Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why the Lake of Fire and the Nephilim May Return! This Year!

"Because according to modern research, the roughly estimated date for the biblical flood is between BC 2800 and 2900. When you consider that a prophetic generation is 70 years based on Psalm 90:10 ('The days of our years are threescore years and ten'), Enoch's 70 generations times 70 years equals exactly 4900 years forward from the flood, bringing us to the current hour.

"Is mankind therefore standing on the threshold of Watchers being thrown into an abyss of fire, and giants returning? Does Enoch's dating of 'the final judgment' as occurring following 70 generations from the flood also indicate a looming time frame for the Judgment seat of Christ?"

Forget WorldNetDaily, call the Weekly World News! We are so screwed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crowd Aghast as Catholic Bishop Teaches Catholic Doctrine!

Major props, yo, to Bishop Jamie Soto, who had the audacity to tell an audience of homosexuals that homosexual activity is actually sinful. The article from CalCatholic mentions that several people walked out. Have we really gotten to the point where a bishop saying this kind of stuff is going to catch folks off-guard?

But there was noting ambiguous about Bishop Soto’s remarks to the group. “Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals, but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all,” Bishop Soto said. “For this reason, it is sinful. Married love is a beautiful, heroic expression of faithful, life-giving, life-creating love. It should not be accommodated and manipulated for those who would believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression."

A lot of people who read about this will probably say some very bad things about Bishop Soto. Stuff claiming that he lacks "pastoral care" or that he is "cold" or somehow empty of "compassion" for those he was addressing. Of course, none of this could be further from the truth. Bishop Soto's job is to save souls. Ignoring sin that could jeopardize those souls would be a crime. Treating such sin as if were not sin would be even worse.

The people who speak badly of His Excellency may want to note how he dealt with the audience after he was done speaking.

The chairman of the conference then announced that the bishop would answer questions at a reception that would be held in another room. That led to widespread expressions of disapproval from members of the audience, who said they wanted to be able to express their responses immediately. It was agreed that those who wanted to speak would line up. The bishop was told twice by the chairman that he was free to leave if he wanted -- or to stay and listen. Bishop Soto stayed and sat quietly listening to every response.

He could have cut and run. He didn't. He treated everyone with respect. Yet even this did not stop an alleged Catholic from attempting to denigrate this pastor's efforts:

While the audience members were responding to the bishop’s remarks, a board member of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries came up to one of the tables in the room and said, "On behalf of the board, I apologize. We had no idea Bishop Soto was going to say what he said."

Shame and apologies over the Truth spoken in love. Being ashamed of Christ's teachings will get you nowhere, Board Member. Except maybe the Outer Darkness. Bishop Soto realizes that. You should, too.

Pope Benedict Brings on a New Liturgical Crew for Papal Masses

I would think this is good news. Masses offered by the Vicar of Christ should be devoid of shenanigans like those we've seen over the last couple of decades. CalCatholic has the new roster:

The list of new consultants also includes Fr. Mauro Gagliardi, an expert in dogmatic theology and professor at the Legionaries of Christ's Pontifical Athenaeum “Regina Apostolorum;” Opus Dei Spanish priest Juan José Silvestre Valor, professor at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome; Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, C.O., an official of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and author of the book Turning Towards the Lord -- about the importance of facing ad orientem during Mass; and Fr. Paul C.F. Gunter, a Benedictine professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant Anselmo in Rome and member of the editorial board of the forthcoming Usus Antiquior, a quarterly journal dedicated to the liturgy under the auspices of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena. The Society, which has an association with the English Province of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), promotes the intellectual and liturgical renewal of the Church.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Martyrs for the Month of September

Earlier this month, we had the feast day of Pope St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian of Carthage. We know much more about the latter than the former, and the little we know of the former, we know from the writings of the latter.

Cornelius took over as pope after the martyrdom of Pope St. Fabian during the Decian persecution around 250 or so AD. In Cyprian's words:

What fortitude in his acceptance of the episcopate, what strength of mind, what firmness of faith, that he took his seat intrepid in the sacerdotal chair, at a time when the tyrant in his hatred of bishops was making unspeakable threats, when he heard with far more patience that a rival prince was arising against him, than that a bishop of God was appointed at Rome. . .

Besides open persecution, Cornelius also had to put up with an antipope in the person of a guy named Novatian, who basically said that really bad sins like adultery, apostasy, or murder couldn't be absolved via confession. Cornelius and Cyprian resisted him on this and so schism resulted. Of course, the good guys won out on this point.

Cyprian is actually a great source for knowing about the Church of the 3rd century. We still have a lot of his letters, giving great defenses of infant baptism, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the sacrament of Penance, and the horrors of persecution. On the bad side, Cyprian did have some issues with Pope Stephen I, who was one pope (Lucius) removed from Cornelius's reign. Basically, you had problems with what to do with heretics who were baptizing people. Cyprian wanted people baptized in such a manner re-baptized before being admitted into communion with the Church. Stephen, teaching the same view we have now, said that their baptism was fine, and they could be admitted simply by a laying on of hands by the bishop.

Cyprian kind of blew a gasket on this, though Augustine is clear that he never formally went into schism. Anyways, there was a lot of harsh language exchanged, and maybe some hurt feelings as well. Cyprian even re-wrote his famous treatise on The Unity of the Church to edit out some of his language that previously supported the primacy of the Roman See. His ultimate fate was blessedness, though, as he died in communion with the Church during the Valerian persecution.

As an aside, I find it very interesting that some Orthodox and even Protestant folk try to claim the edited version of the above-mentioned treatise as some sort of knockout argument to Catholic claims regarding the papacy. This is strange because, though Cyprian does introduce language that indicates the Apostles all received an equal power, he still states that the authority of the others proceeds from the unity of Peter. It still seems kind of stretched to mesh this view with either Protestant or Orthodox ecclesiology. Or maybe I'm just reading it wrong. Anyways, here's Cyprian's original take on the Petrine See:

Upon one He builds His Church, and to the same He says after His resurrection, 'feed My sheep'. And though to all His Apostles He gave an equal power yet did He set up one chair, and disposed the origin and manner of unity by his authority. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, but the primacy is given to Peter, and the Church and the chair is shown to be one. And all are pastors, but the flock is shown to be one, which is fed by all the Apostles with one mind and heart. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church is founded, is he confident that he is in the Church?

By the way, if anyone is looking for sources on the point about Cyprian's editing, I direct you to Eamon Duffy's book Saints and Sinners for this account of things.

Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian, pray for us!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Catholicism of Alfred Hitchcock

Thanks to Haskovec for finding this article in the TimesOnline. I for one have always enjoyed Hitchcock's work. I readily admit, though, that, even knowing he was Catholic, I only pegged a couple of his movies as having big Catholic themes to them. I Confess is, of course, the easy one. I've never understood why this movie isn't more popular or at least semi-well-known. The other one, strangely enough, was The Birds. Basically, evil comes looking for you in even the most innocuous of forms, and there isn't squat you can do on your own to extricate yourself from it. You need the assistance of the Divine to be saved. In other words, what happens at the end of the film.

Anyways, the whole article is quite interesting. Here's a bit to whet your appetite:

Born into a devoutly Roman Catholic family in the East End of London in 1899, Alfred Hitchcock was the nephew of a priest, and according to McGilligan, continued to go to Mass for most of his adult life. He would invite priest friends onto film sets, gave money to Catholic causes and even donated a vineyard to a community of Californian priests.

"For Hitchcock Catholicism was something he was born with, as others might be born with red hair. It did not phase him" claims John Russell Taylor, Hitchcock's first and only authorised biographer (Hitch: the Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock, 1978). "He was certainly esctatic when his daughter Pat married a nephew of the Catholic archbishop of Boston. I don't know how devout he was, but he certainly remained a Catholic."

Interviewed in 1973 for the magazine of his Jesuit alma mater St Ignatius College, Hitchcock shied from defining his faith explaining: "A claim to be religious rests entirely on your own conscience, whether you believe or not. A Catholic attitude was indoctrinated into me. After all I was born a Catholic. I went to a Catholic School and I now have a conscience with lots of trials over belief," he said. Claiming his Jesuit schooling had developed his "reasoning powers" but also "a sense of fear", Hitchcock would relate a celebrated incident where he had to choose the exact time for a beating, according to the Jesuit system where the master who ordered a punishment was not allowed to personally inflict it. This incident, Hitchcock alleged was "in a minor way" like going through a form of execution.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Padre Pio

Now here's a guy that most of you have probably heard of, if for no other reason than the stigmata. St. Pio had his feast day just this week, so I figured it was fitting to talk about the new reports that have been released from the Vatican regarded his cause for canonization and how he came to bear the marks of Christ.

Zenit gets the credit for this one:

Asked to swear on the Gospel, Padre Pio for the first time revealed the identity of the one from whom he received the wounds.

It was June 15, 1921, and in answer to a question posed by Bishop Rossi, Padre Pio said: "On Sept. 20, 1918, I was in the choir of the church after celebrating Mass, making the thanksgiving when I was suddenly overtaken by powerful trembling and then there came calm and I saw Our Lord in his crucified form.

"He was lamenting the ingratitude of men, especially those consecrated to him and favored by him."

"Then," Padre Pio continued, "his suffering was apparent as was his desire to join souls to his Passion. He invited me to let his pains enter into me and to meditate on them and at the same time concern myself with the salvation of others. Following this, I felt full of compassion for the Lord's pains and I asked him what I could do.

"I heard this voice: 'I will unite you with my Passion.' And after this the vision disappeared, I came back to myself, my reason returned and I saw these signs here from which blood flowed. Before this I did not have these."

Padre Pio then said that the stigmata were not the result of a personal request of his own but came from an invitation of the Lord, who, lamenting the ingratitude of men, and consecrated persons in particular, conferred on Padre Pio a mission as the culmination of an interior mystical journey of preparation.

And so Padre Pio would suffer for the rest of his life. This is a weird topic for me. I have three children between the ages of 1 and 11. The elder two are aware of what the stigmata are and that they have been exhibited by many saints over the centuries. I'm just no sure of how to explain the principle to them. Suffering for Christ and others isn't something they are quite getting just yet. If anybody knows some good examples/analogies for this topic for kids, let me know.

Anyways, back to St. Pio. Sure, there were miracles. He could read hearts and heal the sick and do lots of other things through Christ who strengthened him. However, folks still were willing to call him out as a attention-grabbing bum, despite his obedience to every restriction his superiors placed upon him. For those who would still assert that St. Pio was a charlatan, I thought this part of the report was worth presenting:

Contrary to what certain doctors have said, Bishop Rossi concluded that the wounds did not appear to be externally inflicted.

"This speaks in favor of the authenticity of the stigmata," Father Castelli explained, "because carbolic acid -- which according to some was what Padre Pio might have used to cause the wounds -- after it has been applied, consumes the tissue and inflames the surrounding area. It is impossible to think that for 60 years Padre Pio could have caused himself these wounds of the same definite shape.

"Further, the wounds emitted the intense odor of violets rather than the fetid stench that degenerative processes, tissue necrosis or infections usually cause."

I know. It probably won't convince anyone, but it needed to be said anyways. Suffering for Christ and His Body, the Church, alien as it may be for those of us living the soft life, is not something we should shrink from. In the attitude of St. Paul, we should be happy with such a privilege in sharing in our Savior's pain. He spoke of himself as one "who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His body, which is the Church." St. Pio's attitude was much the same.

By the way, if you can get your hands on the pamphlet he wrote about Christ's Passion, it is an excellent read. If you can't, I re-affirm my recommendation for The Sadness of Christ by St. Thomas More as a good reflection on the nature of suffering.

St. Pio, pray for us.

Three Generations of Poor People Are Enough

That's basically what Rep. John LaBruzzo of Louisiana (yes, my home state) is saying in the Times-Picayune. Time has pretty much allowed people to forget when that great humanist Oliver Wendell Holmes declared for the Supreme Court that "three generations of imbeciles is enough" when you are pushing for the sterilization of the disabled. I wonder how folks are going to remember Mr. LaBruzzo.

Hey, it's Ok, though. We're going to pay these poor women to sterilize themselves. That makes it alright.

LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.

"What I'm really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare," he said.

He's flexible, too. It doesn't have to be cash payments.

He said his program would be voluntary. It could involve tubal ligation, encouraging other forms of birth control or, to avoid charges of gender discrimination, vasectomies for men. It also could include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.

Eugenics lives, Margaret Sanger rejoices, and we're all one step closer to a Brave New World.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Speaking of Asian Martyrs: The Adversary is Planning to Make More

I've posted several times about the ongoing persecution of Catholics in other countries. Viet Nam, which seems to be a modern-day pipeline for seminarians, is no exception. From AsiaNews:

Goon squads went into action last night in Hanoi. About a hundred thugs raided the prayer vigil held by Thai Ha faithful under the indifferent eye of some 500 police agents—they destroyed a chapel, sullied a statue of Our Lady with motor oil and proffered threats against the people who were praying.

The same thing had happened at night on Friday when another bunch of thugs attacked the faithful, ransacked St Gerard chapel and an outdoor altar, destroying statues and images despite a police presence.

“The attackers were shouting slogans, calling for the murder of the archbishops and Thai Ha superior, Fr Matthew Vu Khoi Phung,” said the Redemptorists.

Yesterday the chairman of Hanoi’s People’s Committee Nguyen The Thao threatened to “severely punish” the archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, and all those like him for “stirring up the population, launching false accusations against the government, mocking the law and dividing the nation.”

This reminds me a great deal of recent reports on 60 Minutes and The World Over regarding Iraq and China. You never really hear about how bad it is out there for folks adhering to the Faith. It takes the outbreak of a war or a major international event like the Olympics for anyone to give a crap.

I know several very good Vietnamese priests. There are probably many more of them in their home country who are suffering at this very moment. Pray to God that they persevere through whatever their trials are.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inspiration from Asia: St. Andrew Kim Taegon

He was the first Korean-born priest, a martyr, and the saint who had his feast day this past Saturday along with over 100 other Korean martyrs. It is amazing the martyrs whose blood sowed the Gospel in these countries. In the case of Korea, the Faith really didn't get started until almost 1800 and that was from folks reading about it on their own. They wouldn't even have priests until almost a decade after that.

AmericanCatholic gives a heart-wrenching account of the torments these holy people underwent for the sake of Christ and His Church. Consider:

Among the martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals, but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. A boy of 13, Peter Ryou, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a 41-year-old noble, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death.

As for St. Andrew Kim himself, he was tortured and then beheaded. He was only 25 years old. His last words were:

"This is my last hour of life, listen to me attentively : if I have held communication with foreigners, it has been for my religion and for my God. It is for Him that I die. My immortal life is on the point of beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him."

Tertullian was right.

Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.

Anyways, the story of these martyrs is quite wonderful and moving. I hope to learn more about them.

By the way, I've been told the new green shows up much better for folks. Let me know if the new red works just as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Recurring Miracle of St. Januarius

Januarius was a bishop who was martyred during the Diocletian persecution of the 4th century. As a martyr, the relic of his blood was preserved by the Christian faithful of his day. Considering that he died 1700 years ago, you would expect the blood to be all clotted and dried. It is. Most of the time.

Weirdly enough, it liquefies a couple of times a year, including on his feast day (which was earlier this month, and yep, it liquefied per CNA) and on the anniversary of a volcanic eruption believed to have been ceased by Januarius's intercession.

At some point, after this blog has made me rich of course, I hope to see this in person along with the Miracle of Lanciano. So make sure you are spreading the word here to bankroll my pilgrimages!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Bevy of Asian Stories Coming Up

Not sure why, but it seems like a lot is going down in Asia lately. First bit of news, and thanks to Amy Welborn for pointing it out, it looks like the new Prime Minister of Japan is Catholic. At least, that's what the BBC is saying. This is great news, as it's always good to see Catholics being promoted to such high stature (maybe we can work on that monarchy thing in Europe), but it's also kind of exotic for me.

I know that there are Catholics in Asia. However, non-Indians Catholics there are just a wild concept for me. I'm not sure why. All the stories about them indicate the Church is orthodox and vibrant in its spirituality. Our Lady even appeared in Akita. I just never really think of the Catholics there unless I'm reminded. Hopefully, this guy will be a great example for the Church and help to draw more people to Her embrace.

Every Preacher or Priest In Memphis Deserves to be in Hell

So says the sign at the First Baptist Church on Main St. in Memphis. The Voice News has the story:

While one side of the board declared, "Only a few people will find Heaven, the rest will find Hell"; the other side proclaimed in bold uppercase letters, "Every preacher or priest in Memphis deserves to be in Hell!" And that is the message that has folks talking.

Our readers here (both of them) might think that I'm going to blast this guy as some sort of anti-Catholic shmoe. He may very well be. I don't know, and I wouldn't base it off this sign since he includes "preachers" as well as priests. What I do know is that the message on the sign (the deserving hell part) is exactly right.

None of us deserve heaven. This is another one of those oft-forgotten bits of the modern age. It's also very uncomfortable. The issue is that salvation is a gift, entirely gratuitous, and cannot be merited by anything we do. The holiest person you can think of, outside of Christ and the Blessed Mother, was by nature a "child of wrath" as St. Paul says (Ephesians 2) and/or has sinned against God in some way. This is to be worthy of hell. This seems to make some folks squeamish:

"I just want to know where the forgiveness part is," The Rev. James Huff of First United Methodist Church in Memphis said. "It is like he is taking the place of God and putting judgment on everyone who preaches around Memphis. I just feel that that is really not a way to build a church up."

The whole point is that you can be saved, despite deserving hell. Society has a big problem with thinking that just being a nice person means the Beatific Vision is yours for the taking. Pelagianism is all over the place. That's the wonder of God's grace. That anyone goes to heaven at all is a marvel of God's mercy.

I do think that this guy has a point:

The Rev. Joseph Horn of Holy Family Catholic Church in Memphis has also heard from community members. "A lot of people have called me and asked me about (his signs) that are usually pretty negative ... too negative to really change someone's heart, so I don't think they are doing the good that he thinks they are doing," he said. "I know that Jesus would use a lot more grace and love and, you know, a better message than just condemnation because He never condemned a sinner. He always called them to be better. He didn't tell the woman at the well how evil she was. He called her to be better. She knew how bad she was. "We all know how bad we are. We don't need to be reminded on a sign how bad we are - we need to be reminded there is hope for us."

But when was the last time you actually heard a sermon on hell? I know people who have church-hopped for no other reason than the pastor dared to counsel them on the fear of perdition. Nobody is saying that people are better off being terrified of God rather than loving Him, but the message of God's justice and our own inability to obtain salvation without Him has been lost. Jesus issued many condemnations in the midst of his calls to repentance. We should keep that in mind and not let the pendulum swing too far in either direction.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Exoneration for Pope Pius XII

The Pave the Way Foundation is an interreligious group that just held a symposium on the heroism of Pius XII in saving Jews during the Holocaust. Zenit gives a good treatment of the whole thing here. Basically, Pius XII wasn't Hitler's Pope and was actually instrumental in saving thousands of lives.

Shocking, I know. I'm sure that Wills, Cornwell, and Foxman are all printing up their retractions and apologies for all the horrible things they've said about such a holy man. Suffice to say, I really am curious about how much evidence these jerks need before they stop slandering the Holy Father. Foxman probably wants video of Pius renouncing Christ and praying in a synagogue. Being that Wills and Cornwell are such hypocrites, I doubt there's anything that will convince them to change their minds outside of a Road to Damascus moment.

Still, the path seems to be getting clearer now. All readers please continue to pray for this wonderful pope's canonization.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Format

I'm probably going to be screwing things up in the next few days. Folks are having some problems with the current color scheme. All complaints or suggestions can be reported here.

Pro-Abortion Views Disqualify Candidates from Catholic Support, per Bishop Vasa

From LifeSite via Catholic.org:

LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Bishop Vasa after the session. Describing the deliberation among US bishops over the "Faithful Citizenship" document, he said: "When we were working on the document 'Faithful Citizenship', and the issue of whether or not a person's adamant pro-abortion position was a disqualifying condition, the general sense was 'yes that is a disqualifying condition'."

Not only that, but for all the folks who love to cite "proportionality":

However, during the discussions mention was made of the document by Pope Benedict just prior his elevation to the pontificate which noted that Catholics may in good conscience vote for a politician who supports abortion in the presence of "proportionate reasons." Bishop Vasa explained the notion of proportionate reasons, saying, "The conditions under which an individual may be able to vote for a pro-abortion candidate would apply only if all the candidates are equally pro-abortion."

Which of course re-affirms what the Church has said all along. There is nothing proportional to the killing of an unborn child. Pushing even further, His Excellency brings up the point that pro-abortion Catholics love to harp on, namely, the Iraq War:

Only when taken to a level of insanity could a 'pro-war' candidate be considered on par with a pro-abortion candidate in the Bishop's view. "If we had a candidate in favor of a war in Iraq in which we decimate the entire population and we kill as many civilians to impose as much terror on everybody as possible to make sure . . . If that was in opposition to a pro-abortion person then I'd have a real conflict of conscience because you'd have a direct and intentional killing of innocent persons on one hand and the direct and intentional killing of persons on the other hand", said the Baker Bishop.

Here endeth the lesson.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Does Heresy Get Easier As You Get Older?

It does if you're Waclaw Hryniewicz (or, as we've seen previously, anybody at a Call to Action conference). Good Oblate Waclaw is a Polish guy who has claims of being a famous theologian. Why does it seem that most famous theologians these days have completely lost their minds?

Anyways, Good Obalate Waclaw seems to have written an article where he outs himself as an indifferentist who enjoys long walks on the beach and blaspheming the name of Christ by maligning his sacrifice on the Cross. From CWN:

A spokeswoman for the Catholic University of Lublin, Beata Gorka, said in a Sept. 12 interview with CNS that Father Hryniewicz was well-known for views on ecumenism and universal salvation "which some theologians consider controversial," but added that staff at the Catholic university were responsible for their own opinions. . .

In September 2007 his Polish-language article, "The Savior uses many tunes," was published in Open Theology, an interfaith Web discussion group. The 1,100-word article was critical of a July 2007 doctrinal congregation document, "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church."

For those who would like to see the CDF document, it's here.

Let's see what Waclaw found so objectionable.

[T]he Vatican document had "disappointed many theologians engaged in ecumenical dialogue" by "stressing what divides, not what unites Christians," and had been a "serious regression" by "seeking to interpret the Second Vatican Council in the spirit of pre-conciliar teaching."

Newsflash for Waclaw. The stuff that divides is the important stuff. If that wasn't there, then we wouldn't have heretics and schismatics. And that last bit is just hilarious. Any Pope who has ever written anything about Vatican II has said that it didn't change anything. I wonder if Waclaw ever noticed all the 10-point font at the bottom of the pages for all the VII documents. For the curious, they are called footnotes. Guess what? They are all pre-conciliar teaching and it's what every single VII document draws upon.

Does the fact that the CDF has demanded that he retract his heresy or face canonical penalties faze Waclaw at all? No. Why? Because he's old.

"I am close to death and do not see how I can now go against my conscience by writing an article with clarifications and rectifications, even though I've been told to expect disciplinary sanctions. What worries me most of all is that this judgment may now be expanded to cover all my previous work as well, in which I expressed similar views and convictions."

So I guess being old makes it all ok, then. This is a guy who definitely needs prayers. He is probably right in saying he isn't long for this world, so we must ask God to give him the grace to make a holy entry into the next world.

Believe it or not, Waclaw's story isn't the most disturbing part of this article. We've had heretics of this sort since the Church was founded. Get this bit, though, from the secretary of the CDF who sent the retraction demand:

The French-language letter, shown to CNS, added that the congregation "deplored above all" Father Hryniewicz's "gratuitous judgment that the Roman Curia is going back to the old ecclesiology and ecumenical theology before Vatican II" and "wishing to have a monopoly of the truth."

What the hell is this? Newsflash #1. The Church does have a monopoly on the Truth. Newsflash #2. There is nothing wrong with the "old ecclesiology and ecumenical theology before Vatican II." Did this guy even read the CDF document that he's supposed to be defending? It's in the very first response.

Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it. This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council. Paul VI affirmed it and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium:

There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation”.

The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention.

And this was the part that was "deplored above all"? You've got to be kidding me. Somebody get Cardinal Levada on the phone. The guy has issued heretical statements in public, and we're worried about the stuff he said that actually looks like it might have been correct? It's like 1984. War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength. Freedom is Slavery. Orthodoxy is Heresy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

St. Robert Bellarmine

Most people have no idea who Robert Bellarmine is. The ones who do know who he is probably just think of him as the jerk who condemned Galileo. The fact is that he's a great saint and Doctor of the Church. Oh, and Galileo had it coming anyway. I'll get to that in a second, though.

St. Robert really made his bones as a Super-Jesuit who taught polemical theology at the Roman College. During that time, he wrote his famous "Disputations" which was basically a huge and thorough work of dogmatic theology that had the effect of completely demolishing every Protestant argument in existence. The spawn of the Reformation actually set up special university chairs for the sole purpose of refuting St. Robert. It's a shame that you really can't find this work anywhere in English. Like his fellow Counter-Reformation Jesuit, St. Peter Canisius, Bellarmine's dogmatic works are just not available. Except, oddly enough, if you're a sedevacantist. They draw heavily on some of his work, but I have no idea where they are getting it from. Usually second or third hand quotations, which is enough to make their whole argument very shady, in my opinion.

The whole Galileo business was rather unfortunate. Yes, Galileo taught heliocentrism. Yes, he got into trouble for it. But why? It wasn't for believing that the sun was the center of the solar system. Copernicus had already said that and nobody in the Church was offended. It's a long story, so I'm not going to repeat the whole thing. Here's a good article about it from Catholic Education. The nutshell is that Galileo had a friend in St. Robert and could have avoided any censure altogether if he had just not tried to be a theologian. That the Church and St. Robert specifically have had to deal with historical revisionism of this point is not good, especially given Bellarmine's other fine qualities.

For example, St. Robert was also famous as an ascetic. Despite dwelling in a Vatican apartment, he lived very simply. This led to his writing some great spiritual works such as his Commentary on the Psalms and the much-celebrated Art of Dying Well. These works are available and, of course, should be read by all.

In this day of ecumenical madness where folks try to ignore the importance of dogma in the name of formless unity, we should remember guys like St. Robert and how they made it their life's work to defend the True Faith.

St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making It Up as You Go Along

That's what Francis Macnab is doing down in Australia. Basically, Francis has decided that Christianity is way too unbelievable, so we need to do stuff that makes it more palatable to our modern (translation: smarter than those old dumb people) sensibilities. He even admits it:

The old faith is in large sections unbelievable. We want to make the new faith more believable, realistic and helpful in terms of the way people live," he said.

Note that it doesn't really matter if it's true or not. It's based entirely on functionality and whether or not it's comfortable for the people. Of course, nothing makes things comfortable like ditching the Decalogue.

The Ten Commandments, one of the most negative documents ever written." With that provocative claim posted high over two city streets, controversial cleric Francis Macnab yesterday launched "a new faith for the 21st century", a faith beyond orthodox Christianity.

This whole article is a good thumbnail sketch of the onset of the kind of Oprah-driven whackjobbery that makes the New Age movement of the 70s look like the Council of Trent by comparison. Note how this guy even escalates to denying a personal God altogether.

Dr Macnab says Abraham is probably a concoction, Moses was a mass murderer and Jesus Christ just a Jewish peasant who certainly was not God. In fact, there is no God, in the usual sense of an interventionist deity - what we strive for is a presence both within and beyond us.

And this guy thinks he's breaking some kind of new ground here? I got some bad news for you, Frank. You aren't exactly planting a flag with this one. I've seen this one on talk shows going back at least to Sally Jesse. Go ahead and think of yourself as a revolutionary, visionary, or whatever "-ary" you choose. The fact remains that you have fallen into the lunacy of the modern age.

On a final note, I should also mention that this insanity seems to be at least partially a fruit of the Jesus Seminar, a council of heresy-spreading blockheads who have taken it upon themselves to determine the things that Jesus really said and did.

"At the Jesus Seminar (a scholarly but sceptical international enterprise examining the statements attributed to Jesus, of which Dr Macnab is a member), we are inclined to think there was a real Jesus but we don't know much about him. The record has been embellished a great deal along the way. He gives glimpses of something beyond him, and that's the most powerful aspect of what he was doing."

Translation: That whole Son of God rising from the dead thing makes a nice story, but we're waaaay too smart to actually believe that crap.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head . . .

A Visit From the Princes of Darkness

Most of you probably know exactly what the title of this post is talking about. In a few hours, the sons of Notre Dame will play host to the minions of the Adversary, aka the Michigan Evil Ones. That Ann Arbor is the Seat of the AntiChrist should not come as a surprise to anyone who has A) ever been there, B) seen a Michigan representative play any sort of sport or game, or C) met anyone who likes Michigan.

Needless to say, Michigan's history is one of complete enmity to the Church, especially schools consecrated to the Blessed Mother. God seems to have placed eternal antipathy between Michigan and the Church, much in the same way as with Satan and the Theotokos. Michigan has basically spent its entire existence in a struggle to overcome the superiority of the goodness that is embodied by Our Lady and her university. This should come as no real shock. It's what the forces of perdition do.

In honor of this occasion, I am reproducing here a very famous post from OGerry on the NDNation board that sums up much of the conflict that exists between these two institutions.

My conscience dictates that I bear no hatred for a person or aggregate of people no matter how whiny, annoying, misguided or man-boobish they may be. Ideas are different, though. The truth demands revulsion at ideas that lead souls from her path. My hatred of the Meatchickens, then, must be grounded in the realm of ideas, not personalities.

On the surface, their football program appears to have much in common with the Blessed Mother’s University’s own. They are both ancient midwestern powers, at least by the temporal standards by which college football can be measured. Midwestern roots tend to flourish best in the rugged soil of a punishing ground attack. Both schools are competitive universities, drawing a relatively similar student body, at least in the ways that the many measure such things. The Michiganers fancy that they have a respectable national following. If it were true, that would be another similarity.

These superficial points of confluence, however, only heighten the essential dissonance between the schools, and the irreconcilable philosophies that guide each football program. EdMartinigan clings to an empty, deracinated philosophy of education. There is no Good; there are only subjective goods, many of which must be respected as equal idols. Education is an end unto itself, to be used to whatever purpose the customer may wish to apply it.
Notice well how they have no compunction about using their athletes as kinesiological pieces of meat, tools of profit for the greater institution.

Notice the size of the school and the emphasis on research at the expense of the undergrad’s quest for wisdom and understanding. Concern for their reputation alone sets their path, straining to seem excellent rather than truly to be excellent, the aim of the sophist. Also note well how quickly they deride any mention of religious themes when mixed with athletic competition by their southron rival. The intellectual must be kept alienated from the spiritual and both from the physical, as if any person actually exists that way. In short, the University of RichardToddBranchigan has swallowed every error modernity has ever spewed into the wheels of human history. They cling desperately to these fallacies, believing that their obstinacy makes them valiant and will lead to victory, and ridiculing any with a wisdom that surpasses their own.

The yawning chasm separating this bastion of hubris from the University of Notre Dame cannot be plumbed, even if one could measure the distance between the east and the west. At Notre Dame, the soul is gently nurtured in the understanding that all things seek but one ultimate Truth, that every endeavor under the sun only finds fullness to the degree that it furthers that pursuit. Excellence in all things becomes the goal prized by worthy and dignified creatures. They are obligated to pursue it in all they do, with all of their faculties. There is a unity in life, with a single focal point that will consummate every part, transforming them into living stones. Athletes are not merely athletes. Students are not merely students. All must share in the essential life of the school, never used simply as an object.

This is why my heart leaps every time I see Notre Dame’s warrior-poets take the field, golden domes flashing in the sun. They embody the spirit of the agon, an all-encompassing pursuit of excellence alien to Ann Arbor, a wrestling with personal weakness to yield to transcendent strength. Her warriors are a visceral reminder of that very mystical body, every part dignified and fulfilled in its unique and blessed toil for the common good.

In a nutshell, you can't spell scum without the UM.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Great Pope

There's been a lot of talk about calling JPII John Paul the Great. You hear folks drop this into conversation every now and then. Just to be clear, calling some pope "the Great" isn't some sort of formal accolade granted by the Church. There's other saints who have been given the same surname who weren't popes at all. St. Albert and St. Gertrude come to mind. Right now, we have three popes typically styled as "Greats": Leo, Nicholas, and our main focus today, Gregory, whose feast day was last week.

St. Gregory was not only a great pope and a saint, but also only one of two popes to be regarded as a Doctor of the Church (Leo being the other). Not only that, but he's regarded as one of the Four Great Doctors of the West along with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome. Not only that, but he did a heck of a job holding civilization in the West together after the fall of Rome. Whether it was keeping the Lombards in check or defending the primacy of the See of Peter, it is arguable, though not hyperbolic, to say that his achievements are unmatched in the entire history of the papacy.

He lived simply and used much of the Church's resources to care for the poor and sick. He was also the first monk to become pope, which is another good example of how the flowering of monasticism in the West thanks to the Benedictines was of great service to the Church in the long run. One of Gregory's more famous works is a biography of Benedict that should be read by all.

What folks probably remember him for most, though, are his contributions to the liturgy. Strangely enough, folks aren't really sure how extensive those were, but there are very strong traditions and historical (and yes, circumstantial) evidence that indicate that it was he who set the arrangements for Gregorian chant and the early liturgical reforms that can be found in the Gregorian Sacramentary. The Mass as set forth in this Sacramentary would essentially go unchanged, even after the codification of its curial use by Pope St. Pius V. In most all respects, it is the Traditional Latin Mass as we have it today. For what it's worth, the Eastern Churched still use his Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts for weekend communion during Great Lent.

Really, I could probably go on about Gregory for months and not post about anything else. I'll just leave it that "great" really doesn't even begin to do this guy justice. May all our future popes seek guidance from his example.

Pope St. Gregory the Great, pray for us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin is an Apostate! Oh no!

This is my last political post for a while. I promise.

I just couldn't pass up this exercise in lunacy from America magazine. I know, I know. Insert Jesuit joke here.

Michael Sean Winters paints Palin as an apostate because her family left the Church when she was 12 to join the Assemblies of God. Because of this:

(While) many Catholics may warm to Palin’s moral views, for example, her opposition to abortion, the cavalier way she evidently treats an act of severe sacramental and canonical significance should give pause to those who take their religion seriously.

Umm, Michael. She was 12. How cavalier could she have been (currently be)? Did you even read your own article a couple of paragraphs up?

The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law is very nuanced. Canon 751 deals with heresy, apostasy and schism. It recognizes that in a situation like Palin’s, the severity of the crime could be mitigated by diminished personal freedom: Even a precocious teenager who commits an act of apostasy might be so strongly influenced by familial considerations that the perpetrator’s guilt is diminished.

Not only that, but it's a common legal principle among civil law systems (like canon law) that if you see two different words used in the same statute, the presumption is that the lawgiver meant it that way because the words carry two different meanings. This is why "Catholic" and "Christian" are not interchangeable in this portion of the Code. Of course, then this nugget gets dropped, which really drives home the point that the whole article is nonsense.

For the rest of us, it is beyond hypocritical for certain conservative Catholics to denounce Joe Biden because he is Catholic and does not support making abortion illegal while applauding a self-described "hockey Mom" who is skating close to apostasy. The Church's sacramental traditions and beliefs are as worthy of respect and defense as our moral traditions and beliefs.

Actually, Biden's position is much worse. Palin doesn't claim to be Catholic, so we don't expect her to tow the Catholic line. Biden (and Pelosi, and whoever else) has decided to formally shirk the Church's teachings, then be a complete hypocrite himself by saying that he really does believe all that Magisterium stuff. This is a lie, probably a sacrilege when he receives the Eucharist, and a source of scandal to other Catholics.

Catholics should be accustomed to heretics in the political arena. At least Palin is honest that she rejects what the Church teaches, perhaps even out of ignorance. Joe has no such excuse.

Biden Tries to Hide the Fact That He's as Bass-Ackward as Pelosi

I really would like to leave the political stuff alone. Really. These people are just making it too freaking difficult to do so. Here's Joe on Meet the Press:

So it's Ok if you are killing someone via abortion, as long as some segment of the population thinks it's Ok. Subjectivity in the realm of moral truth is no way to go through life, Joe, especially if you're allegedly Catholic. What I don't get is how shmoes like this think they are being all profound and enlightened when they make such a logically bankrupt statement.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Correction on Palin and Religion

In my prior post on Gov. Palin, I mentioned that she was a member of the Assemblies of God Pentecostal denomination.

According to the New York Times, I'm wrong. Apparently, she left the Assemblies around 6 years ago to join a "nondenominational" ecclesial community. According to the article, the Assemblies are too "extreme."

One of the musical directors at the church, Adele Morgan, who has known Ms. Palin since the third grade, said the Palins moved to the nondenominational Wasilla Bible Church in 2002, in part because its ministry is less “extreme” than Pentecostal churches like the Assemblies of God, which practice speaking in tongues and miraculous healings.

Very interesting. Probably not going to get any tapes of tongue-speaking now, I suppose. Still, the "nondenoms" can carry their own sets of issues, especially for folks claiming sola scriptura, which these people seem to. I wonder how much of this will come into play. The article tries to make a big deal out of Jews for Jesus, but I really don't see that going anywhere. It will have to be something big (like tongue-speaking) to displace the Jeremiah Wright business on the media scale.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pelosi's Bishop Responds to Her Obstinate Heresy

Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco has come out with a response to Pelosi's continued jackassery re: the Church's teaching on abortion. He issued a statement in his diocesan newspaper about it. There's a lot of good points there.

Speaker Pelosi’s remarks called forth many responses, from Catholics in the pews as well as from bishops. As a result, on Tuesday, August 26th, two days after "Meet the Press" had aired, the Speaker’s office issued a statement on her behalf. It contained this sentence: "While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe[sic] to that view." That statement suggests that morality can be decided by poll, by numbers. If ninety percent of Catholics subscribe to the view that human life begins at conception, does that makes Church teaching truer than if only seventy percent or fifty percent agree?

All you sensus fidelium folk (like you, McBrien), take note of His Excellency's words here.

After a bit of reflection on the USCCB document about political life and denial of the Eucharist, he finally starts getting to the meat and potatoes:

Nevertheless, the bishops go on to say: "If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church, or knowingly and obstinately repudiate her definitive teachings on moral issues, however, he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain." Why is this repudiation of Church teaching such a serious matter? The bishops respond: "To give selective assent to the teachings of the Church deprives us of her life-giving message, but also seriously endangers our communion with her."

Not to mention that the soul in question would be compounding their sin by partaking.

This teaching of the bishops does not violate the separation of church and state. That separation does not require a division between faith and public action, between moral principles and political choices. Believers and religious groups may practice their faith and act on their values in public life, and have done so throughout the history of this country. In his or her conscience, properly formed, a Catholic should recognize that making legal an evil action, such as abortion, is itself wrong.

Pardon me, but should we even give a crap? The Church cannot support separation of Church and state. Tolerate it, maybe. Support it? Never. Even Dignitatis Humanae is clear that the state must be governed by the principles of the "objective moral order." Who can be trusted to discern this objective order? Only the Church. It is therefore impossible for the Church to encourage separation of Her from the state.

This next part is when things get a little weird. His Excellency quotes again from the aforementioned USCCB document:

Some Catholics may not fully understand the Church’s doctrinal and moral teachings on certain issues. They may have certain questions and even uncertainties. In situations of honest doubt and confusion, they are welcome to partake of Holy Communion, as long as they are striving to understand what the Church professes and to resolve confusion and doubt.

Expounding on this point, he comes to his vehicle for resolution.

Speaker Pelosi has often said how highly she values her Catholic faith, and how much it is a source of joy for her. Accordingly, as her pastor, I am writing to invite her into a conversation with me about these matters. It is my obligation to teach forthrightly and to shepherd caringly, and that is my intent.

Archbishop Niederauer is in a bad situation. He's got the third most powerful person in the country espousing public and obstinate heresy. And let's be very honest, friends. Thinking that Pelosi can somehow fall into this "honest doubt and confusion" camp is to be completely divorced from reality. She claimed to have "studied" the issue. She was prompted by Brokaw on what the actual teaching of the Church is. She admitted that she understood it. Then she denied it. She was corrected by a busload of bishops, priests, and laity from all over the country. Her response was to issue a statement that she was right and everyone else was wrong. How much more do you really need here.

I hope that His Excellency knows what he's getting into. One of the biggest problems of the last 40 years is this idea that we can "dialogue" error away. Error, to use St. Augustine's terminology, must be killed. Destroyed. Annihilated. Souls are at stake here. I have confidence that this meeting will happen. I really think that he will call her to repentance and instruct her (again) on her errors. Odds are that, absent a marvelous action by the Holy Spirit, she will ignore him. His hand will then be forced. Let us pray that he will have the courage to do the right thing.

Recall, Excellency: Thomas Becket, John Fisher, Thomas More, St. Sebastian, etc. All challenged the secular authority and were martyred. Your crown of thorns is not nearly as weighty as that. Your calling is to defend the Faith. We are praying for you.

By the way, in case anyone is wondering just how many bishops have chimed in on this, American Papist has a good list:

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver was the first American bishop to respond
Bishop James Conley, his auxiliary
Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC
Cardinal Justin Regali of Philadelphia
Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport
Cardinal Edward Egan of New York
Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo
Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh
Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs
Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio
Bishop Oscar Cantu, his auxiliary bishop
Bishop William Murphy of Rockville
Bishop Edward Slatter of Tulsa
Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas
Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin
Bishop James Slattery of Tulsa
Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston
Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando
Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul/Minneapolis
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the US Bishops,
Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, OR
Bishop Jerome Listecki of La Crosse, WI
Bishop Joseph Gossman of Raleigh, N C
Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, OH

Medjugorje Suppression Underway

From the DailyMail Online:

Benedict XVI has authorised ‘severe cautionary and disciplinary measures’ against Father Tomislav Vlasic, the former ‘spiritual director’ to six children who said Our Lady was appearing to them at Medjugorje in Bosnia.

The Franciscan priest has been suspended after he refused to cooperate into claims of scandalous sexual immorality ‘aggravated by mystical motivations’. He has also been accused of ‘the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders’, and is suspected of heresy and schism.

Most folks here might not know about this little town in Herzegovinia. For those who don't, the Blessed Mother has allegedly been appearing there for almost 30 years. The problem is that the visionaries and their Franciscan sponsors have been most disobedient to the local bishop. The article is basically saying that the visionaries' ex-spiritual director is now under severe disciplinary measures and could very well be on his way to official excomming. Not to mention that he fathered a child with a nun, which is something of a no-no for folks pledged to celibacy.

Something I didn't know was that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had actually forbidden pilgrimages there back in 1985. My mother went on a pilgrimage there about that same time. She also had the Christ on her rosary change from silver to gold. Weird. However, given all the subsequent wackiness, I think it's less likely that we have a group of Teresa of Avilas here and more likely that these folks are deceiving a multitude of people worldwide.

Friday, September 5, 2008

We Are Experiencing Some Delays

There has been and will continue to be a bit of a lag in the blogging. Gustav was a real jerk when he visited, so I've been wading to my car to get to work and watching folks' boats passing through my back yard.

The water is receding, and we will resume are regularly scheduled programming as soon as things return to some semblance of normalcy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why Batman is Catholic, Pt. 3

Thus far, we've covered why Batman isn't an atheist or Anglican/Episcopalian. The former proposition is simply ludicrous, while the latter is mostly an argument from demographics and silence. We will now explore why Batman is actually Catholic.

One of the main thrusts in all of these arguments relates to the question of why Bruce does what he does. As previously stated, it's not vengeance. Bruce is a lot of things, but Ghost Rider isn't one of them. The reason Bruce does what he does is because, for him, it truly is a never-ending battle for justice. And why is justice so important to him? Because he lived, and his parents didn't. When we examine Bruce's character, the central root of his virtue is his guilt over surviving his parents' murder. Not only that, but it's pretty clear that Bruce's guilt doesn't just stop there. It extends to every single person that he has been unable to save. For example, in Mark Waid's Mid-Summer's Nightmare, the JLA members are having their powers boosted beyond their control. Interestingly, Bruce's manifestation of this is to be perpetually vigilant over the entire population of Gotham, always watching and making sure that nothing bad happens to anyone.

This is a reasonable analysis. Batman walks in a world where his colleagues can move mountains, run at lightspeed, etc. Not being able to do that, there are going to be a lot more people that he can't save. I don't have any direct evidence of this, but having read Batman as long as I have, it is perfectly in line with his character to think of a person he did not save and be wracked by the idea that, "Clark would have been there in time. Diana could have saved them. Barry would have stopped that from happening," and so forth.

Consider Batman: Year One, the aftermath of Jason Todd's death, his disappearance in the beginning of the No Man's Land saga, the death of the original Batwoman, his multiple failed relationships and the fallout (Silver St. Cloud, eg), etc. All of these seem to point pretty heavily to a guy whose mission is one of reparation, not just for his own issues (of which his childhood survival is merely the genesis), but for the misdeeds of the entire world. Such wholesale solidarity and the theme of sacrifice to make up for the evil done by others is thoroughly Catholic. As stated in our earlier review of The Dark Knight, nobody sacrifices like Bruce, and the nature of his sacrifices are specifically to expiate the evil of others.

As the inspiring article has pointed out, Frank Miller apparently feels that writing Batman or Daredevil as anything other than Catholic makes no sense. I don't think it's a coincidence that both characters were "born" due to the murder of parents and their subsequent struggle to make sense of their own continued existence in the aftermath of such an event. Not only that, Chuck Dixon, who has written for both Batman and other Bat-Family titles (most notably, Birds of Prey), has conceded Bruce's Catholicism for the same reason as stated above, namely, guilt. I should also mention that Dixon wrote a stand-alone, yet canonical, story that showed Bruce to be the present-day guardian of the Holy Grail. This story, entitled The Chalice, depicted Bruce as definitely Christian. I'll simply add that the fact that he's tied to the Grail is also a heavy indicator in favor of Catholicism, though as the article mentions, it could weigh for Anglicanism as well. Regardless, the opinions of these guys as actual Batman writers, rather than someone just passing through a la Maggin or Kelly, is of fairly high value, I think.

Finally, we must acknowledge that Catholicism is a religion of absolutes. I hope I've been able to portray this throughout my blogging. The Church is very much an all or nothing deal. In contrast, Anglicanism is theologically quite hazy. I don't think it's a cheap shot to say so, and I've had many Episcopalians be very blunt in telling me they like it that way. That being said, it is very difficult to imagine Bruce subscribing to anything that would be regarded as less than absolute. Again going back to The Dark Knight review, one would think that his ironclad morality would reflect his religious views. He isn't making this stuff up as he goes along or looking for avenues to make changes to how he deals with evil and injustice. Anglicanism hasn't made such claims to absolute morality for a very long time, if it ever did.

So there you have it. The only coherent and non-ridiculous conclusion is that Batman is an active, practicing Catholic.

Tell me where I'm wrong.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Vatican II Made Some Dogmatic Definitions (allegedly)

Anybody know what those might have been?

Yeah, me neither.

I bring this up because Patrick Keyes, C.Ss.R., mentioned it in his "Dear Padre" response in my parish's Liguori bulletin today. The question was "Was Vatican II a good thing?"

Fr. Keyes responds by first saying that, in the past, folks who questioned councils or criticized authoritative decrees were promoting schism. He then uses this as a reason why people who criticize Vatican II are "on shaky ground."

Two bits of weirdness immediately jump out here. First, why were folks who did these things only promoting schism "in the past"? Schism is schism. It's a sin against charity and one of the worst things a person can do. The attached historical qualifier has no place.

The second issue here is, of course, the fact that he's completely and totally wrong. If it wasn't for people criticizing the nothing that came out of Lateran V, we wouldn't have had Trent. If I criticize or question the Council of Basle/Florence as a failure, does that make me schismatic? Last time I checked, the Orthodox were still in real, pope-rejecting schism, so it seems pretty clear that it failed in its intended purpose. Anyways, the whole line of reasoning that criticizing a council = schism is nonsensical. Just because something happens via ecumenical council doesn't mean it's going to be an automatic positive result.

Fr. Keyes then drops the line that Vatican II gave us "dogmatic definitions." It's a shame that nobody told these guys about those newly defined dogmas.

But from the renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the Deposit of Faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.

Blessed John XXIII

There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church's infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility.

Pope Paul VI

I know what you're thinking. Three of the Vatican II documents are captioned as "dogmatic." That's nice. The problem is that, regardless of the label, the Vicars of Christ who have chimed in have said that the council did not exercise the charism of the Extraordinary Magisterium. Of course, this is a bad idea for anybody who wants to promote Vatican II as this great agent of change in Church teaching. After all, if there was no exercise of the Extraordinary Magisterium, then we're left with the old teachings still standing firm, as they always have. Try reading the footnotes to Vatican II sometime and see if the documents being referenced in any way resemble what you normally here about the Council. You'll probably be surprised.

And if anyone is wondering what Pope Benedict thinks of all the "dogmatic definitions" that came out of VII, here's his shpiel from when he was just plain old Cardinal Ratzinger:

Certainly there is a mentality of narrow views that isolates Vatican II and which provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it, which give the impression that from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II... The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council.

And in case that wasn't clear enough:

Some descriptions give the impression that everything was different after Vatican II, and that nothing that came before it could still be considered relevant, or could be relevant only in the light of Vatican II. Vatican II is not treated as a part of the greater living tradition of the Church, but as a totally new beginning. Even though it did not issue a single dogma and wanted to be considered a humble pastoral Council, some recount it as though it had been a kind of superdogma which makes everything else irrelevant.

Yet somehow, we still have this idea floating around out there that VII has all these magic dogmas that escaped the attention of even the popes. Weird. The post-conciliar chaos will never be over with until folks like this are able to start being honest about what VII said and why it said them the way that it did (ambiguity brought about through a hierarchical hijacking).