Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Newman Conference

Portsmouth Abbey School of Portsmouth Rhode Island is hosting it's second annual conference featuring several experts in the thought of Newman 10-13 June. Looks interesting.

The timing is good because the Holy Father is scheduled to beatify the Cardinal later in the year in England.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stone Throwing for Dummies

A Guide to Assessing Child Abuse

In response to the media and society's enthusiasm to rid the world of pedophilia I think the Church should begin a mandatory child abuse survey (for adults) and hotline in every parish to identify all of the predators in our society, to expose them and to expose all of the covering up in our neighborhoods, in our schools and in every social context, not just in Church. It is hypocritical and self-serving for us just to look for victims of priestly abuse when we all know that the problem is in every family (e.g. internet pornography), neighborhood, school and anywhere young people are.


1. Are you male or female?

2. How old were you when you were first sexually stimulated.

3. What was the context? Alone. Pornography. Other person. Same sex. Opposite sex. Multiple other persons.

4. Where did it take place?

5. If pornography, what was the medium (e.g. magazine, internet, TV) and who provided it? e.g. relative, friend, etc.

6. How many times (or how often) did you participate in sexual activity before your eighteenth birthday? Give the type act(s) and roughly the number of times (or frequency) and whether others were involved in each encounter and your and their ages at the time, and their status or relationship to you (e.g. relative, teacher, doctor, non-Catholic clergyman [indicate denomination], Catholic clergyman, a person personally unknown to you), and their gender.

7. Have you yourself ever sexually stimulated and/or had genital contact with a minor (even while you yourself were under 18)?
A. If so, how old were you and how old was the minor involved?
B. What was the gender of the minor?
C. What was the type of act and how many times (or how frequently) did you do it?

8. Have you reported any of this abuse to the authorities?
If so, have the proper measures been taken to protect the children involved or to redress the wrong?

9. What is your level of same-sex attraction? (Circle only one please)
None. Exclusively attracted to the opposite sex; same sex has never aroused me.
Mild. I have been sexually aroused by the same sex on some rare occasions and never taken the initiative in a same sex encounter.
Medium. I have had same sex arousal on various occasions and continue to occasionally experience it and have enjoyed same sex encounters on some rare occasions even taking the initiative in some of those encounters.
Strong. I have frequent same sex arousal and have frequently aroused others of the same sex.
Exclusively same-sex. I have been and continue to be very much aroused only by the same sex and have never had any inclination toward the opposite sex.

10. What is your assessment of the society’s treatment of the Catholic Church over the societal problem of child sexual abuse? Unfair. Fair. Somewhat exaggerated. Grossly exaggerated.

Relativism is Tyranny


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the way yesterday's New York Times marked the 5th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI:

The news story is remarkable, even for the New York Times. Readers learn that the sexual abuse scandal is "growing" and is "quickly defining his papacy." Furthermore, the pope has "alienated Muslims, Jews, Anglicans and even many Roman Catholics."

In point of fact, the scandal ended about a quarter century ago: the timeline when most of the abuse took place was the mid-60s to the mid-80s. The only thing "growing" is coverage of abuse cases extending back a half-century, something the Times has contributed to mightily. To say his papacy is being defined by old cases may be the narrative that suits the Times, but it most certainly is not shared by fair-minded observers.

Yes, many Muslims were alienated by the pope's brutal honesty in calling out Islam for its subordination of reason, and indeed many proved his point by resorting to violence. The heroics of Pope Pius XII in saving as many as 860,000 Jews during the Holocaust is a stunning record, especially as compared to the editorial silence that the Times exhibited in addressing the Shoah at the time. It is not correct, as the Times says, that the pope attempted "to rehabilitate a Holocaust-denying bishop," rather he attempted to reconcile a break-away Catholic group which unfortunately had as one of its members a Holocaust-denying bishop. Anglicans unhappy with the pope's outreach to the disaffected in their ranks represent an embarrassing chapter for them, not Catholics. And it is hardly surprising that those Catholics who intensely disliked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger are, for the most part, the same ones who reject Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope can be justly criticized for missteps in governance and communications, but to paint him as a divider is a cruel caricature being promoted to hurt him, in particular, and the Church, in general.

Contact public editor Clark Hoyt: www.public@nytimes.com

For more from The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights: http://www.catholicleague.org/

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pedophilia Negligence

There is quite a bit of rhetoric about protecting young people in the context of Church neglect. However, Church neglect is a small part of the widespread neglect in the entire society, the government, the public education system, the media and law enforcement, to address and correct the epidemic problem of the corruption of our youth.

It is, by now, common knowledge that there are adult predators in every youth hangout in America "cruising" and looking for young people, and very little is done to stop or even curb that trend.

A great part of the problem is that we turn a blind eye to consensual sex among minors themselves (which itself is child abuse!). Once you approve sexual immorality (in any form) and even promote it, the boundaries (including age boundaries) necessarily get blurred. For example, what is the difference in maturity between a girl on her eighteenth birthday and the same girl the day before! And the man in the world who most iconically promotes and defends her virtue, at every age, is Pope Benedict XVI.

The institution which is young people's greatest defence is the Catholic Church because she promotes the only real sanctuary of purity--the family--built on the chastity of true marriage. Increasingly the family is defended and promoted exclusively by the Catholic Church and the celibate priests and virginal nuns we so love to malign. It takes a holy marriage (i.e. a family) to raise and defend a virgin! All the courts and journalists in the world will never achieve that!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vatican Blog

Did you know that the Vatican has a daily blog service? It is called Vatican Information Service.
I have added it to my blog list!

The Nuclear Family

A family is the marriage (permanent and faithful) of one man and one woman and the children of their holy love. Any human altering of the God-given structure of that fundamental and irreducible society destroys the very nature of the family and therefore of all of society, which is based on it. That is why the family is called the basic cell of society.

It takes a marriage, not a village, to raise a child. Where marriage is missing no village and no society can adequately supply the resulting deficiency.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

True Feminism

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary is the greatest woman in the history of the world for her virtue and also for her popularity.

For her virtue because she is the perfect and perpetual Virgin and she is the perfect Mother of the perfect Son (God Himself).

For her popularity in that she is the best known and most praised and also the most controversial woman ever.

All of this agrees with the words announced by the Archangel Gabriel: "Blessed are you among women" (Luke 1:28) and prophesied by Our Blessed Mother herself when she said: "Behold, all generations shall call me blessed." (Luke 1:49)

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women..!"

To honor the Ever Virgin Mother of God, (e.g. saying the Hail Mary with reverence and devotion, and frequently) is the only true feminism.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Prayer for Poland

Today at 12:00 Noon Poland held "two minutes of silence" in honor of the tragic death of its president and other dignitaries in Russia yesterday morning, so the BBC reports.

It just occurred to me that a Catholic nation mourning the tragic death of it's citizens and leaders, while en route to commemorate the communist slaughter of tens of thousands of it's citizens, and on the liturgical fifth anniversary of the glorious death of the Venerable Pope John Paul II, on the eve of the Feast of the Divine Mercy, the Octave of the glorious resurrection of the Lord, there is much more that just the secularized "two minutes of silence." The Church of Poland is certainly offering every Mass in that land this Divine Mercy Sunday in mourning, and the midday Regina Coeli and their daily Rosary.

The BBC needs to realize that the prayer of Poland to the living and true God Jesus Christ is all but silent today. Believers pray when non-believers call for silence!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Definition of the True Gentleman

Here is the classical definition of a gentleman by Cardinal John Henry Newman. It is certainly informed by Aristotle's description of the magnanimous man in the Nichomachean Ethics.

"...[I]t is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action of those about him; and he concurs with their movements rather than takes the initiative himself. His benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal nature: like an easy chair or a good fire, which do their part in dispelling cold and fatigue, though nature provides both means of rest and animal heat without them. The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast; — all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment; his great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome. He makes light of favours while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring. He never speaks of himself except when compelled, never defends himself by a mere retort, he has no ears for slander or gossip, is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best. He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out. From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults, he is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles; he submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more iinvolved than they find it. He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be unjust; he is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is decisive. Nowhere shall we find greater candour, consideration, indulgence: he throws himself into the minds of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes. He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province and its limits. If he be an unbeliever, he will be too profound and large-minded to ridicule religion or to act against it; he is too wise to be a dogmatist or fanatic in his infidelity. He respects piety and devotion; he even supports institutions as venerable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent; he honours the ministers of religion, and it contents him to decline its mysteries without assailing or denouncing them. He is a friend of religious toleration, and that, not only because his philosophy has taught him to look on all forms of faith with an impartial eye, but also from the gentleness and effeminacy of feeling, which is the attendant on civilization

"Not that he may not hold a religion too, in his own way, even when he is not a Christian. In that case his religion is one of imagination and sentiment; it is the embodiment of those ideas of the sublime, majestic and beautiful, without which there can be no large philosophy. Sometimes he acknowledges the being of God, sometimes he invests an unknown principle or quality with the attributes of perfection. And this deduction of his reason, or creation of his fancy, he makes the occasion of such excellent thoughts, and the starting-point of so varied and systematic a teaching, that he even seems like a disciple of Christianity itself. From the very accuracy and steadiness of his logical powers, he is able to see what sentiments are consistent in those who hold any religious doctrine at all, and he appears to others to feel and to hold a whole circle of theological truths, which exist in his mind no otherwise than as a number of deductions.

"Such are some of the lineaments of the ethical character, which the cultivated intellect will form, apart from religious principle. They are seen within the pale of the Church and without it, in holy men, and in profligate; they form the beau-ideal of the world; they partly assist and partly distort the development of the Catholic. They may subserve the education of a St. Francis de Sales or a Cardinal Pole; they may be the limits of contemplation of a Shaftesbury or a Gibbon. Basil and Julian were fellow-students at the schools of Athens; and one became the Saint and Doctor of the Church, the other her scoffing and relentless foe." (From The Idea of a University, 1852 [Discourse VIII, 10, {pp. 208-211 of 1893 edition}])

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ratzinger and Newman

The thought of the Venerable (and soon to be beatified [19 September 2010 in Coventry, England by Pope Benedict) John Henry Cardinal Newman was formative in the thought of the young seminarian Joseph Ratzinger. He attests to this in his published memoirs Milestones, p. 43 and in his 28 April 1990 presentation on the centenary of the death of the Cardinal.

"In January 1946, when I began my study of theology in the Seminary in Freising which had finally reopened after the confusion of the war, an older student was assigned as prefect to our group, who had begun to work on a dissertation on Newman's theology of conscience even before the beginning of the war. In all the years of his military service he had not lost sight of this theme, which he now turned to with new enthusiasm and energy.

"We were soon bonded by a personal friendship, wholly centred on the great problems of philosophy and theology. Of course, Newman was always present. Alfred Läpple - the name of the above-mentioned prefect - published his dissertation in 1952 with the title: Der Einzelne in der Kirche (The Individual in the Church).

"For us at that time, Newman's teaching on conscience became an important foundation for theological personalism, which was drawing us all in its sway. Our image of the human being as well as our image of the Church was permeated by this point of departure."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Every Man Belongs to Mary

"Woman, behold thy son." Jn. 19:27 With these words Christ crucified gives "the disciple" to Mary. In other words, the Mother of Jesus has a right to the reverence and honor (sonship) of each of His disciples. Our Lord, leaving her a childless widow (Saint Joseph probably having already left this world), entrusts His mother to the care of His faithful follower! To follow Christ is to care for Mary. The true follower of Christ must defend, promote, nurture and cherish Marian devotion, Christ commissioned it.

He first gives the disciple to Mary as her son. Christ from the cross gives first His beloved disciple to Mary--her property--"Woman, behold your son." So that every disciple of Christ, every human person (since all are called to be disciples of Christ) belongs to Mary. She has rights over us.

Even before we call her mother, she calls us son. This gives primacy to Mary, to her initiative, in our relationship with her. Because we are her sons she is our mother: because Christ gives us to her, she is ours).

Thus, every man is duty bound to Mary, we are her sons; therefore we must love and honor her as our mother: "Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." Mary has every right to our love and care in our families and in our homes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Father Maximilian Heinrich Heim

In my continued search for experts in the thought of Pope Benedict I came across this Austrian Cistercian who is the Prior of the Kloster Stiepel


Here are the websites for his monastery http://kloster-stiepel.org/ and the Heiligenkreuz mother house http://stift-heiligenkreuz.org/ from which that monastery was founded.

On his monastery website there is an icon for Austrian Radio Maria http://radiomaria.at/ which is great German Catholic radio programming.

Father Heim has a book on Pope Benedict's ecclesiology published by Ignatius Press (2007) called Life in the Church and Living Theology.
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