Saturday, December 31, 2011

More News Out Of Philadelphia

Of course, everyone heard when the news broke about the molestation cases there. There's some significant news now that nobody is hearing. Archbishop Chaput is selling the bishop's mansion in Philadelphia.

Thanks to Rocco Palma for the story.

Seen by many locals as the quintessential symbol of the “complacency and pride” that have long marked the city’s ecclesial culture, the property's placement on the market is said to have received “strong support” both from Chaput's Finance Council and Council of Priests, who were consulted on the move over the last six weeks. As the value of a successful deal is almost certain to exceed the canonical threshold for a bishop’s alienation of diocesan property on his own initiative (currently $7.5 million for larger US dioceses), a transfer of ownership would require the approval of the Holy See.

An American prelate is about to engage in a multi-million dollar transaction that requires the approval of the Vatican. That's a pretty big deal. Examining the full article, it doesn't appear to be on the table because of any diocesan financial problems. It looks to be just because +Chaput wants it to happen. With his being a Franciscan, I can understand how he would be uncomfortable in such a setting. However, given the state of affairs, it's probably more an act of penance to maybe give the Philadelphia flock a little more confidence in their new shepherd. I hope it works.

Get Your Indulgence Today

Easy stuff for releasing a soul from torment. You'd want them to do it for you, right?

Thanks to Rorate for the reminder.

§ 1. A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, in a church or in an oratory, are present [take part] in a recitation or solemn chant of:

2° the Te Deum hymn, on the last day of the year, in thanksgiving to God for the favors received in the course of the entire year.

Here is the Te Deum for anyone who doesn't know it.

O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all
Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy
Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Christmas Brawling

Looks to be Greek and Armenian Orthodox clergy throwing down at the Church of the Nativity during what is supposed to be clean-up in anticipation of Christmas:

Rough stuff.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Pt. 9

At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

What can be gleaned from this? Stuff like Christ instituted the Eucharist. None of this "evolving worship service" garbage that seems to be popular among certain RCIA programs.

Or how about the Mass as a sacrifice? Or that Christ is eaten? I wonder what the folks scandalized by Mysterium Fidei were thinking when that language was included. We know from prior posts how scandalized Robert MacAffee Brown was when Paul VI wrote that particular encyclical.

I'd go so far as to say that maybe 75% of the heresies involving the Eucharist that claim "the spirit of Vatican II" could be refuted by this one paragraph.

The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.

I just heard a tremendous "Aha!" from some readers. There it is! We shouldn't be silent spectators! No more TLM!

This is the standard McBrienish argument. In other words, one with no foundation. Such an argument presupposes that those attending the TLM are silent spectators. We already know from prior statements in SC that participation doesn't mean "doing things." In fact, contemplation is superior to action. If anything, people these days are completely violative of this section by having no idea what they are doing, if we are to believe the surveys on what Catholics believe.

Oh, and if you're looking for the footnotes to this, check out Cyril of Alexandria's Commentary on John here, especially chapters XI and XII.

For this reason the sacred Council, having in mind those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the faithful, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation, has made the following decrees in order that the sacrifice of the Mass, even in the ritual forms of its celebration, may become pastorally efficacious to the fullest degree.

"Pastorally efficacious." I'm not sure what that means. I'm assuming that it's to encourage the above-mentioned dispositions.

The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

A revision. Not an entirely new rite of Mass. One can debate the success of the latter sentence as well, since it seems that fewer and fewer Catholics believe (or even know) the dogmas associated with the Mass. We are participating at the wrong level, I guess.

For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.

So they are looking for a liturgy that's more like what the Fathers were using. Maybe no Second Confiteor and that sort of thing. Have you ever been to a liturgy that hasn't been all that "reformed"? The Eastern ones, for example.

Are they more like the TLM or the Pauline Mass?

The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years.

We did this, hence the new cycle of readings. I'm not sure how well this worked out, since we seem to have more Scripture but don't really know much of it very well.

By means of the homily the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are expounded from the sacred text, during the course of the liturgical year; the homily, therefore, is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself; in fact, at those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation, it should not be omitted except for a serious reason.

See, here's one of those things that really bothers me. All this talk about how important the homily is, yet I hear all these stories about random layperson or whoever delivering it.

Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, "the common prayer" or "the prayer of the faithful." By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.

Someone more qualified than me can answer this one. What's the difference between these and the intercessory prayers in the TLM or Divine Liturgy?

In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Aha! again. See, the mother tongue is supposed to be used! To the dustbin with that Latin stuff!

Let's take this in context. First, all it really mentions are the readings and intercessory prayers. Then there's a reference to some vague "local conditions." Even those "conditions," though, are subject to the norm of Article 36. Remember that one? It's the one that said for Latin to be preserved as the language of the liturgy.

So what does the Constitution say? Latin is the norm. The vernacular is the exception. What do we have? The exact opposite.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

Whoa. Probably don't hear this one much, huh? The faithful are actually supposed to be learning Latin. Can you imagine the upheaval if this was implemented these days? People are going insane over having to say "And with your Spirit." Et cum spiritu tuo would make heads explode.

And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.

If you don't recall Article 40, it's discussed in our entry here. It's the one that mentions things like "carefully and prudently" considering any liturgical adaptations with "circumspection," including special reference to the mission field. As mentioned earlier, there weren't all that many objections to liturgical adaptations in this area. Even Bishop Castro de Mayer admitted as much.

Now, does a place like the USA really fall into this kind of category? Did most of the world back in the 1960s? I'm not sure, but it strikes me as very weird that all these adaptations going on meet the criteria of Art. 36 or Art. 40.

That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's body from the same sacrifice, is strongly commended.

Is this about private Masses? Anybody know?

The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact, communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.

The reference to Trent probably shocks the modernist conscience, but it's worth taking a look at, I think. It's in Session XXI. Some readers might be surprised to see the Tridentine statement that communion under both species is something the Church can change. Other readers might be surprised to see this:

[I]f any one saith, that the holy Catholic Church was not induced, by just causes and reasons, to communicate, under the species of bread only, laymen, and also clerics when not consecrating; let him be be anathema.

Think about that the next time you hear someone ramble on about how communion under one species was the product of some kind of clerical snobbery or pride.

The other thing about this paragraph is that it mentions the occasion of communion under both kinds as being isolated special events, rather than every single Sunday.

The two parts which, in a certain sense, go to make up the Mass, namely, the liturgy of the word and the eucharistic liturgy, are so closely connected with each other that they form but one single act of worship. Accordingly this sacred Synod strongly urges pastors of souls that, when instructing the faithful, they insistently teach them to take their part in the entire Mass, especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation.

Of course.

Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration to the following cases:


a) on the Thursday of the Lord's Supper, not only at the Mass of the Chrism, but also at the evening Mass.

b) at Masses during councils, bishops' conferences, and synods;

c) at the Mass for the blessing of an abbot.

2. Also, with permission of the ordinary, to whom it belongs to decide whether concelebration is opportune:

a) at conventual Mass, and at the principle Mass in churches when the needs of the faithful do not require that all priests available should celebrate individually;

b) at Masses celebrated at any kind of priests' meetings, whether the priests be secular clergy or religious.


1. The regulation, however, of the discipline of concelebration in the diocese pertains to the bishop.

2. Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually, though not at the same time in the same church as a concelebrated Mass, nor on Thursday of the Lord's Supper.

A new rite for concelebration is to be drawn up and inserted into the Pontifical and into the Roman Missal.

So there is a new rite for concelebration in the West. Can someone explain why? Here's the thing I don't get. Why did we need one? The East does a lot of stuff that we don't do in the West and vice versa. Was this really so big of a deal? It admits to being an innovation. However, as we learned from Article 23:

Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

So what's the deal?

More to come.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

People Are Taking This "And With Your Spirit" Stuff Way Too Seriously

Or maybe they were just a bunch of humbugs:

A priest today described how he feared parishioners' lives were in danger when a fight broke out in his church during midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Monsignor Vincent Harvey said heavy chairs were thrown down an aisle at St Edmund's Church, Southampton, during the fight in the middle of the service on Saturday night.

Police patrol cars and an ambulance raced to the historic church on The Avenue, Southampton, as other members of the congregation tried to break up the fight.

The priest managed to continue the mass to his shocked but uninjured congregation after police arrived to arrest those involved.

‘You often expect some drunken behaviour at the Christmas Midnight Mass but this was actually quite shocking,’ said Father Vincent Harvey.

‘But then about three or four minutes later, there were scuffles going on. Then it was obvious it was more than just a scuffle, there was actually a fight going on.’

I hope they all went to confession afterwards.

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's STILL Christmas, People!

There's a reason the song is about the TWELVE Days of Christmas.

I know this is probably an utterly stupid thing to nitpick over, but it's annoying when you say Merry Christmas to people only to have them get this smug look and remind you that Christmas was yesterday. After the 4th one this afternoon, I finally just started telling people to have a nice day.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The SSPX Has Returned Serve

Per Rorate:

The response of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to the Doctrinal Preamble presented by Cardinal Levada on September 14 was officially delivered on December 10. This information was recently made known to the District Superiors of that fraternity.

Wait and pray.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Rowan Road

This link to the Weekly Standard has been sitting in my Inbox for probably a week now which is unfortunate since it analyzes one of the most interesting, and ignored, bit of news out there.

The whole thing is about the alleged impending retirement of Rowan Williams from his post as Archlayman of Canterbury and the fact that nobody gives a crap. But they should. Let's take a look at why:

The archbishop of Canterbury is going to resign next year. At least that’s the story making the rounds of newspapers in London, and the interesting part is not that the 61-year-old Rowan Williams should be willing to give up another decade in the job. Or even, if the Telegraph is right, that the clergy and his fellow bishops are working to push him out.

No, the interesting news about the looming resignation is how little attention anyone appears to be paying to it. The Church of England just doesn’t seem to matter all that much, fading from the world’s stage only slightly more slowly than the British Empire that planted it across the globe.

First, why the hell would Rowan want to stay? So he can continue to be excoriated from just about everybody who is supposed to have "communion" with him? And why wouldn't we expect his fellows to be trying to push him out? He's been a disaster by any reckoning.

Christianity will survive in other forms, of course, both theologically and denominationally. In the long run, the great tragedy of the fading of Canterbury and the looming breakup of the Anglican communion may be the geopolitical consequences—fraying the already weak ties between the global South and Western civilization.

He's right about this. The secular world should be paying attention, but it isn't. This fact is a striking demonstration of how irrelevant the Anglican Communion has made itself. The next bits of the article are basically about the growth of Anglicanism in Africa and how it is much more fervent and traditional there than elsewhere. Moving on to the next part:

Instead, hardly anyone notices when the archbishop of Canterbury is about to be replaced and the unity of Anglicanism is about to be shattered. The job of the archbishop of Canterbury has always been something of a high-wire act, delicately balanced between the Protestant impulses of the church on one side and its Catholic impulses on the other side. And, from time to time, various archbishops have lost their balance (notably when John Henry Newman slipped away to Catholicism in the battles over the Oxford Movement in the 1840s).

This time, unfortunately, it is the wire itself that is breaking. What the archbishop of Canterbury needed to hold together was a church divided between such African heroes of the faith as the retired archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, and such established masters of the Anglican bureaucracy as the primate of the Church of Canada, Fred Hiltz. On issues from the legality of abortion to the installation of female bishops and, especially, church ceremonies for gay marriage and the consecration of openly gay priests, the difference between the conservative African churches and the radical Western churches—between, say, Nicholas Okoh, Anglican primate of Nigeria, and Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States—is unbridgeable.

Unbridgeable is probably an understatement. Don't think that this gap wasn't in mind when Schori was promoted either. It was a statement that the Anglican Communion would either board the train to Spongville or be destroyed. Just another step in the overall Death March, but an important one nonetheless. Frankly, the author of the piece and others can wax poetic about Tutu all they want, but it seems pretty clear that he left the station a long time ago.

The current archbishop is a cultivated, intelligent man: a published poet and literary figure with theological sophistication and a talent for administration. Rowan Williams never possessed either the international star-power of someone like John Paul II or the intellectual depth of Benedict XVI. Still, he has more or less succeeded in his decade-long attempt to hold Anglicanism together with a kind of quiet, British suasion.

He pursued that end, however, mostly by trying to make himself an utterly neutral figure, beginning his reign as archbishop, for example, by leaving the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, an important British pro-life group. And his Laodicean pose has led him into such inanities as his 2008 call to enact some form of the “unavoidable” sharia law in Great Britain—even while his fellow Anglicans in Nigeria were being attacked by Muslim mobs.

I admit that I almost stopped reading the article here. Rowan is a smart guy, but what's this "talent for administration" business? And he's succeeded in holding Anglicanism together? Really? This is only if you accept the fact that there is any sort of togetherness going on, which ironically, the whole article indicates is absolutely not the case. All of this stuff went on under Rowan's watch. The fact that everyone still uses the same letterhead seems massively inconsequential in comparison.

And this "neutrality" thing. This has contributed to the unravelling of the Anglican Communion more than just about anything else. What the Anglicans needed was a leader. They got Rowan instead, who basically just let the inmates run the asylum. I'm not sure where or when this kind of stance became a virtue.

Pope Benedict’s 2009 offer of a Catholic home for traditionalist Anglicans is reported to have taken Williams by surprise, and he has found no answer to the administrative disaster of new conservative parishes being established in America—parishes that proclaim allegiance to conservative African bishops rather than to their local ordinaries. For that matter, the church-dividing question of gay marriage and an openly homosexual clergy has not been solved during the archbishop’s tenure. It’s only been repressed...

Yeah, but you just told us how awesome he is. How could any of this have happened?

The last full meeting of the Lambeth Conference—the once-a-decade meeting that brings together leaders from all the national churches to discuss and pass denomination-wide legislation—did not go well, back in 2008. African bishops pulled in one direction, holding separate meetings and hinting at schism, while the Western leaders pulled in the other direction, demanding that all churches in the communion embrace their views on human sexuality. That the church kept any unity at all was a tribute to the meliorating work of the of Canterbury. And with Williams no longer at the helm, little will be achieved at the next Lambeth Conference.

Unity? Why does he keep using that word? I do not think it means what he thinks it means. The last Lambeth Conference was the quiet, whimpering death of Henry and Elizabeth's hell-spawned ecclesiastical offspring. It's a zombie now, just unaware that it's dead and shambling around to various familiar places trying to pretend it's alive. It might even show up at Lambeth in a few years to devour the flesh of some more of its traditions. The bottom line is that the Death March is the only life and mission it has left.

The article's best and main point is something that everyone needs to pay attention to, though:

Little, that is, except the schism of Anglicanism. In all likelihood, the forcing of the issue of same-sex marriage will lead the African churches to withdraw from communion with the Western churches—while the churches of Europe and North America will denounce the African churches, choosing allegiance with standard-issue Western liberalism over the orthodox teaching of their own faith.

And thereby the world will lose one more of the old ties that might have bound it together. Freed from their African anchor, the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in America will move even further in a pro-Muslim, anti-Israel direction, providing yet more cover for fashionable liberal anti-Semitism. Let loose from their allegiance to Canterbury, the African churches will quickly move toward forming pan-African denominations that will feel entirely distanced from Europe and America—and will help build the belief the global South owes nothing to the West.

Granted, these aren't the only consequences, and theologically speaking, not even the most significant. However, it is what the secular world should be paying attention to. While Rowan's road comes to an end, the putrescent corpse of Anglicanism staggers along its own path. When it's finally too exhausted to continue, what will be left? Probably a horde of the worst modernist prelates imaginable on the left, with a group of sincerely devout, but wandering and shepherdless, clerics on the right. It's a good bet that Pope Benedict's greatest legacy will be giving these latter souls a boarding ramp to the Barque of Peter. Let's pray they accept.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sort Of An Assisi Update

I'm throwing this out there for consideration. Some pretty scandalous things have been done at Assisi in the name of peace. And granted, not just there but in a lot of places as we see the evangelical fervor of the Faith gradually diluted into some sort of weird humanism. This is a far cry from Pope Pius XI's teaching in Quas Primas:

When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.

So we need the recognition of Christ as King if we're going to have any sort of peace. I have no idea how the Assisi meetings encourage this, but that's not the point. The point is Pope Benedict's recent comments that resonate much more closely along these lines:

The Holy Father dedicated his remarks to three themes the Commission has been examining in recent years, turning first to consider the question of God and the understanding of monotheism. Benedict XVI recalled how "behind the Christian profession of faith in the one God lies the daily profession of faith of the People of Israel". However, with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, "the monotheism of the one God came to be illuminated with a completely new light: the light of the Trinity, a mystery which also illuminates brotherhood among men". For this reason theology "can help believers to become aware of and bear witness to the fact that Trinitarian monotheism shows us the true face of God, ... and is the source of personal and universal peace".

This is refreshing stuff. The Holy Father doesn't just stick with monotheism, which is an unfortunate habit by some ecumenists. He is clear that Judaism and Islam don't count. It's the Trinity that does, along with the Incarnation. This is where the true peace is. Given that he was talking about the nature of Catholic theology, it's also clear that we are talking about Catholicism rather than whatever Mike Murdock might be espousing.

That's all very good to hear, as it calls the Church back to Her mandate to evangelize. Evangelization is the path to peace. Or to take The Master's word for it:

[H]e that gathereth not with me, scattereth.

Luke 11:23

If I can give the Pope one more bit of props (yo) here, I should mention his hat tip to an idea he talked about in Caritas in Veritate:

"The Church's social commitment is not a merely human activity", Benedict XVI explained, "nor is just a social theory. The transformation of society by Christians over the centuries has been a response to the coming of the Son of God into the world. ... The disciples of Christ the Redeemer know that no human community can live in peace without concern for others, forgiveness, and love even for one's enemies. ... In our indispensable collaboration for the common good, even with those who do not share our faith, we must explain the true and profound religious motivations for out social commitment. ... People who have understood the foundation of Christian social activity may also find therein a stimulus to consider faith in Jesus Christ".

In other words, all this charity stuff that people do doesn't matter if it isn't being done with the Truth in mind. Taking care of temporal needs for the poor doesn't mean anything if the condition of their souls is neglected. It's another call for converting the masses. I wonder if the liberation theologians will bother to listen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Does Come De Previgny Read This Blog?

He just might, since he asks the same question we did not so long ago. In a recent item from Rorate, he discusses the views of the SSPX and compares them with those of Msgr. Gherardini. You can read the whole thing for yourself, but check out the last part:

If affirming that the texts of the Council are disconnected from Tradition makes the Society worthy of being considered outside the Church, is it to be thought that Monsignor Gherardini deserves excommunication for having dared to publicly affirm that which others will never have the boldness of saying?

This sounds a lot like what we posted a couple of weeks ago:

If the SSPX comments are denied, what does that say about guys like Monsignor Gherardini or Bishop Athanasius Schneider who also question some elements of the Council? Are they subject to some sort of negative action as well?

Hey, I'm just sayin' is all. Msgr. Gherardini's question remains the crux, I think. What is the authority of Vatican II in the realm of the Magisterium?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Newsflash: Latin Rite Priests Should Be Celibate

Apparently, Fr. Jan Peijnenburg of The Netherlands didn't get the memo. Not sure how I missed this one, but it seems that he'd had a "partner" for over 46 years. What's worse, he claims that the diocese knew about his girlfriend for over a decade. What is even worse than that, in my opinion, is the rationale given by the diocese for why he has to choose between her and the priesthood.

“We cannot allow him to do that which is forbidden to others.”

That's it? Nothing about vows or holy obedience or obligations to Our Lord Jesus Christ? I'm hoping very much that there's more to this or that maybe it's a bad translation.

Fr. Peijnenburg was given till December 1 to make his choice. He had pretty much announced at the time of the original article above that he was staying with his concubine. When the deadline came, it looks like he figured that ignoring the problem would make it go away. He didn't do anything, so he was suspended and removed from his admittedly limited ministry. Now, he's now wanting to take the case to court:

"I remain a priest, and cohabitant. And I contest the Bishop who has had me removed." These were the comments made by a priest who has been living with a woman for 46 years, and who lost the priesthood two days ago, because he violated (and openly admitted) the obligatory celibacy rule. He is not giving up, however, and promises a legal battle. Father JanPeijnenburg, the elderly Dutch priest who has been defrocked, wants to go even further and take his diocese before the European Court of Human Rights.

Living a "double life" for almost half a century, in his opinion, does not justify the decision of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, on the contrary, the "cohabitant priest” publicly claims the battle undertaken to obtain permission to live with his partner Threes van Dijck (who is also octogenarian). "I will take my case to the European Court of Human Rights", the former pastor announced after recently receiving the letter with which the bishop notified him that he has been suspended from the priesthood because of his refusal to abandon his domestic partner, as the diocesan ordinary officially asked him to do a month ago.

Great. And would anyone be surprised at the rest of the article's statements about how so many in the Dutch priesthood and hierarchy favor the abolition of the celibate clergy?

I don't know anyone from The Netherlands. Just what is the deal with their culture that seems to foment dissent so openly? None of this is new, as Rorate reminds us today with their post remembering The Dutch "Catechism." I'd love to hear any ideas people might have on this question.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ND To Play In China?

It's being discussed, per the NYT. I'm sure Leland Stanford is rolling over in his grave at the thought of his namesake university playing there.

That it's being considered is a wonderful example of ND's continued hypocrisy, though. Put aside the fact that it's a move to play for a country whose government is imprisoning and murdering Catholics all the time. More than just regular persecution, they've even set up a schismatic counter-church for the purpose of deceiving as many people as possible. Take all that out of the equation.

What about all those "fighting for" commercials? We know how dedicated ND is to the "secular common good," so how is it that a nation with a human rights record like China's can draw even the possibility of the university's presence?

One word answer: $$$$$$

Friday, December 9, 2011

Catholic Rage! Catholic Rage!

This has to be posted in as many places as possible. It's from a blog known as Vestal Morons and contains what is no doubt the most profound analysis of VII that the world has ever known.Thanks to Fr. Z for providing this. Star Wars is really about Vatican II.

They tryin' to tell us that deep inside we all wants to be Modernists!!

Whether you agree with it or not, you should read it and pass it on to every single person you know.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Feast Of The Immaculate Conception

You might be wondering, Where's Mary? True, this isn't an icon of the Blessed Mother. It is, however, a picture of what we celebrate today, namely, the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos.

This is one of my favorite icons. I have no real words myself for today, so I'll leave that to some other folks.

O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew.

St. John Damascene

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

Blessed Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Wonder If ND Will Ever Get Around To This

From Rorate, regarding recent decisions at the University of Louvain:

"KU Leuven - University of Leuven" [in English]. This is probably the new name of the university. A consensus has been reached in the university to keep the K, but to remove all references to the name Catholic. The proposed [new] mission statement of the university also includes independence from the Church and proactive openness.

Although final decisions on the identity [of the university] are to be taken only by the University Board meeting of December 22, President Mark Waer has made clear that "the line has been drawn." ...

The position of the five bishops within the Board will be placed under pressure ... . The acknowledgment of Archbishop Leonard [of Mechlin-Brussels] as Chancellor of the university would remain, but he would no longer sit on the Board

All references to the Catholic character will be removed from the name. ... Internationally, in order to avoid confusion about the identity of the university, the present document recommended the subtitle "University of Leuven." [sic, in English]. ... The interest of KULeuven is to associate its independence from the Church with a more proactive diversity policy. It would seem that a broad focus for the different groups at the university is necessary. President Waer argues for a broader interpretation of the hitherto compulsory course "Religion, Meaning and Values." "The students, who the leaders of the future, must be open to and confronted with different views." Waer suggested that the RML course be replaced by one on "Man and worldviews", where Christianity is just one of the different worldviews represented."

How incredibly disgusting. And unfortunately, probably not that far away from what we'll see at Catholic universities in this country. It's at least honest, I suppose. Why pretend to be something you aren't?

Monday, December 5, 2011

This Is How Absurd It's Gotten

Per FoxNews, a bill is being introduced in the House that would ban abortions on the basis of race and gender. Sure, the article mentions that nobody thinks it will pass, but just consider the concept. We would have a situation where certain classes of babies would have more protection from being killed than other babies for no other reason than whether or not they have an extra X-chromosome.

Some babies are just more equal than others, I guess.

And yes, I get it that this guy is trying to stop whatever abortions he can. That doesn't make the fact that we even have to consider steps like this any more absurd.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Modernism And Who Knows What

In a lot of ways, I think Catholics of the traditional set need to look in the mirror a bit. As I wander through the Catholic corners of the Web, I find that a lot of our like-minded brethren are doing the cause way more harm than good.

For example, a random post goes up on a Catholic message board about how somebody doesn't understand this corrected translation business and that they don't particularly like it. They are then met with a barrage of mockery from the self-styled traditionalist who basically declares that they are going to hell anyway for attending a Pauline Mass in the first place. The original poster is now completely shut off from wanting anything else to do with the discussion, much less learning about why the translation is changing. Most likely, their position on the changes is confirmed, since only a jerk like the responder could like such a thing.

It seems there is an incredibly quick rush to pass judgment on Catholics who just might not know something. I'm not sure why. Just pride, I guess. It's a natural impulse to enjoy showing that somebody else is wrong and that we're right. That doesn't make it a good impulse.

You could throw in a range of topics here. Blessed John Paul II's papacy, anything from Vatican II, the Social Kingship of Christ, etc., all fall under this same scenario. Instead of trying to understand the background of the person presenting their opinion or asking the question, they are almost presumed to be a liberal modernist heretic and no prudence or mercy is shown in dealing with them. St. Paul said something about milk before meat. Is that out of style these days?

Take myself for example. When I was growing up, my priest was a no-nonsense Irishman who didn't mince words about the Faith and tolerated absolutely zero dissent from the Church. I had no idea there was a crisis going on. I figured everywhere was like my parish. Sure, we had some flakes that I knew pined for disco liturgy and such, but they were quickly silenced when they attempted to influence matters simply by the priest's comments that "We're Catholic. We do things the Catholic way." This was at a parish with a Pauline Mass, reverently offered. I didn't even see a TLM until I was well past 20. Even now, I get criticized in some circles because I don't drive my family 4 hours every Sunday to the nearest traditional liturgy.

Considering all this, I hadn't read Vatican II or its history, but I certainly wouldn't have thought the subsequent era had any problems. I hadn't heard about Assisi or the Koran incident or any of the other stuff that so scandalized Catholics who were paying attention to this sort of thing. Which is my point. The number of folks in the latter group is pretty small, I think, compared to the body of Catholic believers at large. Most Catholics don't know what Modernism is, other than it's clearly a slur and not something that's going to encourage them to find out more.

I guess I'm just urging charity here. Don't rip somebody as a heretic, indifferentist, modernist or any other such term just because they disagreed with you. Consider first that they are just trying to be good Catholics as best they can. And consider that maybe you're the one who is wrong. Going to a TLM doesn't make you infallible, so it can happen. Wailing away on people who are just trying their best isn't going to make them more sympathetic to traditional ideas. It will have the opposite effect.

Let me add one other thing here since the SSPX has been in the news recently. This is kind of their problem too. Not to sound harsh, but I don't think standing at the periphery shouting at people is all that effective. Too many people have no idea about their current situation to listen, even those in good faith. The SSPX's irregular condition is an automatic shut-off for the average Catholic. If they want to do the most good, they will regularize and get back in the fight for real. Getting this obstacle out of their way will be a huge benefit. Every time I go to an FSSP Mass, it's packed and attracting more and more people who have never been there before. The SSPX could bring more people in as well, but I don't know that they can be as effective given their current situation.

Anyways, to conclude. Charity first. Milk before meat. Do not presume.

That is all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fair And Balanced?

Not from this Zenit headline:


Did they really?

The superior-general of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has declared that his group is not in full agreement with the content of a "Doctrinal Preamble" offered to them by the Vatican.

Is that really a rejection? Given that the document was provided with some flexibility and even came with a note saying that it wasn't "definitive," how is the SSPX's decision to ask for some changes a rejection?

It seems to me that it's just part of the process and exactly what Cardinal Levada and/or Pope Benedict expected to happen. Here is the full text of Bishop Fellay's comments. Here's my question. If the SSPX comments are denied, what does that say about guys like Monsignor Gherardini or Bishop Athanasius Schneider who also question some elements of the Council? Are they subject to some sort of negative action as well?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holy Smokes! A Movie About The Vendee!

Sure, it looks low budget, but the fact that someone is even acknowledging that all this happened is pretty shocking. Thanks to the HoC for getting the word out.

Between this and Cristiada, there's all kinds of Catholic moviedom being unleashed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Feticide: Calling A Spade A Spade

Rorate notes that the UK's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has decided to cut through some of the semantic hair-splitting involved with killing babies. As part of the new guidelines regarding women seeking abortions, FETICIDE is recommended "should be performed before medical abortion after 21 weeks and 6 days of gestation to ensure that there is no risk of a live birth."

Nice to know they've given it such thought.

Inducing fetal death before medical abortion may have beneficial emotional, ethical and legal consequences.

If you ever wondered if we were living in an age of absolute evil, consider that this group of legally-sanctioned professional has just formalized a policy wherein the killing of a child is lauded for its beneficial ethics. Think about that. Or this:

However, in cases where the fetal abnormality is not lethal or the abortion is not for fetal abnormality and is being undertaken after 21 weeks and 6 days of gestation, failure to perform feticide could result in a live birth and survival, which contradicts the intention of the abortion.

Well, we sure as hell can't have that happen, now can we? Just ask President Obama. The last thing we need is some kid getting born and actually living. And we might as well do it when they're really tiny. Otherwise, it might hurt them:

Regarding fetal pain and awareness, the RCOG has published guidance and concluded that ‘In reviewing the neuroanatomical and physiological evidence in the fetus, it was apparent that connections from the periphery to the cortex are not intact before 24 weeks of gestation and, as most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception, it can be concluded that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to this gestation.’

Ignoring for a moment whether or not this is true, does anybody really think that the rightness or wrongness of this decision depends on the baby feeling pain or not? Let me jump straight to Godwin's Law. I suppose this means that if the Nazis had sedated the prisoners in Dachau or wherever that executing them would have been ok.

You probably don't want to read the whole entry. It's something out of our worst dystopian nightmares. Might as well just accept the fact that it's happening, that we have to pray and do our part to stop it, and that God is punishing us and will continue to punish us for these crimes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


So today was the introduction of the revised translation. How did it go for you? We had a practice run last Sunday, but it was with a visiting priest who kind of forgot to mention what we were doing. Naturally, there was some confusion. Still a bit this morning as well. Which means there was some complaining.

I'm going to wonder many times over the coming weeks if all these whiners have considered what the shift was like going towards the vernacular. Yeah, I'm sure that was seamless and not awkward at all.

Any stories from your parishes about transitioning to the revision?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"They're Going After My Girls"

When you read the caption of this post, what was the image conjured in your mind? Bullying? Some other variety of physical intimidation? Perhaps some kind of emotional torment? At the very least, a sort of threat, right?

Nope. These are the words used by Jennifer Zickel to describe either the Catholic Church or her priest upon hearing that her parish wouldn't be having female altar servers anymore.

Oh, the humanity! I'm betting there's a Lifetime movie in production right now to bring this story of oppression and struggle to the public at large.

The whole story is at the Washington Post:

Tucked in with announcements about a new electronic donation system and a church dinner at Margarita’s Mexican restaurant was news that Zickel, the mother of two girls, had been dreading: Corpus Christi would no longer train girls to be altar servers.

Zickel burst into tears and ran to the bathroom.

“I knew right then that our family couldn’t stay at this church anymore,” Zickel said, her voice breaking. “I’m a mama bear, and they’re going after my girls.”

Who knew bears were so melodramatic?

The decision last fall by Corpus Christi’s pastor, the Rev. Michael Taylor, and the response of Zickel and about a dozen other families who left the 1,100-family South Riding church reflect ongoing tensions among American Catholics over the role of women. About 50 families from across the country wrote letters of protest to the Arlington Catholic Diocese, and a vigil is scheduled for Sunday outside the diocese’s offices.

Last fall? Are you freaking kidding me? Why is this a story now?

Looking at the rest of this tragicomic paragraph, I wonder if these dozen families were all personally affected by this decision or if they are just looking to make a statement. I suppose it doesn't really matter. It's just another example of people having little or no respect for authority. Holding a vigil? I wonder how many other vigils they've had and for what cause. Hopefully, they've opted for a few occasions that were actually Catholic, rather than this sort of immature pouting.

Perhaps next they'll protest non-Catholics being barred from communion. Or those in mortal sin even. Or just skip to the chase and demand women priests.

Interestingly enough, although this story made the Washington Post, the line coming from the diocese is pretty tame:

Caitlin Bootsma, the diocese’s spokeswoman, said she thinks the number of displeased parishioners is very small.

“The rest of the community either supports it or is getting used to it,” she said. In the diocese overall, “we don’t hear much on the issue at all anymore.”

Which makes sense considering that the girls already participating were allowed to continue. They just had to wear white, while the boys wear black.

Maybe we should go back to Blessed John XXIII's policy and not even allow women in the sanctuary, period. Make sure his name is attached to the decision and watch the liberal heads explode from apoplexy.

If I can just add a small bit here. Have you ever watched the interactions of young boys and young girls? At this age, boys are drawn to things that they perceive as activities that are for boys. The minute girls show up to participate, the boys will lose interest. You can observe this anywhere, but if you've been especially unlucky, you've seen it in your parish since girls started on the whole altar serving thing. My parish used to field half a dozen servers for any given Mass. When the girls started, it was down to 1 or 2 within a couple of years. The boys didn't want to do it anymore. Think about that when someone mentions the vocations crisis. Ask yourself or any protesting parishioners you might know if we are doing everything we can to address the crisis. Consider that maybe we aren't and that this course of action might be something that would help.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Non-Thanksgiving Thought

I was sitting around last night reading a bit by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange and some stuff occurred to me about this past Sunday's Gospel reading. Consider this part:

Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Matthew 25:34-40

If the blessed receive this kind of reward based on their treatment of others being compared to their treatment of Jesus, how much greater is Our Lady blessed as the one who actually did these kinds of things for Christ Himself? I doubt He was ever sick, but pretty much everything else applies. She gave Him food, drink, clothes, and was one of the few remaining by His side when He was executed as a criminal.

Perhaps something to mention to any Protestant brethren who question why she is any different from the rest of us.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Theology At ND

I've had this question come up a couple of times via email and more recently in this comment from an old thread about Professor John Cavadini. Basically, the question was whether or not you can go to ND and get a good theological education, sans heresy.

First, let me qualify this by saying that I graduated from ND over a decade ago, so things might be way different now.

Second, I didn't graduate in theology. I did get a philosophy degree, and there was some natural overlap between the two departments on a few things.

With those two qualifiers, let me say that I do think you can go to ND, major in theology, and get a soundly orthodox education on the subject. You will have to work around some things, though. Everybody knows about Fr. McBrien. When I was there, Fr. Baxter was another guy with some odd ideas, but I've been told he isn't there anymore. Hugh Page destroyed the faith of some students while I was there and was promoted to Dean of First Year Studies. I imagine he's still around. Professor Jean Porter has some clearly wrong ideas about abortion. Oh yeah, and Gustavo Guttierrez teaches there, too. In other words, there are some bad apples to be avoided.

However, you've got guys like Professor Cavadini there. I've heard great things about David Fagerberg. It's not like things are a complete wasteland. My advice to anybody looking to pursue a degree there would be to visit or call the theology department and speak to one of these guys. Tell them about your concerns. I'm sure they would be more than happy to help you out. The world needs good theologians. They aren't the type to discourage the formation of one.

While I will discourage my own kids from going to ND and have no intention of supporting it financially until there is a regime change or some public repentance, I can understand the fact that the world indeed needs good theologians. Not only that, but ND needs students serious about their Catholicism. Too many have grown up without really knowing the Faith. Lots of thinking that "everybody's going to heaven" and "many paths to God" and so forth. Having some savvy theological minds among the student body might help with this. If anyone feels called to take on this kind of work, I don't want to dissuade them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thought Experiment

Consider this latest story as reported on FoxNews. Apparently, there might be a link between rising levels of prostate cancer and the amounts of contraceptive hormones in the water supply. Negative effects from contraceptives are old news. Whether it's cancer rates or genetic alterations in aquatic life, we've known about this stuff for a while. Granted, it's not all that widely publicized, but it's still out there.

Here's the experiment. What would the negative consequences have to be in order for society to give up its access to cheap and quick sterilization? How bad would things have to be for women to stop taking the pill and men to cease trying to get them to take it?

So far, we've got harmful effects to the environment and higher cancer risks for both men and women. Not to mention the abortifacient aspects where a child winds up dead.

What do you think it will take? Outside of instant death, I'm not sure there's anything bad enough.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Contraception For The Disabled

There are people here who know more about these things than I do. Can I get a ruling on this bit from the Q&A over a Zenit?

Q: My friend has a 21-year-old daughter who suffers from a developmental disorder that makes her behave significantly younger than she is. I too have a daughter with a similar disorder (she's 12). Because some people prey on girls who do not understand what is going on or do not have the reasoning skills to stop a situation, my friend put her daughter on "birth control" to protect her. She has, of course, talked to her daughter about what is appropriate touching and what is inappropriate. But she still fears for her daughter's safety. I know from my experience that my daughter often does inappropriate things unknowingly. I understand this mother's worry, but I wonder if there are any moral concerns with doing this? -- D.U., Wichita, Kansas.

This is a legit question. Some of the stuff in the answers seems weird, though.

But in the question above, we are not dealing with a woman who is freely choosing sexual intercourse. We are dealing with the potential victim of a sexual assault -- rape. Rape is an act of forcing another person into sexual intimacy against his or her will. A female victim of rape certainly has no obligation to submit to her rapist's assault. And she rightly resists her assailant. The attacker's sperm is an extension of the attacker himself. Just as it would be legitimate for her to defend herself against him by attacking his person, or to pull herself away from him as he penetrates her vagina so he does not ejaculate inside her, so too she has a right to prevent his sperm from achieving the completion of his act of aggression by fertilizing her ovum. This act on her part is one of self-defense. And the Church has always taught that proportionate measures used to render an aggressor incapable of causing harm are legitimate.

The USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (5th ed., 2009), directive 36, sets forth the following norm:

A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.

Although this directive specifically addresses women who have already been victimized, I believe it is legitimately extended to potential victims of rape. If a woman anticipates being raped, as may occur in a time of war or social unrest or if she is particularly vulnerable, as in the case of the disabled, she may use preemptive measures to defend herself (her ovum) from a rapist's attack (his sperm), provided those measures are not abortifacient.

When a woman is not adequately equipped to defend herself, it may fall to her caregivers to take reasonable measures on her behalf. One who is authorized to make or execute decisions on behalf of another is called a proxy. (Strictly speaking proxies are authorized by those on whose behalf they act; since a cognitively disabled person may not be in a position to formally authorize another, caregivers, such as parents, who rightly make decisions for dependent children, are not really proxies; but for purposes of this reply, I use the term proxy.)

Does this thing from the bishops seem correct? The extrapolation offered in the answer really seems off-base to me. From my reading, it's like we're ok with sterilizing people as long as the circumstances are right. I don't think you can argue double effect here. Moreover, the directives of Humanae Vitae don't seem to permit this kind of "pre-emptive strike." Not to mention that the scenarios for this can't be all that common. Rwanda-type situations and things like that, but I can't imagine a typical parent being put in a position where they are so afraid of their child being raped that contraception would be a legit choice. If that's the case, the parent should be extricating themselves from wherever they are as quickly as possible.

And just how far does this logic go? Can we do tubals on the girls? What about for boys? Can steps be taken to sterilize them as well? Castration, even?

I just don't get it and would appreciate somebody explaining it to me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anybody Watching These Debates?

They're mostly funny or sad, depending on your perspective, I suppose. However, I did want to point out something from the one this past weekend. I just got around to watching it via DVR and noticed something entirely out of place in the current political narrative, regardless of party.

Newt Gingrich specifically brought up the growing problem of the "Arab spring" turning into an open persecution of Christians. Thus far, President Obama has apparently been ok with the extermination of Christianity in the Middle East. Or, at the very minimum, really good at hiding how upset he is over it.

Allow me to suggest that only someone affiliated with the Catholic Church, as Gingrich is, would be willing to bring something like this up at all, much less on the stage of a nationally televised debate on CBS. Don't take this as an endorsement or anything. It just struck me as so out of lockstep with the prevailing talking points that I was compelled to give him props for doing so.

The next big step will be for someone to mention the persecution of Christians in Israel.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Married Priests From The Eastern Churches

So the Melkites in the US are going to start ordaining married guys, so says this OrthoCath blog.

At his recent enthronement as the Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop in the USA, Bishop Nicholas Samra stated that the Melkite Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church in union with the Pope of Rome) will begin ordaining married men to the priesthood in the USA.

Bishop Nicholas Samra, Bishop of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts made the comment in a dinner speech following his enthronement on August 23, 2011. The Bishop’s speech, newly published in the Melkite journal Sophia, contains the first published public statements by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of their intention to ordain married men to the priesthood for the American Melkite Church.

I honestly didn't realize that the ban or any other such restriction was still in place. Aren't we way past all this by now? Most Latin Catholics don't even realize they're Latin Catholics, much less that there are other Catholics out there. What is everybody worried about? Confusion among the laity? Maybe this kind of confusion will do them some good by making them get out and learn exactly what this "Catholic" thing they belong to actually is.

There is a concern here, though. Sometimes, it seems like you get a few Easterners who want to do things just to show Rome up. I certainly hope this isn't the case here. That being said, I'm assuming this is all on the up and up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pro-Life (?)

Here's a depressing story:

Defying Mississippi's conservative reputation, women voters appeared to lead the charge against a ballot measure that sought to ban abortion, and could've made some birth control illegal and deterred doctors from doing in vitro fertilization.

Supporters of the so-called personhood movement, which defines life as beginning at fertilization, vowed to push for the amendment in five other states next year, even though this Bible Belt state may have been its best chance at success.

While there were no exit polls to determine how men and women voted, women for weeks sounded off on social networking sites. In the well-mannered South, where things like sex and abortion are rarely discussed in polite company, women attended a rally last month with signs such as "I love my IUD" and "Keep your public policy off my private parts."

Here's what folks need to understand. When we (Catholics) say "pro-life," it's not what other people mean when they say it. This vote explains that quite well. The non-Catholic pro-life movement has very little grasp on how abortion and things like contraception and in vitro are tied together. A lot of this is due to ignorance. Some is innocuous, but a lot of it is willful and/or self-inflicted. And when I say non-Catholic, I'm including people who just use "Catholic" as a label. Like this woman:

Kathy Sikes of Jackson, a Catholic and an abortion opponent, voted against it. The mother of three grown daughters believed it would pave the way for government intrusion into private medical decisions such as birth control. She said also she grew tired of receiving email from men asking for her support.

"All the men are the ones who said to vote for it," Sikes said, chuckling. "Well, why not? Nothing off their back. They have the fun and then the woman raises the child if the child comes."

Yeah, Kathy. That's just freaking hilarious.

It all boils down very simply. There are a lot of people who are allegedly pro-life, but only as far as it might affect their ability to get on the pill or aim for children on demand (many of whom will end up in a deep freeze or dead anyway). If a challenge to abortion jeopardizes a woman's sacred right to sterilize herself or commodify her children, then the abortion stuff is going to have to take a back seat. Dead babies are important, after all, but not that important.

We deserve whatever punishment God chooses to visit on us for these abominations.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Venerable Pius XII Goes Undercover

I got this from Fr. Z, but the initial report was at CNA.

Gary Krupp came across the evidence in a letter from a Jewish woman whose family was rescued thanks to direct Vatican intervention.

“It is an unusual letter, written by a woman who is alive today in northern Italy, who said she was with her mother, her uncle, and a few other relatives in an audience with Pius XII in 1947.” Next to Pope Pius during the meeting was his Assistant Secretary of State, Monsignor Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.

“Her uncle immediately looks at the Pope and he says, ‘You were dressed as a Franciscan,’ and looked at Montini who was standing next to him, ‘and you as a regular priest. You took me out of the ghetto into the Vatican.’ Montini immediately said, ‘Silence, do not ever repeat that story.’”

Krupp believes the claim to be true because the personality of the wartime Pope was such that he “needed to see things with his own eyes.”

“He used to take the car out into bombed areas in Rome, and he certainly wasn't afraid of that. I can see him going into the ghetto and seeing what was happening,” says Krupp.

How about that? If true, that's way remarkable stuff. There are some other interesting factoids in the article about what Krupp's group has done to exonerate Venerable Pius XII from the slanders hurled against him. In light of all this, I'm sure Abe Foxman will be issuing a press release any day now expressing his gratitude over the Holy Father's efforts.

Any day now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cold, Cold Water

I love the folks at Rorate, but man, they sure know how to bring a dude down. Check out their recent entry on relations with the Orthodox.

From Metropolitan Hilarion (the guy who thinks it was ok for the Soviets to force Ukrainian Catholics into Orthodoxy). His comments are focusing on the Pan-Orthodox Council, which is an idea that's been knocking around for decades and still hasn't materialized:

He assured all those doubting that the Council will not be the Eighth Ecumenical Council and will not rescind or review the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. “The Council will not cancel fasts, nor will it introduce married episcopate or allow a second marriage to clergyman. It will not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome over the Orthodox Church or sign union with the Catholics. The long and short of it is that the Council will do nothing of that what some “defenders of Orthodoxy” fear, displaying zeal that exceeds reason. In case something adverse to the spirit and the letter of the Seven Ecumenical Council happens, the Russian Orthodox Church will renounce this Council and its decisions as she renounced the Council of Ferrara and Florence in 1441. I believe, however, that the other Local Orthodox Church (sic) will renounce it, too.”

I don't see Moscow agreeing to any sort of gathering like this until Constantinople has finally been destroyed. After that, it will be a great forum for Russia to announce its primacy among the Easterners.

Speaking of Constantinople, here's another sad bit. This one is from Patriarch Bartholomew:

The Ecumenical Patriarch said that he has repeatedly stressed in the past "the essential differences between Orthodoxy and other confessions." Referring especially to the dialogue with the Catholic Church he emphasized that the Orthodox Church always prays "for the union of all" and may not refuse herself when invited to a dialogue on the purpose of attaining this union, "as is desired by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself", but not without substantial conditions:

"Union is the ultimate goal, but before that there should be the identity in the faith."

"Speaking years ago to our Roman Catholic brothers I pointed out the path regularly followed by the Roman Catholic Church by accepting more and new doctrines, and in its journey towards our Church, instead of converging towards union, it has departed and driven further apart one another" (Georgetown University, 21 October 1997), added Mr. Bartholomew. He said further:

"Furthermore, it is not true that we overlook the preconditions to the union of churches, nor is it true that we overlook the differences which prevent union."

For me, this is another point where all the efforts of ecumenism seem to have fallen flat. Having meetings and slapping each other on the back is one thing. It doesn't really accomplish anything until people start acknowledging the differences. Rorate mentions Bishop Farrell's comments about Catholics and Orthodox having the same faith. These echo the naivete exhibited by Cardinal Husar a while back. Maybe somebody should talk to the Orthodox hierarchy before making comments like these and looking so foolish in the process.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why The Dorothy Option Won't Work

Vox Nova recently posted an article by a guy named Mark Gordon regarding the current state of political and economic affairs in the US. In a nutshell, he rightfully decries the left-right paradigm and how Catholics have splintered into one or the other faction.

I used to engage in these war games, and enjoyed watching others engage in them. I fought under the conviction that the soul of the Church – at least in America – was being contested. Don’t get me wrong: my intent is not to trivialize or dismiss either the importance of the issues contested or the legitimate passions of the contestants. It is true that from a Catholic perspective there is a fundamental problem with a party that aggressively supports both the killing of the unborn and a revolutionary redefinition of marriage. And it is also true that from that same perspective there is a fundamental problem with a party that aggressively seeks to dismantle the social safety net in the name – acknowledged or not – of a Darwinian economic ideology, and which uncritically celebrates war, torture, and empire.

For the purpose of this post, we'll overlook what appears to be the standard problem of placing abortion on the same level as these other concerns. Let's assume that he's not doing that and is merely pointing out that both sides have pretty big problems if one is to profess Catholicism. Catholics in general should abhor abortion, but they also understand that subsidizing corporate interests to create oligopoly and monopoly at the expense of people is bad, too (along with war, etc.).

To remedy this, Mr. Gordon proposes what he calls "the Dorothy (Day) Option."

The “Dorothy Option” is not about retreating into isolated enclaves like Ave Maria, Florida, or indulging in the kind of spiritual navel-gazing that so often marks New Age and fundamentalist Christian communities. Instead, it means a deeper, more radical engagement with the world through a life centered on service to the poor and marginalized. It also means resistance – including the use of non-violent civil disobedience – against systems that generate violence or offend the dignity of the human person. Dorothy was no socialist. She mistrusted the concentration of state power and even opposed the erection of a bureaucratic welfare state, which she thought was violent at its core and dehumanizing in its effects. But, of course, she was no capitalist either. She equally mistrusted private concentrations of power, especially corporations, which she believed commodified human persons and impoverished the many for the sake of a few.

Sounds good. The problem is that it omits, and maybe not even purposefully, the thing so often left out of Catholic social justice discussions. Why are we engaging the poor and marginalized? The paraphrased error of the liberation theologians is to say that we do so because we should be pushing for the realization of the Kingdom here on Earth. Many Catholics have swallowed and digested this until they think that taking care of the poor is the Church's primary end. This is false. The Church's mission is to save souls. All Her work in charity, or social justice, or whatever you want to call it is subordinated to that goal.

You can "radically engage" the poor in whatever extreme method comes to mind, but it will never catch on unless people understand why it should be done. It's because we love God first, and then His creatures on account of Him. In all of the Dorothy Option discussion, there is no call to evangelize these poor people. There isn't a push to win souls for Christ. There's only a list of things that could come from anywhere. Anybody can ladle soup, get arrested, or publish a newspaper. Where will they get their ideas of justice, though? Do they understand where justice places a limit on those they are protesting AND their actions and demands as protesters?

They won't unless they understand why all of this is important. Unless they are taught to listen to the voice of Mother and Teacher. Pope Benedict hit on this very theme a lot in Caritas in Veritate. What good does all this talk of charity and justice do unless it's tempered by Truth? Absolutely none. Even if temporal successes are realized, what good does it do for such those receiving assistance to be ultimately without Christ? I suggest none. Tending to people's material needs while letting them continue under a distorted idea of what charity and justice are is only going to make things worse by (a) leading those assisted to think their ideas are correct or at least acceptable and (b) confusing Catholics as to what is correct or acceptable.

Let me give an example. I was recently in New York City and passed by the Occupy Wall Street crowd. In one corner of their encampment, there was a quasi-marked off area with two cardboard signs. One said "Community Altar" and the other "Sacred Space." I'm not sure exactly what was going on. Perhaps some sort of pagan marriage ritual. Two people were standing in the "Sacred Space" while a woman waved feathers and incense around them in some kind of pattern. These people might very well be poor and marginalized. Helping them might solve those problems. Their real problems run much deeper, though. Unless Catholics use the Truth to separate themselves from any of the innumerable other groups who can provide assistance, we aren't really helping.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Legitimizing Pelagius

Oh, those wacky Episcopalians! The latest effort appears to be rehabilitating one of the most notorious heretics in history: Pelagius, the enemy of grace. He's basically where folks get their ideas that you just have to be nice to get into heaven. He also said that original sin didn't exist, except as Adam giving a bad example. Christ's crucifixion was just the good counter-example to what Adam had done. This isn't stuff that you would ordinarily think of as Christian, and with good reason. St. Augustine put him in his place long ago.

Not for the Atlanta Diocesan Council, though. Check out this tidbit from TitusOneNine:

Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition, and whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans, Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition And be it further resolved that this committee will report their conclusions at the next Annual Council.

Submitted by the Rev. Benno D. Pattison, Rector, the Church of the Epiphany

In other words, all of Pelagius's controversies were really just another case of The Man keeping a good guy down. I can't wait to see what steps are taken to "reclaim his voice" for whatever tradition is left in Atlanta.

I wonder how much of this type of hijinks might be connected with the recent report showing Episcopalian membership at its lowest in 70 years. Just wait till those ordinariates catch on.

And the Death March continues...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

For All Our Peeps Waiting On The Beatific Vision

I know it's late in the day, but here's a reminder about them, too.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For All Our Peeps In The Beatific Vision

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us

Hebrews 12:1

Monday, October 31, 2011

Somebody Kmiec On The Phone

Will he ever formally apologize for supporting Obama's presidency? Will any of the other Catholic leaders who have honored Obama make an act of public repentance? Looking at you there, Fr. Jenkins.

The Washington Post has decided to make the Church's conflict with the current administration a real story now. Hopefully, Catholics are paying attention.

The latest dispute centers on the Department of Health and Human Service’s decision in late September to end funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. The church group had overseen nationwide services to victims since 2006 but was denied a new grant in favor of three other groups.

The bishops organization, in line with the church’s teachings, had refused to refer trafficking victims for contraceptive or abortion services. The American Civil Liberties Union sued and HHS officials said they made a policy decision to award the grants to agencies that would refer women to those services.

In other words, it is the official position of the United States government that you can't help people who are victims of the slave trade unless you make sure they can get abortions and contraceptives. How insane and/or evil are these people? They are so wedded to the culture of death that they are willing to go through the effort of redirecting federal funds all in the name of making sure that we have fewer children in the world. Read the whole article and note that even people involved in the process felt like the whole thing was tainted.

Of course, that's not the only anti-Catholic initiative out there right now. You've got the mandate that employer insurance cover contraception and sterilization. You've got the Mexico City Policy. You've already had Catholic Charities curbing foster care in order to avoid having to support civil unions. It's going to get worse, and so many people don't even realize that it's that bad right now.

Has anybody coined the term "soft persecution" yet? If not, I am.

Catholics Now Permitted To Marry Fake Monarchs

Buried in all the stories about the British changing their laws about women inheriting the throne is this little nugget:

Cameron's proposed agreement will also clear the way for an heir to the throne to be able to marry a Roman Catholic and still succeed to the Crown.

"These rules are outdated and need to change," Cameron said at a news conference. "The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man just isn't acceptable any more. Nor does it make any sense that a potential monarch can marry someone of any faith other than Catholic."

How nice of them. Will they return all the property they stole, too? Naturally, this doesn't mean a Catholic can become the fake monarch themselves. After all, how can they defend the faith of the Anglican Communion? Not to worry, though. Once the Anglicans are done annihilating themselves, this part of the law may be ripe for reform as well.