Friday, January 31, 2014

Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads (Forbes)

2014 Best

         The all-time Best

                    The Worst


Forbes Thought Of The Day
“ Woman knows what Man has too long forgotten, that the ultimate economic and spiritual unit of any civilization is still the family. ”


My advice to girls: first, don’t smoke-to excess; second, don’t drink-to excess; third, don’t marry-to excess.
-- Mark Twain

If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.

-- Aristotle Onassis

And,...for the sensually superficial...

The charms of a passing woman are usually in direct relation to the speed of her passing.
-- Marcel Proust

When the candles are out, all women are fair.
-- Plutarch

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pope Francis Makes Cover of Rolling Stone

Mass appeal in his clearly Christian concern for the most neglected is Pope Francis' distinctive charism.

Everyone is noticing, even those who seem not to care about anything. Somehow they seen to notice when someone, even in the name of Christ, cares about them.

Everyone loves to be loved! because everyone needs love!

God is love.

But the love of God is a relationship which elicits your life of love in generous response to His!

The magazine article plays up the contrasts of appeal between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, and has a decidedly liberal revolutionary slant, but is nonetheless an fairly good article extolling the present popularity of the Holy Roman Pontiff in an otherwise rather sleazy American journal.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Christians Use Their Minds to Glorify God in the World

Since fools made themselves fools by ignoring God--the Eternal Wisdom and fount of every intelligence and all understanding, that is all the more reason why we should be very clearheaded, (we who love Him and walk always with Him, who, indeed, dwell with Him) and teach people about the one true God, Jesus Christ and how to get with Him! (Jeremiah 8:9,11)

"Renouncing the claim to truth, which would be a renunciation of the Christian faith itself, is [in Wittgenstein's fiction] sugared over by allowing faith to go on existing as a kind of being-in-love, with its lovely subjective consolations or as a kind of make-believe world side by side with the real world. Faith is transposed onto the plane of play, of make-believe, whereas hitherto it had mattered on the plane of life itself. Faith that is make-believe is at any rate something fundamentally different from faith that is believed and lived out. It does not help us in living or in dying; at most it provides us with a little change, a little fine appearance--but only the appearance, and that is not enough for living and for dying."  Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance, pp. 216-217

We find an echo of this assertion in the teaching of Pope Francis in his strong rejection of spiritual worldliness (traditionally called "clericalism"). Click on the word for Russell Shaw's incisive definition of clericalism at all levels today (including laity and the secular world, a complete distortion of Vatican II).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Certainty of Faith (The Difference Between Faith and Opinion)

What is the difference between faith and opinion?

The difference between faith and opinion consists in the fact that, in the case of faith--human or supernatural--, the will moves the understanding to assent with certitude, without fear of the opposite position being true, based upon the testimony and credibile authority of another.
Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 1, a. 4; De Veritate, q. 14, a.1.

Do not confuse faith with simple belief which in common language is practically the same as opinion. We say, for example: "I believe Martha has gone out, but I am not sure"; where "I believe" means "I opine" or "it appears to me".

Faith and Evidence

With faith there is no--as there is with opinion--fear of being mistaken. Therefore, from the point of view of its firmness, faith is a type of certitude. For certitude may be certitude of evidence--based upon the objective manifestation of the truth--or certitude of faith--which is based on the authority of the witness, manifested by the evidence of his credibility. Regarding the reason of knowledge, the certitude of evidence is always more perfect. But the certitude of faith--regardless of the obscurity of the knowledge--can be more perfect regarding the firmness of adherence.

Alejandro Llano, Gnoseologia. Pamplona: Eunsa, p.63 (My translation from the Spanish).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Aachen Jubilee 1200

For the 1200th anniversary year of the death of Charlemagne, his Imperial City (Aachen, Germany) has a yearlong festival of celebrations climaxing with the Summer pilgrimage (held every seven years) to his Cathedral Tomb there.

Elegant Priest Caricature

With exams coming up Plinthos goes to Piazza Navona to have a sketch made in the warm January Roman sunshine. The above is the result. Two different artists. One made me more grave, the other less so. Nice!

The Romans handle well the Roman hat!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Benedict XVI needs new coat of arms, designer says

By Estefania Aguirre (CNA/EWTN News)
Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo shows his draft of what Benedict XVI's new coat of arms could look like during a May 2, 2013 interview. Credit: Emanuele Princi.

Vatican City, May 4, 2013 / 06:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The cardinal who designed Pope Benedict XVI's coat of arms says he needs a new one now that he is no longer the pontiff.

“The problem now is whether the Pope Emeritus can keep that same coat of arms or not,” said Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.

“And as a person who has always dedicated himself to this, I say ‘no,’” he told CNA during a May 2 interview.

The cardinal, who served from 1990 to 1998 as the first Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Palestine, designed Benedict’s coat of arms in 2005.

His fascination with ecclesiastical heraldry is a lifelong interest. And that has led him to design the coat of arms for many Catholic institutions, bishops and cardinals.

But now he believes that the “coat of arms needs to be transformed to show that he is a Pope Emeritus,” he stated.

He has drawn up a new coat of arms, which he believes could be used now by the former pontiff.

He moved the big keys of Saint Peter from the back of the coat of arms to the top part of the shield and made them much smaller.

“That shows that he had a historic possession but not a current jurisdiction,” said the cardinal.

He also included the motto that Benedict used as a cardinal at the bottom, a feature that a papal coat of arms does not include.

“But this is only a proposal, it isn’t official,” Cardinal Lanza di Montezemolo qualified.

“I allowed myself to send him a note with suggestions because the elements of jurisdiction in effect need to be removed,” he stated.

The cardinal told how Benedict replied to him with a note stating that he felt “very unsure” and that he “does not dare.”

“But we will see, because the topic is still open,” said the expert in ecclesiastical heraldry.

He explained that while Pope Francis did not ask for his services, Benedict XVI contacted him as soon as he was elected Pope.

“He called on me the following day at 8 o’clock in the morning at the Saint Martha residency,” the cardinal recalled.

“I asked him what he wanted, he showed me the coat of arms that he had as Archbishop of Munich and as cardinal, and then asked me what I thought about it,” he said.

The cardinal answered him that it was good, but “not very correct” because it had four parts with two repeated elements.

“I suggested to put the main elements in three parts, and he replied he did not want the papal tiara,” said Cardinal Lanza di Montezemolo.

“He had a very clear idea of what he wanted, so I proposed some arrangements and I designed eight trials after working all day and night,” he recounted.

The next day the cardinal returned to the Saint Martha’s at 8:00 a.m. with the eight samples and Benedict chose one “very decisively” and signed it.

“It’s interesting how decided he was in adding and removing certain elements on the design,” the cardinal commented.

“I suggested using the miter, the symbol of the bishops.”

‘But one wouldn’t be able to see the difference between a coat of arms of a bishop and that of a Pope,’” Benedict XVI replied.

The cardinal added the keys of Saint Peter behind the coat of arms. Below, he added the pallium, which had never been done by a previous Pope, to show the collegiality between the Pope and the bishops.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Year of Pope Francis: More People Leaving the Church

The Catholic Church in Austria has recorded an (4.8%) increase in people leaving the Catholic Church during the first year of the reign of Pope Francis as reported today in German on the website, contrary to all of the naively optimistic predictions of Church officials and others upon both the resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis.  Thus, the official national Catholic population of Austria has reached an all time low.

Church officials were hoping the so called "Bergoglio Effect" would be effective in moving people to the Church, not away from Her.  The soft (and often confusing) doctrinal approach of the past sixty years, which is typical of the Papacy of Pope Francis, is pleasing to the ears of the masses, but does it get people to profess and live the Catholic religion?  At least in Buenos Aires and in Europe, the answer has been, and seems to continue to be, a resounding no!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Honorific Titles of Medieval Philosophers

Question: How can anyone today consider himself a serious student of human thought while roundly ignoring this illustrious list of some of the greatest and foundational minds of our civilization.?

Answer: anti-Catholic bigotry! The greatest source of darkness for the mind of contemporary man.

New Year's Resolution suggestion: Read some original work of these great pioneers of human thought for insights on how to progress in our present day educational crises!

Rhabanus Maurus                     Praeceptor Germaniae
Abelard                                    Peripateticus Palatinus
Alan of Lille                              Doctor universalis
Averrroes                                 Commentator
Alexander of Hales                   Doctor irrefragibilis
St. Bonaventure                        Doctor seraphicus
St. Albert the Great                  Doctor universalis
St. Thomas Aquinas                  Doctor angelicus and Doctor communis
Roger Bacon                            Doctor mirabilis
Richard of Middleton                Doctor solidus
Raymond Lull                           Doctor illuminatus
Giles of Rome                           Doctorfundatissimus
Henry of Ghent                         Doctor solemnis
Duns Scotus                             Doctor subtilis
Durandus                                  Doctor modernus, Doctor rosolutissimus (later)
Peter Aureoli                            Doctor facundus
William of Ockham                   Venerabilis inceptor
Antoine Andre                          Doctor dulcifluus
Francis de Marcia                     Doctor succinctus
John of Mirecourt                     Monachus albus
Gregory of Rimini                     Doctor authenticus
John Ruysbroeck                      Doctor admirabilis
Denis the Carthusian                 Doctor ecstaticus
John Gerson                             Doctor christianissimus
Jacob Bohme                           Philosophus teutonicus
Francis Suarez                          Doctor eximius

The big modern lie, which has it's roots in the false renaissance (contrary to the true renaissance which began in Italy in the 14th century, having it's roots in the 13th century intellectual movement which baptized [i.e. purified and appropriated] ancient thought [viz. Aristotle]; founded upon such literary giants as Petrarch, Boccaccio and Dante [cf. Pastor History of the Popes, vol. I p. 1ff.], protestant revolt and french revolution and "enlightenment" has continually had the exclusion of Catholic thinkers as a fundamental tenet: Catholica non leguntur! (Catholic authors are not to be read) That was the topic of the notoriously misunderstood (and largely unread) Regensburg Address by Pope Benedict XVI.

That has always been the only absolute tenet of Protestantism (viz. it's fundamental bias against all authentic Catholic thought) and seems to be the only present day accepted bigotry--our modern "enlightenment" of ignorance! Reject Catholicism at all cost, even at the expense of reason! So that reason, ultimately, is not the modern God, but rather the Anti-Christ is.

I was reminded of this when I read aghast about the recent death of the Jewish hardcore porn pioneer and anti-Catholic bigot Al Goldstein who famously said "The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks."

For the modern mind to be truly free, the spell of Christophobia must be broken. It is a false and dirty openness which excludes the illustrious heritage of Christian civilization. We can change this, one by one!

Happy New Year! And may God bless your research into these largely neglected treasures of Western civilization. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lex credendi legem statuat supplicandi

In seminary formation we were often quoted an ambiguous phrase regarding the relationship between faith and worship: lex orandi => lex credendi, which may be erroneously interpreted to mean that the way we pray teaches us what we are to believe. That is not necessarily true because our prayer itself might be heretical if it is expressing or representing false doctrine! It is much clearer to say that our faith, hope and charity are the source of our forms of prayer.

This important distinction regarding the necessary credal foundation of the liturgy was clarified by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mediator Dei in which he said that "if one desires to differentiate and describe the relationship between faith and the sacred liturgy in absolute and general terms, it is perfectly correct to say, 'Lex credendi legem statuat supplicandi' – let the rule of belief determine the rule of prayer. The same holds true for the other theological virtues also, “In . . . fide, spe, caritate continuato desiderio semper oramus” – we pray always, with constant yearning in faith, hope and charity." (Mediator Dei 46-48)
N.B. Mediator Dei is an essential document for understanding the nature of the Catholic priesthood in relationship to the laity, Papal authority and the liturgy. The document is an eloquent explanation of the Church's (in each of her various types of members) proper disposition in Her worship and the very specific nature of that Catholic worship.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Homosexualitatis Problema: Legal Disorder!



(OR 24 luglio 1992, 4)

Recently, legislation has been proposed in various places which would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. In some cities, municipal authorities have made public housing, otherwise reserved for families, available to homosexual (and unmarried heterosexual) couples. Such initiatives, even where they seem more directed toward support of basic civil rights than condonement of homosexual activity or a homosexual lifestyle, may in fact have a negative impact on the family and society. Such things as the adoption of children, the employment of teachers, the housing needs of genuine families, landlords' legitimate concerns in screening potential tenants, for example, are often implicated.
While it would be impossible to anticipate every eventuality in respect to legislative proposals in this area, these observations will try to identify some principles and distinctions of a general nature which should be taken into consideration by the conscientious legislator, voter, or Church authority who is confronted with such issues.
The first section will recall relevant passages from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons of 1986. The second section will deal with their application.

1. The letter recalls that the CDF's “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” of 1975 “took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions”; the latter are “intrinsically disordered” and “in no case to be approved of” (no. 3).
2. Since “[i]n the discussion which followed the publication of the (aforementioned) declaration..., an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral or even good”, the letter goes on to clarify: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed towards those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not” (no. 3).
3. “As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one's own fulfilment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood” (no. 7).
4. In reference to the homosexual movement, the letter states: “One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination” (no. 9).
5. “There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups' concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved” (no. 9).
6. “She (the Church) is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to or as acceptable as the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society's understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy” (no. 9).
7. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase” (no. 10).
8. “What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well” (no. 11).
9. “In assessing proposed legislation, the bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life” (no. 17).
10. “Sexual orientation” does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf.Letter, no. 3) and evokes moral concern.
11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.
12. Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good.
13. Including “homosexual orientation” among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action or preferential treatment in hiring practices. This is all the more deleterious since there is no right to homo- sexuality (cf. no. 10) which therefore should not form the basis for judicial claims. The passage from the recognition of homosexuality as a factor on which basis it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality. A person's homosexuality would be invoked in opposition to alleged discrimination, and thus the exercise of rights would be defended precisely via the affirmation of the homosexual condition instead of in terms of a violation of basic human rights.
14. The “sexual orientation” of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual's sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc., does not usually arise.
Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be “either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing” (cf. no. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to “manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws” (cf. no. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that “any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people... are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination” (cf. no. 9).
In addition, there is a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law.
15. Since in the assessment of proposed legislation uppermost concern should be given to the responsibility to defend and promote family life (cf. no. 17), strict attention should be paid to the single provisions of proposed measures. How would they affect adoption or foster care? Would they protect homosexual acts, public or private? Do they confer equivalent family status on homosexual unions, for example, in respect to public housing or by entitling the homosexual partner to the privileges of employment which could include such things as “family” participation in the health benefits given to employees (cf. no. 9)?
16. Finally, where a matter of the common good is concerned, it is inappropriate for Church authorities to endorse or remain neutral toward adverse legislation even if it grants exceptions to Church organizations and institutions. The Church has the responsibility to promote family life and the public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values, not simply to protect herself from the application of harmful laws (cf. no. 17).

Warning: Freemasonry is a Mortal Sin



It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous Code.
This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance is due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.
Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.
It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73 1981 pp. 240-241; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981).
In an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this Declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this Sacred Congregation.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983.
Joseph Card. RATZINGER
+ Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium

N.B. A year later the same congregation issued a letter explaining the irreconcilable nature of masonry: viz. it's firm commitment to relativism. Good stuff to get the new year going in the right direction!
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