Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fr. Z Demonstrates The Value Of Protestant Ecumenism

Fr. Zuhlsdorf is very upset. As I read his posts on these topics, all I could envision was the above image.

First, you had some whackjob old lady decide to play make-believe priestess. I'm sure that there's something in Vatican II that gave her the right to do this, right? Anyways, she now claims to be a priest. This all took place at St. Andrew's United Church of Christ church in Louisville, which really set Fr. Zuhlsdorf's outrage into overdrive since it was Protestants enabling this sacrilege.

In a related story that also involves a fake priest (or bishop in this case), Gene Robinson, homosexual Episcopalian "bishop," pretty much blasted anyone who is a faithful Catholic by claiming they are out of step with the Catholic "majority" (ie- those embracing homosexual unions, contraception, abortion, etc). He also chastised any bishop who would consider denying the Eucharist to those Catholics who are part of this majority. Fr. Zuhlsdorf is again beside himself that a Protestant would lecture Catholics on what they should/should not believe.

Here are his comments from the first story. He refers to them again in the second entry.

Antics like this should have consequences for ecumenical dialogue.

The women’s ordination thing is silliness. It is a circus.

A Protestant church hosted the circus. They gave the Catholic Church the finger.

There should be consequences.

Like what? Not invite them back for Assisi: The Next Generation?

We either take ecumenism seriously or we don’t. If we do – and I believe we must – we have to react strongly when ecumenical ideals are so grossly violated by Protestants who invite or permit these “women priest” ceremonies in their churches.

Newsflash, Father. Regardless of what they say, nobody on the other side of the aisle really takes ecumenism seriously. Given that the Church's stance on ecumenism has basically been one of one surrender after another over the last few decades, I'm not sure if we take it seriously either. Sure, we've held fast on some things, but let's be real, whether it's communion under both kinds or the Ravenna document or hearing cardinals talk about what an awesome guy Luther was, it's not like we've been holding the line.

The most sacred rites of the Catholic Church are Holy Mass and ordination to Holy Orders.

They effectively trampled rites that we Catholics hold as sacred.

These silly Catholic women-priest supporters are committing sacrilege in simulating Mass and Orders.

However, the Protestants who host them are assisting in a mockery of our Holy Mass and a mockery of our priesthood...

Umm, yeah. On a good day, the intellectually honest Protestant would claim the Mass and the priesthood are a sideshow. On a bad day, they would say the concepts are blasphemous. Remind me again why they would give a crap what we think here.

How dare PROTESTANTS decide what a Catholic Mass is?...

Again, why should they care?

Bishops have to take action when offensive, anti-Catholic things like this take place.

Upon hearing the news that this ceremony is going to take place (or has taken place), the local Catholic bishop must call the pastor of that Protestant parish and say, “I’m the Catholic Bishop. Do not allow this sacrilege to be committed in your church. You wouldn’t do this for a group of dissident Jews wanting to ordain rabbis, but we are Catholics so you don’t care what offense you give us. Until an apology is issued, don’t look for us to dialogue with you again.”


Holy smokes. Has Fr. Z lost his mind? Yeah, I'm sure that Protestants are shaking in their freaking boots over the possibility that Catholics might not want to dialogue anymore.

Newsflash, Father. They aren't interested in dialogue. They want our conversion, whether as individuals to their religion or as a collective to their way of thinking. Fake ordinations will move both of these agendas forward.

Then that Catholic bishop should call the head of the denomination and convey the same message.

And just who would that be? Sure, you might have somebody in the Anglican Communion that at least puts on the show of having a hierarchy but this is an utterly irrelevant statement in the bulk of scenarios involving Protestants. Even if it was some variation of Anglicanism, can you imagine the Pope calling up the current Archlayman of Canterbury or a guy like Rowan and making this kind of comment? Even if he was upset by what happened, just what is he going to do about it? Issue a strongly worded letter threatening more strongly worded letters if it happens again?

Then that Catholic Bishop should send an informative note to the USCCB’s ecumenical office and to the CDF and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to let them know the facts of the sacrileges that took place and who helped them.

Yeah, I'm sure the USCCB will get right on that. Archbishop Mueller and Cardinal Koch as well. Because guys at the highest levels of the Curia have nothing better to do than be irate at the United Church of Christ in Kentucky for faking a woman's ordination.

Then that Catholic bishop should call the press and give them his view about the offense the Protestants gave and the damage they inflicted on ecumenical dialogue.

What good would this do? Give the press a chance to run another story about the poor-downtrodden heretic women who want nothing more than to subvert God's Church with their blasphemous sacrilege?

Here's the deal, in recap. Ecumenical relations with Protestant denominations are absurd. They don't give a crap. We do nothing but make concessions without success. The only things that work are items like Anglicanorum Coetibus, which happened in spite of ecumenism. Conversion is the ticket. Everything else is just retreat. Dialogue is meaningless. Teaching is valuable. They don't think these things are sacred so there isn't any reason for them to object.

There is absolutely nothing that can be done in the way of "consequences" that will have any real-world meaning whatsoever. Everybody should just embrace the reality here and deal with it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Catholics And Homosexuality

First, let's consider a hypothetical scenario. A Catholic who is struggling with same-sex attraction and striving to live chastely and according to Church teaching is more likely to be persecuted by:

A. Society at-large and other homosexuals for being an "Uncle Tom" of sorts and not letting his/her sexual urges rule their lives.


B. Other Catholics.

Which of the options presented would be regarded as bigots and which would be cast as liberators of the struggling homosexual for engaging in persecutory behavior?

Catholics, far from being bigoted with regards to homosexuals, seem to be taking the far less charitable route of deciding that sexually active homosexuals are perfectly ok. This, of course, not only demonstrates a profound lack of kindness on the part of the Catholic, as they clearly have little regard for the homosexual's soul.

Not only that, though, such an attitude makes a mockery of the above-mentioned chaste homosexual who wants to live as God would have them. When Catholics trumpet the need for same-sex unions (of whatever stripe) as some kind of remedy for societal prejudices, I wonder if they consider that what they are actually promoting is a nice mechanism for facilitating mortal sin. Or if they consider how this might affect homosexuals who are engaged in this great struggle.

Anyways, in thinking about all this, I'd like to provide a couple of examples:

This is Oscar Wilde. If you haven't read any of his work, I highly recommend doing so. He is one of the "classic" authors who is not overrated in the least. In addition to being a great writer, he was also a husband and father and homosexual.

And a death-bed convert to Catholicism. This is often ignored by those who exalt Wilde for his more libertine tendencies. But it's still there.

And then there's this guy:

This is, of course, Andy Warhol. What do folks think of when they hear his name? Campbell soup cans? Weird pictures of Elvis? As you go down the list, I'm betting his homosexuality gets mentioned way before his status as a Ruthenian Catholic and almost daily Mass attendee.

Or the fact that he at least claimed to be a virgin even up to a few years before his death.

Not that this makes him perfect or anything. A good bit of Warhol's artwork was pretty pornographic. However, consider the environments that surrounded him. If we take his claim of virginity at face value, that's a pretty impressive feat considering all the sexual hijinks of the times in which he lived.

Why am I bringing these guys up? To demonstrate a couple of things.

In the case of Wilde, you had a promiscuous homosexual who squandered a good bit of his life on bad stuff. In a real-life Prodigal Son story, though, he found God's mercy in the end. I present this to illustrate (a) that homosexuals should be prayed for and should not be treated as some kind of "lost cause" or otherwise beyond the reach of grace and (b) Wilde's conversion is the best part of his life and the most forgotten.

For Warhol, you have a homosexual who, while engaging in numerous other sinful behaviors (as all people do) still remained (apparently) chaste and still found time to go to Mass every day and live out his faith in other ways. To hear many talk, this is an impossibility by today's standards. What does that say about the chaste Catholic with same-sex attraction? That they should just give up and yield to their sinful inclinations.

Who are the haters in all this? Those who appreciate the struggle with sin and pray for their brethren in the conflict? Or those who cheer the combatants on toward their destruction in the name of some temporal cheerfulness?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Impossible To Find Jesus Without The Church

These words were uttered by that conservative reactionary, Pope Francis.

And so the Church was a Mother, the Mother of more children, of many children. It became more and more of a Mother. A Mother who gives us the faith, a Mother who gives us an identity. But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: "Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy." And the Mother Church that gives us Jesus gives us our identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging. Identity means belonging. This belonging to the Church is beautiful.

What a jerk. Anyways, I though that maybe he would send a copy of this homily to the prelates in England who are content with having Catholic parents not impart their faith to their children, as was mentioned in a previous story.

There's also another nugget in the Pope's homily that I thought was pretty hilarious, but I admit that maybe I'm reading a little too much into it. Take a look at this part:

Some, people of Cyprus and Cyrene - not these, but others who had become Christians - went to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks too. It was a further step. And this is how the Church moved forward. Whose was this initiative to speak to the Greeks? This was not clear to anyone but the Jews. But ... it was the Holy Spirit, the One who prompted them ever forward ... But some in Jerusalem, when they heard this, became 'nervous and sent Barnabas on an "apostolic visitation": perhaps, with a little sense of humor we could say that this was the theological beginning of the Doctrine of the Faith: this apostolic visit by Barnabas. He saw, and he saw that things were going well.

This strikes me as funny since it comes on the heels of the Pope's confirmation of the findings against the whackjob women's religious fringe (aka the LCWR). It might not have been intentional, but his decision to drop the term "apostolic visitation" with an oblique reference to the CDF just seemed a little too out of left field in the context of the story not to have had a deeper meaning.

Again, I'm probably just reading too much into it. It's still funny, though.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Usurpers Exempted From Canon Law

I was just emailed this from CNS.

Church leaders have told the British government that members of the royal family who marry Catholics under recently passed legislation will not be obliged to bring up their children in the Catholic faith.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness, speaking on behalf of the government, said he had been assured personally by Msgr. Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, that the canonical requirement of Catholics to raise their children in the faith was not always binding.

"I have the specific consent of Msgr. Stock to say that he was speaking on behalf of Archbishop (Vincent) Nichols (of Westminster) as president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and can inform the House that the view taken by the Catholic Church in England and Wales is that, in the instance of mixed marriages, the approach of the Catholic Church is pastoral," he said.

"It will always look to provide guidance that supports and strengthens the unity and indissolubility of the marriage," Lord Wallace said.

"In this context the Catholic Church expects Catholic spouses to sincerely undertake to do all that they can to raise children in the Catholic Church," he continued. "Where it has not been possible for the child of a mixed marriage to be brought up as a Catholic, the Catholic parent does not fall subject to the censure of canon law."

I'll start by saying that I assume that this communication actually occurred. It would be awfully bold to fabricate something like this and then announce it for the public record.

That being the case, what the hell? What the hell?

First, let's remember just who it is that we are talking about here. These aren't even real monarchs. They are fake monarchs who basically get lots of free stuff with pretty much zero accountability whatsoever.

Second, even if they were real monarchs, they are usurpers and thieves. Their whole sham regime arises from the fact that stuff was stolen from our ancestors in blood and faith, our brethren were murdered, and an empire was built from the bounty of all these sins.

Third, when did we start exempting anybody in this situation from Canon Law?

That Archbishop Nichols feels free enough to offer such a dispensation is an insult to all the English Catholics who had the misfortune of living under persecution.

I haven't heard the Queen, William, or Kate make any mention of returning any of the Church's property or offering any kind of reparations. Hell, at least Mussolini was willing to pay for what was stolen.

Of course, this doesn't even bring up the utter callousness of any child born under such circumstances. Making nice with the Usurper Clan apparently carries a bit more weight than the salvation of someone's soul these days.

What is the world coming to when a reigning archbishop declares that it is ok for a Catholic parent to neglect the religious upbringing of their child?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Observations Of Secular Hypocrisy

Observation #1:

The Catholic Church is frequently criticized for owning priceless works of art and having churches that are full of splendor. The critics suggest that the Church sell all these things and give the money to the poor. This doesn't just come from famous people. It's brought up by Normal Joe Non-Catholic and even the average Catholic layman. It's one reason we had our recent post about why tiaras are important.

That being said, has anyone noticed what the average public building for our cities/states/nations look like? These were purchased with taxpayer money, so one would think that anybody would have the right to raise the appropriate outcry to have all these nice marble statues, gold inlaid columns, etc. stripped out and sold for the benefit of the needy.

I'm sure the typical response would be something about how the Church should be held to a higher standard. The problem with that argument is that many who would make it simultaneously claim that the State has the same role as the Church in caring for those who are less fortunate.  So far, though, I can't say I've heard any call for less "pomp" in State affairs.

Observation #2:

Somehow, Hollywood types reject the idea that violent movies should be curbed due to the potential negative effects on young people. Some claim that linking a violent entertainment culture with violent actions is "disrespectful."

Let somebody light a cigarette on camera, though, and all hell breaks loose. People are actually funding reports to track cigarette use in movies. Think of the poor people they could have fed with that money.

In a related story, the FCC is considering lightening up on its standards for sexually indecent material. I'm sure there's no connection between our sex-saturated culture and promiscuity or other dangerous habits among young people, so this should go great.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Confirming What We Already Knew About Vatican II

As reported by Boniface at Unam Sanctam, Cardinal Kaspar basically let fly to the public one of the worst kept secrets in the world. The documents of Vatican II contain intentional ambiguities that are subject to wildly conflicting interpretations.

While I agree with Boniface that this is a stunning admission, that's only the case because someone like Cardinal Kaspar made it. I disagree with this point:

In the Cardinal's statements, we basically have an affirmation of a fundamental thesis of Michael Davies and most Traditionalists: that the Council documents themselves have ambiguities in them and are subject to a multitude of interpretations. This concept of Conciliar ambiguity has been denied by many conservative/pop apologists, who insist that the Council documents are plain as day and it is only the malice of dissenters pushing a false implementation that is responsible for our current confusion.

What Michael Davies and others have said isn't a thesis. It is the universal consensus of anyone who has ever written a history of the Council. Whether it's a conciliar peritus (Romano Amerio), a priest reporting at the Council (Fr. Wiltgen), a cardinal who was present and voting (Cardinal Heenan), a Catholic reporter (Gary MacEoin), a secular bigot reporter (Paul Blanshard), a Protestant observer at the Council (Robert MacAffee Brown), a canon of St. Peter's (Msgr. Brunero Gherardini) or a modern Jesuit (Fr. Robert O'Malley), everybody knows what happened. This isn't a foreign concept to Pope Benedict either. Ignoring this historical reality is a widespread disease, especially among the crowds the Boniface mentions.

I'm not sure there is a way to cure it.

More significant than the above, I think, are Cardinal Kaspar's admissions that the post-conciliar era has been bad.

For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the council are part of the church’s daily life. But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the church, which were expected at that time, but rather a church that has a wintery look, and shows clear signs of crisis.

That's a direct quote from His Eminence. It is remarkable. It isn't hard to find comments by a number of prominent Church figures, including Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis that describe the Council's achievements in glowing terms. Phrases like "springtime of evangelization" and "New/Second Pentecost" are frequently used with reference to Vatican II. These terms ignore the utter collapse of the Faith in so many circles. It's easy to focus on Africa and SE Asia. What about everywhere else? Why did Pope Benedict feel the need to start a "New Evangelization" if we're going through all these roses and rainbows of the last 50 years?

People need to get real about things. It isn't sinful or schismatic to say that an ecumenical council failed. I haven't seen anybody championing Lateran V recently. That unification at Florence didn't exactly mend the fence with the Orthodox.

It's amazing that Catholic apologists are so well-equipped to talk about mistakes made by popes, yet they absolutely refuse to come to grips with how a council might do likewise. Not only that, but many seem to shudder at the mere possibility. All this intellectual dishonesty and cognitive dissonance does the Church no favors.

Maybe Cardinal Kaspar will have wound up doing some good by being so open about these things.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

On Today's Readings

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Whenever I read this, I'm reminded of something that St. John Chrysostom wrote, which is of no small value in our discussions with those who read these passages in a light that doesn't reflect the correct understanding of papal primacy:

This spoke He, signifying by what death he should glorify God. He said not, Should die, but, Should glorify God, that you may learn, that to suffer for Christ, is glory and honor to the sufferer.

And when He had spoken this, He says, Follow Me.

Here again He alludes to his tender carefulness, and to his being very closely attached to Himself. And if any should say, How then did James receive the chair at Jerusalem? I would make this reply, that He appointed Peter teacher, not of the chair, but of the world.

This is good stuff, especially considering that James's role at the Council of Jerusalem is often used as some kind of evidence to degrade Peter's authority.

On the other side of the comment here is the fact that Peter finds out he's going to die under less than peaceful circumstances.

But, as Chrysostom makes clear, it wasn't the dying that was important. It was giving glory to God. Consider this in light of the First Reading today. The Apostles were scourged, yet they went away rejoicing. 

If you aren't sure what scourging involved, let's check the account given in the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp:

All the martyrdoms, then, were blessed and noble which took place according to the will of God. For it becomes us who profess greater piety than others, to ascribe the authority over all things to God. And truly, who can fail to admire their nobleness of mind, and their patience, with that love towards their Lord which they displayed?— who, when they were so torn with scourges, that the frame of their bodies, even to the very inward veins and arteries, was laid open, still patiently endured, while even those that stood by pitied and bewailed them.

We have no reason to think that the Sanhedrin would have any sort of mercy on the Apostles in this situation. The point is that scourging was painful as hell. Yet the Apostles rejoiced.

We should all think about this when the Paula Whites, Joyce Meyers, Mike Murdocks, Joel Osteens, etc. of the world downplay the role of suffering. How many of their sermons cast suffering as (a) the fault of the one suffering and (b) something that is never contemplated by God? Suffering is something to be avoided in their universe. It has no value. It has no connection whatsoever with holiness.

Yet the Apostles rejoiced.

As should we.

If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church...

Colossians 1:23-24

Where Abortion Is Going

I'm a little behind on this, but it needs to be spread around as much as possible. This video is of a Planned Parenthood rep providing testimony to the Florida legislature. The topic is whether a child who survives an abortion should be killed regardless.

Keep in mind. This issue is seen to be sufficiently controversial as to require testimony by this Luciferian woman on why "post-birth abortion" should be ok.

Not only that, but the Kermit Gosnell horrors have unleashed a tremendous amount of propaganda from Molech's worshipers. Consider these two articles from the Huffington Post, which completely ignore what Gosnell did in order to talk about (a) how the real problem is that taxpayers aren't ponying up for abortions, (b) how fewer restrictions on abortions would have prevented Gosnell's crimes, and (c) what a horrible person Rick Santorum is.

Yes, you read that right. More ink is spilled on excoriating Rick Santorum than Kermit Gosnell.

I really hope God destroys the world before we wind up in Peter Singer-Land. Because that's where we are headed.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Clean-Up Begins(?)

The Pope has selected a group of cardinals to provide advice on the governance of the Church, including the structure of the Curia. They don't meet until October, but the list is interesting:

- Card. Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State;
- Card. Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile (Chile);
- Card. Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (India);
- Card. Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany);
- Card. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo);
- Card. Sean Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston (U.S.A.);
- Card. George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia);
- Card. Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras), 
- H.E. Bp. Marcello Semeraro, Bishop of Albano [Italy], functioning as Secretary.

I don't know a lot about these guys, but I did note that at least three of them (+Ossa, Marx, and Maradiaga) have received criticisms (rightly or wrongly) as part of the sexual abuse scandal either due to accusations of cover-up or because of comments they made.

Should be interesting to watch.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Real Humility

Boniface at Unam Sanctam blog has a marvelous and far more thorough treatment of the issue of humility that we discussed previously here.

It's over on the Unam Sanctam sister site, which you should be visiting anyway since it's an amazing archive of Catholic articles on a broad range of topics. And, I might add, a collection that has been assembled in a relatively short period of time.

Check out the humility bit, especially in light of how people are abusing the word these days. Then hang around and check out the rest of the site.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dave Hunt Died

I didn't catch this last week, but apparently he passed on April 5th. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Hunt, he was famous for writing anti-Catholic screeds of the second-lowest denominator possible (Jack Chick being the lowest). He spent his entire life attacking Christ's Church and calumniating countless saints, especially the Fathers.

This is the profile of someone who would need our help to the greatest degree possible. We earnestly hope that God had mercy on him. Please pray for his soul and all those who were misled by him.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday

Did you get your plenary indulgence?

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Things I Like About Pope Francis

First, he seems to talk about the Devil and hell. A lot. Consider this from when he was still a cardinal:

Let's not be naive: This (the redefining of marriage) is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God... 

Pretty good. Now, how about these comments:

Let us remember this: God judges us by loving us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.

Then there's this:

When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil." When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.

This reminds me a lot of what the Scripture tells us in Psalm 95:

For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils 

Second, it seems that the rumors we heard from Fr. Fessio via Steve Ray are true. Pope Francis isn't well-liked by a lot of other Jesuits. Check out this entry over on Rorate for some indication of this. Hopefully, things there are calming down a bit.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

We Have Met The Enemy, And It Is Papists

If you want to read something that instills confidence and warm/fuzzy feelings about our government, don't read this post.

Apparently, a training brief for the Army Reserves lists a few groups that are examples of "religious extremism." It has a few of the usual suspects: Al Qaeda, Hamas, Evangelicals, Catholics.

That's right. Christians are on the list.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services notes with concern that a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief lists Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity as examples of “religious extremism” alongside such violent groups as al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the KKK (no word on whether the Department of Homeland Security concurs).

Does this mean that they want us to all be Episcopalians or something?

In case you're wondering if this is a hoax, the Archdiocese for Military Services has issued a statement on the matter.

The Archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist.

There's an evangelicals joke in there somewhere.

Anyways, there's clearly nothing to worry about here because the Army says this is an isolated incident. Well, hell, I feel a whole lot better now, don't you?

Just figured I'd let you folks know the score on that front.

A Weird Phenomenon

Has anyone else noticed that a lot of people seem perfectly content with saying the State should use fiscal policy, monetary policy, social safety net programs, etc. as a way of satisfying justice and an inherent moral obligation towards its citizens and God, but that this obligation does not and cannot reach into any non-economic sphere?

We need food stamps, easy credit, the EITC, and so on and so forth because it's "fair," it's "social justice," or whatever, and that's great and non-controversial.

However, the idea that the State could intervene to limit access to pornography, contraception, divorce, or anything that isn't purely economic is received with utter contempt and horror.

Who arbitrarily limited the State's duty to the realm of the pocketbook? Or that "doing the right thing" is only a matter of dollars and cents?

It's weird.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Everyone Is Special, Dash" Or "Why Tiaras Are Important"

Let's begin by laying down a few foundational principles for this post.

First, the caption is from The Incredibles (which if you haven't seen, you should):

Second, the entirety of the Second Council of Nicea, but we'll reprint this part as a summary:

We, therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church (for, as we all know, the Holy Spirit indwells her), define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honourable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people.

Notice that this isn't a suggestion. It's an order.

Third, this snippet from the Council of Trent, Session XXII, Chapter 5:

And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice.

In case that wasn't clear enough, the Council returned to this point later:

CANON VII.--If any one saith, that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs, which the Catholic Church makes use of in the celebration of masses, are incentives to impiety, rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema.

Make sure you read those last four words.

The reason all this has been on my mind is because of some loose talk that has been getting circulated regarding Pope Francis. If there's one word that has gotten completely played out since his election, it's "humility." Or maybe "humble." Or both. These words are getting thrown around by people who apparently have no idea what the nature of humility or pride is.

Consider pride. Is it prideful to know one's station and act accordingly? Being pope happens to be the most important job in the world. Is it wrong to therefore treat it that way? This is important because people have been falling all over themselves to regard Pope Francis's actions as somehow more becoming of a pope than those of his predecessors. This is offensive because it essentially paints prior pontiffs as prideful in contrast to Pope Francis.

Are we to assume that Pope Benedict was not humble because he demanded solemnity in the liturgy? That Blessed John Paul II was prideful by wearing the mozetto? Blessed John XXIII was given a full papal coronation, wore the triple tiara, and used the sedia gestatoria. Was he some kind of egomaniac?

Let me be clear that I'm not saying this as a criticism of our current Holy Father. I'm defending the others.

Here's the point. Humility consists of adopting one's station regardless of how uncomfortable it might make you. Pope John hated the sedia gestatoria. He used it anyway. St. Pius X bemoaned how he had to dress as pope. He did it anyway. It made them uncomfortable, but it was also their job. What they wanted didn't matter. The very fact that they treated the papacy as the glorious thing it is was a mortification for them.

Humility is a subjection of the self to God. If Providence put you in a place of high rank, attempting to demean that rank by making it look like something less than it is is not humility. If anything, it is pride since it's taking something established by God as great and lowering it to suit one's comfort level.

In other words, being the Vicar of Christ is unique. Considering it as something that is on the level of any other position deprives it of its uniqueness. Most assuredly, when it comes to something like the papacy, everyone is not special, and we shouldn't disregard the dignity of the office because some secularists like to think of it as just another job.

Let's move on from that and talk about liturgical what-not. We've already heard Cardinal Mahony (and others) cackling over what they perceive as a new age dawning of liturgical banality. This is often trumpeted as being in the "spirit of St. Francis." To suggest that St. Francis would have espoused a degraded liturgy is something that would only be said by liars, the ignorant, or folks who have seen Brother Sun, Sister Moon way too many times. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has dealt with this to some extent, but I'd like to provide the following clip thanks to Tancred at the Eponymous Flower:

It's all Franciscan, with none of the disco or farm animals that so many seem desirous of.

Anyways, there's this widespread idea that the Church should junk the vestments, the precious metals on the sacred vessels, lace, statues, and all the other things that are usually classified as adding "pomp" or "grandeur" to our liturgy and churches. This is a repugnant attitude for a bunch of different reasons, but I'm going to try and limit the discussion to make a long story short (I know; too late for that).

Recall the items we began with. The person who wants to criticize the pomp of the liturgy or the use of rich externals for the Church had best tread carefully lest he invite the censure of both Nicea II and Trent and make of himself a heretic.

Next, this kind of thinking says more about the person doing the criticizing than anything else. Much of our liturgical difficulty springs from the fact that so few seem to understand what the Mass is and what is happening during its offering. We don't put the priest in splendid vestments to make a show of the priest. We don't use precious metals for the sacred vessels because we like shiny things. Icons and such aren't just pretty decor. These things are there to glorify God and to assist us in appreciating His Majesty. The Mass is the most important thing that happens on the planet. Ever. To take something of that magnitude and treat it as just another event, with no external recognition of its significance, is basically to insult God.

When a person talks about the splendor of the liturgy in a derogatory manner, they are the problem. This is someone who has assumed the prideful position of claiming to know themselves how God should be worshiped. There's also a very good chance that they just have a problem with beauty in general, since they want to strip the Mass of its beauty and magnificence in order to render it commonplace. There is nothing humble in any of these sentiments. It's more about pride and someone needing to change the liturgy to make themselves feel better about what's going on.

Read Matthew 26, Mark 14, or John 12 to see what Our Lord thought of expense being incurred in honor of Himself. Uncomfortable, yes? But true.

I'm not even going to get into the ecumenical problems with trying to "ordinarize" things. We've done that before, and I think Pope Francis should especially understand this since he was in charge of all the Eastern Catholics in his diocese in Argentina.

Finally, the removal of pomp in the liturgy or splendor from the Church's external trappings, as is made clear by both of the above Councils, would be supremely uncharitable, since it would deprive the souls of the faithful of things that are nourishing and healthy. It is (again) pride to assume that we, of ourselves, possess all that is necessary to overcome our baser instincts and devote ourselves entirely to the worship of God without assistance. The Church meets us where we are by engaging our senses and feeding them holy and uplifting things to raise our hearts and minds to the dizzying heights of sanctity.

This is why we need tiaras and such. The Pope has duties and obligations far beyond those of any other person on earth. He also carries an authority that is likewise exalted above all others here. When he dispenses with the signs of that authority, the understanding of the office will necessarily decline as well. Likewise with the Mass. When the Mass is treated as something of ordinary origins, we will naturally lose our respect for the Holy Eucharist.

Here endeth the rambling.