Friday, July 27, 2012

A Thousand Pardons

The blog has been pretty vacant lately. Sorry about that. Life has a bad way of intervening on the stuff that you like to do with the stuff that you have to do. My sincere hope is that we will be able to return to our regularly scheduled ranting next week. In the interim, three things:

1. That blood-curdling screech you heard was probably Nancy Pelosi finding out that Bishop Salvatore Cordileone was appointed Archbishop of San Francisco. If you aren't familiar with his exploits, check out Rocco Palma's take. His Excellency certainly has his work cut out for him. Please offer him your prayers.

2. If you can spare a few, please pray for me as well. I am currently dealing with a number of personal and occupational stressors that are not of the most positive sort. God bless you all.

3. Go see The Dark Knight Rises.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's St. Lawrence Of Brindisi Day

This is a bit of a repost from a few years ago, but the relevance is just as significant today as then. St. Lawrence is one of the 33 Doctors of the Church, though few have ever heard of him. Despite his obscurity in modern times, St. Lawrence of Brindisi was a genius by any measure. He mastered at least ten languages and was considered a brilliant theologian by everyone who knew of him. Sadly, I am unaware of any readily available (or even rare) compilation of his works, despite the fact that a twelve volume set was assembled by his Capuchin brethren. It's a shame that Catholics do not have better access to treasures such as these. But I digress.

Lawrence got to be really famous by preaching conversion among the Jews of his day. This was critical for him, and he had great success. He was so comfortable in Jewish settings and spoke the various Semitic languages so well that a lot of them actually thought he must have been a Jew himself. 

Lawrence was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Blessed John XXIII back in 1959. I would quote from the relevant encyclical, but the Vatican web site only has it available in Latin and my Latin sucks. How strange, though, that this Pope who is regarded as such a radical ecumenist would elevate a saint so devoted to the conversion of others to such a high station. I think it says a lot about Blessed John that he took such an action. In this age where you have Christians of all sorts who are content to leave Jews ignorant of the wonders of Christ, St. Lawrence provides an example of true charity, the sincere willing of the ultimate good (God Himself) for his fellow man.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us!

More Discipline

In our prior post, we mentioned the problem of ecclesiastical discipline and how the lack of it has contributed to the Church's problems today. Rorate is reporting a couple of possible examples for us to consider.

First, we have two bishops resigning well before their time: one from Italy and the other from Canada. As in the other cases where this has come up recently, here for example, the dioceses involved aren't big name places, although the Italian Bishop Di Mauro had some Curial ties.

Second, the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru has now been officially declared as being neither pontifical nor Catholic. This is interesting given the prevalence of liberation theology there and how so many people freaked out over Archbishop Muller's appointment to the CDF, given his ties with Gustavo Gutierrez. This action against the school is definitely another blow to those who wish to promote such doctrines as being within the bounds of orthodoxy. Like say, the Superior General of the Jesuits.

The latter event is undoubtedly a positive thing. I have no idea about the former. I am completely unfamiliar with these guys. Maybe they were both in poor health or were forced out in some Curial shenanigans. Maybe it was a disciplinary move. There's no way of knowing, but at least the move in Lima shows that the Church can still enforce its authority.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Well, That's Over With

By now you've heard that the SSPX-reconciliation thing appears to be over. Rorate has published the reports on this. In a nutshell, nothing is happening. The door isn't completely closed forever, but whatever was in that last missive from Cardinal Levada appears to have effectively ended what I guess could be called this "round" of talks.

Now, this is all very disconcerting, but I wanted to focus on a viewpoint that I've seen expressed in a couple of different places, Fr. Z being the most prominent.

It would be a mistake to think Benedict’s patience is endless...

I used to talk with Card. Ratzinger pretty frequently, years back. I’d pick his brains. I’d talk to him about horrible things written about him. I would challenge and disagree and demure. I never saw him angry. I haven’t really heard of him showing strong anger either. I know people who know Papa Ratzinger better than I. Everyone who knows him affirms that His Holiness is kind, and calm, and patient and sweet-tempered guy. He has the level-head and level-spirit that allows the workings of the theological virtues and the fruits of the Holy Ghost.

I can imagine, however, that if he got to the point where he was actually angry at someone or about something, there could be instant and sharp consequences.

The fact is, even level-headed and holy men get angry...

The Holy Father is about the last man on earth who would need anger management. I fear, nevertheless, that the SSPX will manage to make him angry.

I read statements from the SSPX leadership and watch the temporizing and listen to their musings about “Eternal Rome”, as if they were the lone true ones, being truer to a thruthier Church than Pope Benedict could ever fathom, and I can well imagine Pope Benedict getting more and more annoyed...

I long to say to them, “If you vex Benedict enough - BAM! You guys are going to learn what it means to on the business end of schism.”

I hope they don’t slap Benedict’s outstretched hand away. The other hand won’t be so nice.

This actually gets to the heart of the Church's problems far better than the indirect manner of the "doctrinal discussions." Consider all the other things that the Church is, and has, gone through in the last several decades. You can pretty much do a quick survey of this blog or any Catholic news site or just about any mainstream news site, and you'll find plenty of stories reflecting the "auto-demolition" of the Church (as Pope Paul VI described it). Let me just venture to say that, if this stuff isn't enough to tap the sort of angry response envisioned by Fr. Zuhlsdorf, then nothing will. Take the most recent Assisi fiasco. It's not like what happened was a major shock. It was standard operating procedure for such events. Yet the Pope went ahead and did it anyway. Or just take any of the stories mentioned above. There is a huge irony here that seems to be utterly lost on everyone.


This strikes me as pretty obvious but overlooked at every angle. What exactly would it mean if Pope Benedict lashes out at the SSPX, while these other bodies are left alone? Even the LCWR investigation has been little more than an extended dialogue. If the Pope -BAM- declares the SSPX to be in schism, what will follow for others, who are doing far worse? I'm not sure we can affirmatively say that the Society has been leading souls toward damnation since we can't even say they're in schism. Take a look around at what bishops, priests, and religious are saying all over the world that is most definitely placing souls in danger. Who is committing the greater offense? And yet the SSPX might be the ones to suffer some kind of canonical penalty? It sounds absurd.

This post isn't about the SSPX being right or wrong or whether the Holy Father is handling it correctly. It's about this new wave of speculation regarding Pope Benedict getting fed up and bringing the hammer down. It wouldn't make a lick of sense. If the Pope can handle the NeoCatechumenal Way with patience, the SSPX shouldn't be all that taxing.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Bother With The LCWR?

I had a guy ask me recently why the LCWR is even on the papal radar screen for a restructuring/takeover/crackdown/whatever you want to call it. After all, I'd just made the point to him that the dissidents represented by the LCWR are dying off and being replaced by the more vibrant, orthodox orders. Given the contribution of the LCWR sisters to "social justice," he wondered why they couldn't just be left alone until they faded away.

This is a very good question, especially coming from a non-Catholic who probably has gotten the bulk of his news on this topic from the standard media sources. FWIW, I believe the gentleman here identifies himself as Methodist.

First, I made the point that "social justice" is apparently a very flexible term in LCWR-speak. From what's been admitted by the participants themselves, "social justice" includes promoting the murder of the unborn, which is neither social nor just. This is an oft-forgotten element of the social justice crowd. Everyone deserves justice except the most helpless.

Second, I pointed out that, in the interest of keeping as many souls out of hell as possible, something needed to be done. He seemed satisfied with this answer, though I doubt he found it convincing. This is cause for reflection. As mentioned above, these nuns do seem to occupy an older demographic. Their time is short. At the very least, they have broken their vows of obedience. In a worst case scenario, they are in heresy and schism, whilst encouraging others to sin.

Keeping in mind that our main concern is souls, how can the Pope not intervene? These women have put their salvation in danger. Not only that, but they are leading other souls to hell as we speak. In many ways, this entire situation is a microcosm of the post-conciliar era's problems. Church leaders have shown a surprising degree of callousness in correcting those who, rather than obedience, have opted for revolution against God. Declaring "Non serviam!" bears its ultimate price and very little has  been done to do try and course correct those headed into the abyss.

Now is as good a time as any to try and fix this. Hopefully, the Curia will be next.

No News Is...?

By now, you've probably heard that the SSPX General Chapter upheld the exclusion  of Bishop Williamson from the proceedings. Other than that, there really hasn't been a whole lot of news. I don't know if that's good or bad.

Monday, July 9, 2012

While I Was Out

It looks like a hell of a lot of stuff went down. A quick recap before we return to our regularly scheduled blogging:

The SSPX General Chapter is underway, with Rorate posting a La Croix report that maybe 1/3 of the SSPX is fighting Bishop Fellay on cutting a deal with Rome. Pray.

Muslims are killing Christians in Africa (Nigeria specifically). Nobody cared. You can probably substitute Syria, Iran, Egypt, and half a dozen other countries and the story still works. Pray.

Or Communists for that matter, since China hasn't given up. Now, they've apparently taken Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daquin after his decision to leave the schismatic Patriotic Church and be faithful to God instead. Pray.

Oh, and they consecrated another schismatic bishop, too. Pray.

And, of course, Archbishop Muller was appointed head of the CDF. Not even going to touch that one, as I'm still too disappointed that it wasn't Cardinal Burke. Pray.

In positive news, after reports about various groups of Protestants looking to jump on the gay marriage bandwagon, the Presbyterians put the brakes on the movement that we had previously reported here a few years ago was gaining traction.

Members of the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination on Friday voted against a proposal that would have created a path to same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church.

After more than three hours of debate at the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s biennial General Assembly in Pittsburgh, voters struck down a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, 338-308; no voters abstained.
The proposal would have changed the church's Book of Order to define marriage as between "two people." It would have required approval by a majority of the church's 173 presbyteries, or regional governing bodies, in order to become final.

Following Friday's vote, the church will keep its definition of marriage as being a union between "a man and a woman."

So they got that going for them.

Pray anyway.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Shocking Development

A federal judge has blocked the Mississippi abortion law from going into effect.

Mississippi's only abortion clinic was open Monday after a federal judge temporarily blocked a law from being enforced that the clinic says could regulate it out of business. 

The owner of Jackson Women's Health Organization said it was "business as usual" and the clinic's two physicians will continue to see patients and do abortions unless a court orders them to stop. 

"Mississippi is still part of this country and still does have to abide by the Constitution," Diane Derzis told reporters inside the clinic as several abortion opponents prayed and sang hymns outside.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan issued a temporary restraining order Sunday to stop Mississippi from enforcing a law requiring any physician doing abortions at the clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. The order came the same day the law was to take effect. 

Because of the judge's order, the state Health Department canceled an inspection it originally planned to do Monday to see if the clinic is complying with the new law, a department spokeswoman said. 

The two physicians who do abortions at the clinic have applied for hospital privileges but haven't been granted them. Derzis said she doesn't expect them to be given the access, partly because she believes hospitals don't want abortion protesters outside on their sidewalks.

In other words, we're about to find out if the murdering children is granted greater legal status than a state's ability to regulate the practice of medicine within its borders.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some Good News

I'll say something about the Supreme Court ruling later. For now, consider that Mississippi may soon be free of abortion clinics. And they are doing without apologies:

Mississippi soon could become the only U.S. state without an abortion clinic as a new law takes effect this weekend. Critics say it would force women in one of the country's poorest states to drive hours to obtain a constitutionally protected procedure or carry unwanted pregnancies to term. 

Top officials say limiting abortions is exactly what they have in mind. 

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says he wants Mississippi to be "abortion-free." The law takes effect Sunday. 

Abortion rights supporters have sued, asking a judge to temporarily block the law from taking effect. So far, that hasn't happened. 

The law requires anyone performing abortions at the state's only clinic to be a doctor with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the clinic contends the mandate is designed to put it out of business. A clinic spokeswoman, Betty Thompson, has said the two physicians who do abortions there travel to the clinic from other states. 

Michelle Movahed of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is one of the attorneys representing the clinic. She said Friday that several states -- including Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma -- have tried in the past few years to chip away at access to abortion. 

"One of the things that has really been surprising about Mississippi is how open the legislators and elected officials have been about their intentions," Movahed said. "They're not even pretending it's about public safety. They're openly saying they're using this law to try to shut down the last abortion provider in the state."   

Yeah, how dare they do such a thing? I mean, who do these democratically-elected representatives of the people think they are, passing laws and stuff? Notice they aren't saying it's unconstitutional. Yet. Which is our segue into the Obamacare discussion. What if this is an "undue burden" on the right to abortions under the Casey analysis? Can a hospital be forced to give privileges to an abortionist? And if they can be forced to give privileges to the abortionist, maybe it's an undue burden for the hospital not to provide abortion access to anyone who asks.

Since the Court can now make laws into things that they aren't, where are the limits now?

Keep praying, friends. Deus vult!