Friday, May 24, 2013

Multiple Partner "Marriages:" "'Gay' 'Marriage'" Sequel

Senator and Presidential hopeful Rick Sanctorum was right when he said the the same-sex marriage trend would open the door to the civil recognition and promotion of other equally aberrant unions.

Netherlands has just permitted its first civil union of multiple partners:  legal polygamy has come to the Western world again!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Census Confusion and Racism

World Cultures Based on Alphabet Used

White, non-Hispanic

Those are the typical categories for census data these days.  They are racist and discriminatory!  Here's why.

1.  It is a gross and inconsistent confusion of categories: confusing race (color) and nationality.

2.  The categories themselves are too generic (not clear or specific enough) and the selection of categories is too narrow, too limited.

First, on the confusion of categories, black and white are colors.  Are we concerned with skin tones (which may vary greatly in the same race, family?  The question here is about race.  Negroid and Caucasian are examples of races.  And what do you do with the mixes?  There are people who are very black with Caucasian features.  And there are people who have Negroid features and are very fair.  Again, those combinations of features vary greatly.  There are large numbers of Hispanics who technically fit in any of the four categories above, even the White, non-Hispanic category (a truly "Catholic" [Universal] culture).   What makes you American (or "Anglic," to coin a consistent term) as opposed to Hispanic?  Are second generation Hispanics Hispanic?  What about those of mixed marriages (Hispanic with White, non-Hispanic or Hispanic with Black, non-Hispanic)?  I am a second generation White Cuban-American.  But  my "White" is white or not white depending on who you ask or the season of the year.  My 35 nephews are all half Latino but all pass for "White, non-Hispanic."  So, your "White" is not as white as you pretend.

Next, the categories are too generic.  The "Hispanic" and the "Asian" categories are neither about race or nationality but a great confusion of both.  There are a large number of Asian Hispanics from a number of different Latin American countries.  For example, La Caridad Restaurant in NYC is owned and operated by Chinese Cubans!  Where do the Samoans or the Hawaiians fit: dark skin, Asian, white-non-Hispanic?

Furthermore, the categories are too selective.  What do you do with the European or the Semite or the Native American Indian.  Is an immigrant from Spain or Italy White while one from Cuba of the exact same race Hispanic?  With what logic does a second generation Italian claim to be White and a second generation Hispanic must claim to be a spic!

The US Census Bureau has made quite a bit of progress in this regard but still has a long way to go.  If we have a category for .2% of the population (Pacific Islander), we should have a category for every other race in the nation.  The Jewish race presents a problem similar to the Hispanic; it is a universal culture, quite akin to the Hispanic in that it's origin and continuation are essentially bound to it's religion.  And don't think that just because the Census blatantly omits any mention of religion it is not subliminally aware of the reality.  Everyone is very conscious of the fact that the vast majority of Hispanics are Catholic.

If you tell me how many Hispanics and Pacific Islanders there are you should also count the number of Jews and White Non-Jews!  The inclusion of some categories and arbitrary and illogical exclusion of others and the sloppy mixing of categories all amount to one thing.  Discrimination, domination and control and perhaps, ultimately, anti-Catholicism, the last accepted prejudice.  Get the Hispanic ashamed of his origins and make him want to shed his "ghetto" image, including his Catholic religious and moral convictions, the way the Irish and the Italians have largely done.

Perhaps the "Black" and "White" categories should be rejected altogether and just make it a question of place of birth, place of parents' birth, nationality heritage (e.g. African-American, Native-America Indian, Jew) and maternal language.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Christian Motherhood and True Femenism

The BBC recently had a special on the radio on QuiverfullAbove Rubies, and Nancy Campbell.

They represent a growing network of primarily Evangelical Protestants that are apostolically promoting the biblical injuction "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it" of Genesis, anti-contraception and anti-abortion, pro-large family Christians.

They have a Catholic insight here and Theology of the Body,  Mother's Rule of Life and other Catholic organizations of clearly Catholic women and family promotion networks would do well to connect and cooperate with and even join this ministry.  It should have a large and strong Catholic component!  After all, what they are just recently realizing the Church of Peter has been saying all along!

Today's Gospel: "If they are not against us they are with us!"  Mk. 9:38

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

True Parish Vitality

Parishes count the collection and count the number of people registered in the Parish as well as the Sunday Mass attendance and the Baptisms, Confirmations, First Communions, Marriages, etc. to get a sense of the size and life of the Parish.  Fine.  These are good social indicators but do not indicate Catholic fidelity or interior life at all!  We could call them the tallies of spiritual worldliness.

The real indicators of living Catholicism and the true life of the Parish are found in the concrete manifestations of Catholic zeal: worthily frequenting the Sacraments and fostering holy family life.

Here are three sure manifestations of the spiritual health of a Parish, therefore.

1.  Number (percentage) of people at daily Mass.

2.  Number (percentage) of people at Confession per week.

3.  Number (percentage) of large families (with more than 4 children).

These are the indicators bishops and pastors should be counting.  And the shepherds with the best numbers in these areas should be the clerics that are promoted and presented as model and dynamic men of God.  True shepherds of souls raising up saints!

Christ Himself in today's Gospel (Tuesday of 7th week of Ordinary Time) answering the apostolic rivalry for greatness, placed a child in the midst of the Apostles, put His arms around him and said to them "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."  Mark 9:30-37

Receive the child, receive Jesus!  That is true greatness.  That is being with God!  There are many practical Catholic implications here! with the three above at the top of the list.

If you want one more I would add one for Our Lady.
4.  Number (percentage) of parishioners devoted to the daily recitation of the Most Holy Rosary.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Love and Physics: "Wright's Law"

Above is an excellent short video on Jeffrey Wright, a physics teacher and father of a handicapped child.  A great Catholic man.

Zack Conkle, photojournalist, is the filmmaker. Here is his Vimeo account.

I first saw Wright's Law on EWTN's The World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo last week.  This is that piece.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Charlemagne is 1200

28 January 2014 will mark the twelve hundredth anniversary of Charlemagne's death (748-814).  He is buried in the Aachen Cathedral, Germany, very close to Mariawald, where I shall be for some days in a few weeks.

Aachen's city anthem is Urbs Aquensis, urbs regalis (Aachen, Royal City), a Latin sequence from the 12th Century. It was created after the canonization of Charlemagne on 29 December 1165 under the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as part of the Charles Liturgy.  Charlemagne was canonized for political reasons; however, the Church today does not recognize his sainthood.  The hymn, which includes a Stella maris stanza, is quite noble.

Urbs Aquensis, urbs regalis,
regni sedes principalis,
prima regum curia.

Regi regum pange laudes,
quae de magni regis gaudes
Caroli praesentia.

Iste coetus psallat laetus,
psallat chorus hic sonorus,
vocali concordia.

At dum manus operatur,
bonum quod cor meditatur,
dulcis est psalmodia.

Hac in die, die festa,
magni regis magna gesta,
recolat Ecclesia,

Reges terrae et omnes populi,
omnes simul plaudant et singuli,
celebri laetitia.

Hic est magnus imperator,
boni fructus bonus sator,
et prudens agricola,

Infideles hic convertit,
fana, deos hic evertit
et confringit idola.

Hic superbos domat reges,
hic regnare sacras leges
facit cum justitia.

Quam tuetur eo fine
ut et justus sed nec sine
sit misericordia.

Stella maris, o Maria,
mundi salus, vitae via,
alma nostra Domina.

Vacillantum rege gressus
et ad regem des accessus
in perenni gloria.

Christe splendor Dei patris
incorruptae fili matris
gentem tuam adjuva.

Per hunc sanctum, cuius festa
celebramus, nobis praesta
sempiterna gaudia.


Sub Arboribus in Collegio Abbatia Belmontana

Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus

Latin Intensive Seminar: Veterum Sapientia
(Sunday, 4 August to Saturday, 10 August 2013)

Veterum Sapientia is an intensive week-long ecclesiastical Latin program largely for, but not exclusive to, priests, religious, and seminarians. It will take place at Belmont Abbey College outside Charlotte, NC this August 4-10. It will offer a unique, guided exploration of the most important categories of writing that make up the Church’s Latin patrimony, with exercises ordered toward helping participants grow in their understanding of the mechanics of the language and internalize new vocabulary through active use. Classes and related activities (e.g. meals, games, walks) will be conducted in Latin and in a combination of Latin and English, as appropriate to participants’ level of experience. Plenary class sessions and some small-group work will be devoted to reading and discussion of texts representing the major genera of Latin writing in the life of the Church: scriptural Latin, patristic Latin, liturgical Latin, scholastic Latin, ecclesiastical (curial) Latin, and Gregorian chant (hymns). In other small-group sessions, participants will be guided through active exercises in speaking and in simple writing, based on material from these representative texts. 

Participants will experience a series of plenary and small-group classes for a minimum total of six hours of instruction daily. Common lunches, dinners, and evening recreational activities will also be provided, offering opportunities for informal conversation in Latin to those who wish to participate. All class sessions, common meals and recreational activities will be conducted on the Belmont Abbey College campus; participants’ lodging will be off-campus (see area hotel information below).

We've been blessed with an extraordinary staff. Fr. Reginald Foster will be the head instructor. He was the chief Vatican Latinist for nearly 40 years and is arguably the best Latinist in the world (long time host of colloquial Summer Latin in the cloisters and parks of Rome and it's environs--sub arboribus). Assisting him we have his successor in the Vatican Latin office, Msgr. Dan Gallagher, Dr. Nancy Llewellyn of Wyoming Catholic College who's quite well-known in the spoken Latin circuit, and Dr. Gerald Malsbary at Belmont Abbey College. 

Veterum Sapientia was an Apostolic Constitution signed on the high altar of St. Peter's by Blessed John XXIII. Its goal was to restore and revitalize the Latin language in the Church. Since it was signed a mere six months before Vatican II, it has been largely ignored for the past 50 years. Now more attention is being given to the document and this program hopes to respond to it. 

Register now. Deadline for registration is June 1st.

--Fr. Jason Barone, Administrative Coordinator of Veterum Sapientia

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rosary Wins the Kentucky Derby on Orb, First Saturday of May: Golden Soul is Runner Up!

A man named Rosary (Joel Rosario) won the Kentucky Derby this past Saturday, 5th May, the 1st Saturday  of the month (the day of the month especially consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), and in May (the month especially consecrated to The Most Blessed Virgin Mary).

Being Dominican, Mr. Rosario is probably Catholic, and he should pray the Rosary! now all the more. We should all pray the Rosary; it is a most excellent evangelical prayer*, to venerate and invoke Our Lady: the Queen of May, God's most perfect creature!

May is for Mary! Put an "r" (for Rosary) in May, and you have Mary!

As if that were not enough, the winning horse's name is Orb (the earth!).  Rosary wins the race on Orb!  There's a metaphor here.  Pray the Rosary and you are on top of the world, in union with Christ, the King of the world, and you will be victorious.  Christ is the first Christian who prayed and prays (speaks) to Mother Mary.  We do well to follow His lead.

And Golden Soul is the horse that finishes second.  The golden souls among us are the followers (devotees) of the Rosary on the earth.

Not being a horse racing fanatic I find the supernatural imagery involved in this year's race striking.

N.B.  Pope Francis recited the Rosary as he took possession of his Marian Major Basilica, Saint Mary Major, on the same day that Mr. Rosary won the Derby!

*The Rosary is above all a contemplative prayer, which includes a "tranquility of rhythm and a mental lingering which enables the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life."

A New Latin Magazine: Lingua Viva

Aachen Verlag is publishing a Latin (with some German translation) quarterly magazine, 20 euros per year.  Subscribe today!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Honest Philosophy Must Consider Faith. Three Types of Faith. The Limits of all Knowledge

In her introduction to Finite and Eternal Being: An Attempt at an Assent to the Meaning of Being Edith Stein concludes by indicating the limits of human knowledge regarding truth, as achieved by theology or philosophy.  For unlimited access to the truth one needs God's direct personal guidance: living faith.

  ...The realization of the ideal (of the Medieval Summae to provide a monumental and comprehensive presentation knowledge)--in the sense of a total comprehension of reality in its unity and plenitude--transcends the capacity of any and all human Wissenschaft.  Even finite reality can never be exhaustively understood by means of conceptual knowledge, and much less the infinite reality of God.  Thus pure philosophy as a Wissenschaft of beings and of being, in the light of the ultimate reasons and causes (and staying within the confines of natural reason), remains even in the greatest conceivable perfection essentially fragmentary.  But it is candid in respect to theology and may thus be complemented by it.  Nevertheless, even theology is not a closed nor an absolutely conclusive structural whole.  It evolves historically in a progressive appropriation and penetration of the original contents of revealed truth.
  Furthermore, it must be emphasized that the contents of revelation do not comprise the infinite plenitude of divine truth.  God reveals himself to the human mind in a measure and manner commensurate with his wisdom.  His sovereign will may see fit to enlarge this measure and to reveal the divine mysteries in a way commensurate with the modes of human thinking: with discursive reasoning, conceptual knowledge, and critical judgment.  Or he may raise human beings above their natural ways of thinking to a totally different level of knowledge, making them partakers of that divine vision which embraces everything with one single and simple glance.
  The perfect fulfillment of everything at which philosophy--as a striving toward wisdom--aims, is the divine wisdom itself, the simple visio with which God embraces himself and all his creation.  The highest perfection to which a created spirit may attain--but, to be sure, not without divine aid--is the beatific vision.  This is the divine gift of union with God by which the created spirit partakes of divine knowledge in sharing divine life.  The mystical vision or mystical union represents the closest approximation to this highest goal that is attainable in this earthly life.  A preliminary stage, however, for which this highest favor is not required, is a true and living faith.
  Theological terminology designates as faith not only the virtue (fides, qua creditur) but also the contents of faith, namely, the revealed truth (fides quae creditur) and, moreover, the vital actualization of the virtue of faith (credere, actual faith) or the act of faith.  And it is this living and actual faith with which we are here concerned.
  Several elements are implicit in the act of faith: By accepting the truths of faith on the authority of God, we hold them to be true and thereby give credence to God (credere Deo).  But we cannot give credence to God unless we believe in God (credere Deum), that is, unless we believe that God is and the he is God: We use the name God to designate the supreme and absolutely truthful being.
  To accept the truths of faith means thus to accept God, for God is the real object of faith, and to him all the truths of faith are related.  But to accept God also means to turn to him in our faith or to believe in God as the end of our faith (credere in Deum), that is, to strive toward God.  Faith is thus a taking hold of God.  This kind of seizure, however, presupposes a being seized.  In other words, we cannot believe without divine grace.  And grace means participation in divine life.  Once we open ourselves to grace and accept the gift of faith, we have "within us the beginning of eternal life."
  We accept faith on the testimony of God himself and thereby gain a certain knowledge without, however, obtaining a thorough comprehension.  In other words, we cannot accept the truths of faith as evident in themselves as we do in the case of the necessary truths of reason or of the data of sense perception; nor can we deduce them logically from certain self-evident truths.  This is one reason why faith is called a "dark light."  Moreover, faith as a credere Deum and a credere in Deum always aspires beyond all revealed truth, that is, beyond all truth which God has confined in concepts and judgments, in words and sentences, in order to make it commensurate with the human mode of cognition.  Faith asks of God more than individually separated truths: It desires God himself, all of him, who is the truth, and it seizes him in darkness and blindness ("although it is night").
  This night denotes the profound darkness of faith as compared with the eternal light to which it aspires.  And our holy father, St. John of the Cross, refers to this dual darkness of faith when he writes, "In the course of the progress of the understanding, faith becomes stronger, and thus this progress brings on increasing darkness, since faith is darkness for the human reason."  But it is an advancing, nevertheless, a going beyond all conceptually intelligible particularized knowledge unto the simple comprehension of the one truth.  Faith therefore is closer to divine wisdom than any philosophical or even theological knowledge and science [Wissenschaft].  But because it is difficult to go forward in the dark, every ray of light that pierces our night gives us a glimpse of the future brightness and is therefore an invaluable aid in keeping us from going astray.  And thus even the feeble light of natural reason may render good service.
  A Christian philosophy will regard it as its nobles task to prepare the way for supernatural faith.  This is the precise reason why St. Thomas was so deeply concerned with the problem of how to build a pure philosophy on the basis of natural reason.  He knew well that this was the only way of finding some common ground with unbelieving thinkers.  If the latter are willing to join us at least part of the way, they may perhaps subsequently allow themselves to be guided farther than they originally intended to go.  From the point of view of Christian philosophy, there should then be no misgivings about a common effort.  Adhering to the principle, "Examine everything, and retain the best," Christian philosophy is willing to learn from the Greeks and from the moderns and to appropriate for itself whatever can meet the test of its own standards of measurement.  On the other hand, it can well afford to display generously what it itself has to offer and then leave to others the task of examination and selection.
  Unbelievers have no good reason to distrust the findings of Christian philosophy on the grounds that it uses as a standard of measurement not only the ultimate truths of reason but also the truths of faith.  No one prevents them from applying the criterion of reason in full stringency and from rejecting everything that does not measure up to it. They may also freely decide whether they want to go further and take account of those findings which have been gained with the aid of revelation.  In this case they will accept the truths of faith not as "theses" (as do believers) but only as "hypotheses."  But as to whether or not the conclusions at which both arrive are in accord with the truths of reason, there prevails again a standard of measurement which both sides have in common.  Unbelieving thinkers may then calmly consider whether or not they find themselves able to make their own the synthesis which results for Christian philosophers from the two sources of reason and revelation.  And unbelievers must judge for themselves whether by accepting this additional knowledge they may perhaps gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of that which is.  They will at any rate not shrink back from such an attempt if they are really as unbiased as, according to their own conviction, genuine philosophers ought to be.

I Papi

Marvel of marvels!

The two Popes are living together in the Vatican.  Bravo!

What an extraordinary sign of the unity inspired by God Himself in his saints.

Faith, humility, service, commitment, cooperation, hope, love, generosity, simplicity, transparency, meekness, affability, kindness, serenity, benignity, freedom, truth, beauty, chastity, wisdom, counsel, and every good and noble thing is summed up in this one, on-going event of the dual Papacy of our age.

Praised be Jesus Christ!
Both now and forever, especially in His Popes!

May Feelings VI

For six consecutive years, the Spanish filmmaker Santiago Requejo has been producing a "Pray the Rosary" short film campaign on YouTube issuing one 3-minute video each year in the month of May.  2013 (above) is May Feelings VI.

  May Feelings IV is on Blessed John Paul II.

May Feelings  III is on priests and consecrated life.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Marian May: The Logic and Historical Origins of The May Devotion to the Most Holy Virgin Mary

The Month of May, Consecrated to Mary*

With a refined supernatural instinct christian piety has consecrated the month of May to Mary, the most smileful and flowerful of all the months in the year.

  "The month of May--Roschini writes (Gabriel Roschini: La Madre de Dios segun la fe y la teologia, Madrid 1955, vol 2  p.602-603)--could be defined as a solemn feast of Mary: a solemn feast which, instead of lasting a day, is prolonged for thirty-one days with a continual crescendo, culminating in the offering of our hearts to Mary.  It is one of the most majestic monuments erected by christian piety to Mary.
  Wisely, among all of the months of the year May has been chosen as the one most fittingly consecrated to Mary.  The analogies which justify this choice, in fact, are not few.
  As May is the most beautiful and the most delightful among the months of the year, so the Most Holy Virgin is the most beautiful and the most delightful among all creatures.  She is the completely beautiful one: tota pulchra.  She is every emanation of delights: deliciis affluens.  Just as in May nature awakens from the winter sleep and is covered with green and flowers, so in May the filial piety of the christian people towards our heavenly Mother awakens, it adorns itself with beautiful and perfumed flowers that do not wither: 'Flowers have appeared in our land' (Cant. 2:12); material and spiritual flowers; flowers of the most handsome colors, of the most delicate and sweet aromas; flowers of nature and flowers of grace...
  The first one to associate the month of May with the idea of Mary was--apparently--Alfonso X, king of Spain (1239-1284), right in the thirteenth century, a century so exuberant in Marian devotion.  Among his poems entitled Cantigas de Santa Maria there is one which begins: 'Welcome May!'...In it the 'Wise King' praises the return of May, because with its serenity and joy it invites us to pray to Mary with our songs before her altar so that she might free us from evil and shower us with benefits.  It seems therefore that already toward the end of the thirteenth century the custom was well established of gathering  before Mary's altar in the month of May to praise and call on her.
  A little later, in the fourteenth century, we find it in Blessed Enrique Suson, O.P. (+ 1365), who, among his various displays of tender love for Mary, was accustomed to consecrate Spring to her, the season of the flowers."

This beautiful practice of the month of May in honor of Mary was spread evermore throughout the world that today it can be boasted that there is no city or country (parish) church, nor school chapel or that of any house of religious, however humble, which does not engage in this exercise of the month of May in honor of Mary, rose of all roses, flower of all flowers, virgin of all virgins and love of all loves...

*Translated from La Virgen Maria, Antonio Royo Marin, O.P., Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos: Madrid, 1968.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ora et Labora!

It is said that the Dominicans asked the Pope if they could work while they pray.  The Pope said no!
Then the Jesuits asked the Pope if they could pray while they work.  The Pope said yes!

Pray when you pray!
Pray when you work!
Pray constantly, i.e. make a commitment and stick to it (the commitment might have to be adjusted as your circumstances significantly change), and pray always.

Sine intermissione orate! 1 Timothy 5:17
Oportet semper orare! Luke 18:1

Happy Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.

N.B.  Pope Benedict on Saint Dominic's nine forms of prayer!
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