Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To Make Up For The Lack Of Posting

I present the following bit of upcoming (albeit non-Church related) awesomeness:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Speaking Of Chant, Latin, Etc.

Check out this video at the New Liturgical Movement where Jeffrey Tucker mentions the importance of chant and the Latin Mass to his conversion. Thanks to Haskovec for the tip.

The sad thing is how many people find just discussion of the Latin Mass to be offensive.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm Confused

I saw this over at Rorate and immediately went into "What the?" mode.

Dear friends, last evening you celebrated a solemn Mass of thanksgiving at the tomb of Saint Peter, beneath the great inscription which reads: Hinc una fides mundo refulget; hinc unitas sacerdotii exoritur. By enabling the vast numbers of the Catholic faithful throughout the world to pray in a common language, your Commission has helped to foster the Church’s unity in faith and sacramental communion. That unity and communion, which has its origin in the Blessed Trinity, is one which constantly reconciles and enhances the richness of diversity.

This is from Pope Francis's speech to the ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy). Which is weird.

Common language? Unity? Wasn't the ICEL a product of the destruction of a common liturgical language and subsequent disunification of liturgical forms?

I admit to having no idea what the last sentence means. I do feel that there is, at a minimum, about ten tons of irony in the Holy Father's comments.

For comparisons to an earlier mode of thinking on the value of a common liturgical language, allow me to direct you to Blessed John XXIII's Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, the most ignored and forgotten magisterial document perhaps in the entire history of the Church.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

96 Years Ago

"Will you tell me your name?" 

I am the Lady of the Rosary. 

"I have many petitions from many people. Will you grant them? " 

Some I shall grant, and others I must deny. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended! 

"And is that all you have to ask?" 

There is nothing more.

Penance! Penance!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pope Francis And The Hazards Of Ecumenism

This kind of needs to be pointed out given all the fanfare over this "historic" and "unprecedented" (allegedly) papacy that we are seeing unfold. First, I must present a very simple question to everyone regarding the media trou-dropping that is sweeping the world with regards to excerpts (and sometimes not even that if we're talking about Scalfari) of papal comments.

Why are the media extolling these comments from Pope Francis?

The answer is obvious. They like them because they regard them as not Catholic. This is made even more apparent when one considers the Holy Father's comments that are, shall we say, less susceptible to interpretation in such a manner. Was there any media reaction to the Pope's comments on celibacy and consecrated virginity? Of course not. People were too busy taking random comments by Archbishop Parolin out of context. When the latest public excom came down the pipe, was there any national outlet reporting? When the Pope blasted the Culture of Death, was there a flood of coverage? Nothing of the kind. We were still hearing about "who am I to judge?" and similar items.

Let it be stipulated then that the only thing that makes Pope Francis newsworthy or favored among the press is the extent that he can be made to appear not Catholic or even hostile to Catholicism.

Using that as a preface, we should consider what the potential ripple effects of this kind of coverage for the Pope might mean. And I'm not talking about for Catholics either, as that should be pretty self-evident by now.

Simply put, these easily distorted comments from the Pope are poison to genuine ecumenism.

The last few popes have mentioned the Orthodox as the ecumenical priority and rightfully so. Without addressing whether this was followed up by action, consider this article by Rod Dreher. For Mr. Dreher, the perceived lack of clarity and solidity in Pope Francis's comments confirms his decision to leave the Church. It's the lack of grappling with the issues of stuff the Four Last Things, the "faithful" of laity and clergy that actively promote immorality, etc. that led him to leave.

All this put the moral unseriousness of the American church in a certain light. As the scandal raged, one Ash Wednesday, I attended Mass at my comfortable suburban parish and heard the priest deliver a sermon describing Lent as a time when we should all come to love ourselves more.

If I had to pinpoint a single moment at which I ceased to be a Roman Catholic, it would have been that one. I fought for two more years to hold on, thinking that having the syllogisms from my catechism straight in my head would help me stand firm. But it was useless. By then I was a father, and I did not want to raise my children in a church where sentimentality and self-satisfaction were the point of the Christian life. It wasn’t safe to raise my children in this church, I thought — not because they would be at risk of predators but because the entire ethos of the American church, like the ethos of the decadent post-Christian society in which it lives, is not that we should die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ, as the New Testament demands, but that we should learn to love ourselves more.

Flannery O’Connor, one of my Catholic heroes, famously said, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” American Catholicism was not pushing back against the hostile age at all. Rather, it had become a pushover. God is love was not a proclamation that liberated us captives from our sin and despair but rather a bromide and a platitude that allowed us to believe that and to behave as if our lust, greed, malice and so forth — sins that I struggled with every day — weren’t to be despised and cast out but rather shellacked by a river of treacle.

Kind of says it all. And Mr. Dreher isn't the only one. We've mentioned before how actions many Catholics are comfortable with, such as the Pauline Mass, are huge ecumenical stumbling blocks for the East. This kind of stuff is huge too.

It's a big deal for Protestants as well. Take Russell Moore's description of one of the Holy Father's interviews as a "theological train wreck." I live in a heavily Baptist area. The only thing Catholics have for outreach to many here is an unshakeable commitment to certain moral laws. When those are called into question, there is nothing left.

I mention all this because so many love to talk about ecumenism but have no concept of what it means. For too many, it means stripping away the supernatural and turning the Church into an Anglican NGO. This reinforces the need for clarity and brevity in the Pope's public speaking. The Church's enemies have their agenda. We know what they are going to do. It's nothing new. It is only reasonable to give them as few opportunities to do so as possible. Souls are at stake.

Just remember. When the world applauds, there is a very strong chance that Christians will be turning their backs.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Dialogue At Lepanto

Which was far more productive than anything else we've seen in the last several decades:

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On The Feast Of St. Bruno

Founder of the Carthusians.

Here is a snip from their statutes about their work in the Church:

1 What benefit, what divine delight, solitude and the silence of the hermitage bring to those who love them, only those who have experienced them can tell. Yet, in choosing this, the best part, it is not our advantage alone that we have in view; in embracing a hidden life we do not abandon the great family of our fellow men; on the contrary, by devoting ourselves exclusively to God we exercise a special function in the Church, where things seen are ordered to things unseen, exterior activity to contemplation.

2 If therefore we are truly living in union with God, our minds and hearts, far from becoming shut in on themselves, open up to embrace the whole universe and the mystery of Christ that saves it. Apart from all, to all we are united, so that it is in the name of all that we stand before the living God. This continual effort to be always — as far as human frailty permits — very close to God, unites us in a special way with the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we are accustomed to call the Mother in particular of all Carthusians.

3 Making him who is, the exclusive center of our lives through our Profession, we testify to a world, excessively absorbed in earthly things, that there is no God but him. Our life clearly shows that something of the joys of heaven is present already here below; it prefigures our risen state and anticipates in a manner the final renewal of the world.

4 By penance, moreover, we have our part in the saving work of Christ, who redeemed the human race from the oppressive bondage of sin, above all by pouring forth prayer to the Father, and by offering himself to him in sacrifice. Thus it comes about that we, too, even though we abstain from exterior activity, exercise nevertheless an apostolate of a very high order, since we strive to follow Christ in this, the inmost heart of his saving task.

5 Wherefore, in praise of God — for which the hermit Order of Carthusians was founded in a special way — let us dedicate ourselves to the peace and silence of our cells and strive to offer him unceasing worship, so that, sanctified in truth, we may be those true worshippers whom the Father seeks.

How wonderful.

Thank you, Fr. Obi, for providing this.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Abuse Scandal(s)

Consider the following items in light of the scrutiny the Church has received over the last decade or so.

First, this story from Michigan, where a 38-year old teacher was found to have been molesting a 14-year old boy. There isn't any doubt that the acts occurred. The teacher has admitted to it. That didn't stop said teacher's colleagues from sending letters to the judge in the case asking him to give the ephebophile here a break. He just "made a mistake," and this was an "isolated incident."

Can you imagine the pandemonium that would have been unleashed if a parish had done this for a priest under the same circumstances? We'd still be hearing about it from Nancy Grace, 20/20, Primetime Live, and whatever other show wanted to pile on. Having worked with literally dozens of school systems in my younger days, I can tell you this. Some day, the abuse of kids by school employees will get a hard look from some party in the media. What they will find will make the Church's problems look like Pollyanna's picnic.

On a separate note, there are these recent comments from Boz Tchividjian, Billy Graham's grandson:

While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, ”I think we are worse,” he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference, saying too many evangelicals had “sacrificed the souls” of young victims.

“Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,” said Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), which has investigated sex abuse allegations.

Earlier this summer, GRACE spearheaded an online petition decrying the “silence” and “inattention” of evangelical leaders to sexual abuse in their churches.

Mission agencies, “where abuse is most prevalent,” often don’t report abuse because they fear being barred from working in foreign countries, he said. Abusers will get sent home and might join another agency. Of known data from abuse cases, 25 percent are repeat cases, he said.

Are you seeing/hearing any kind of outcry or calls for further action on this issue, though? I'm guessing not. The target just isn't tempting enough.

Just something to think about when you wonder if reporting on the Church is fair and balanced.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sorry For The Lack Of Updates

This Obamacare launch has been hell. No, really. That's why I have been so busy.

Will try to get back into the groove this weekend.