hand, the first not even hesitating to quote the second. "From enemies that they were, they were made friends," says Holy Writ.

When the sedes and the hippies start getting worried, you'd think the rest of us could start getting hopeful.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This Merited Posting

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Too much real life intervening.

For the time being, I'd like to thank 105Marquette at NDNation for the following image:

If you don't recall Pope Paul's prophecies from the encyclical, we covered them a bit here.