Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Prayer for the Queenship of Mary, Lingua Franca

François VILLON (1431-?)

Ballade pour prier Notre Dame

Dame du ciel, régente terrienne,
Emperière des infernaux palus,
Recevez-moi, votre humble chrétienne,
Que comprise soie entre vos élus,
Ce nonobstant qu'oncques rien ne valus.
Les biens de vous, ma Dame et ma Maîtresse
Sont bien plus grands que ne suis pécheresse,
Sans lesquels biens âme ne peut mérir
N'avoir les cieux. Je n'en suis jangleresse:
En cette foi je veuil vivre et mourir.

A votre Fils dites que je suis sienne;
De lui soient mes péchés abolus;
Pardonne moi comme à l'Egyptienne,
Ou comme il fit au clerc Theophilus,
Lequel par vous fut quitte et absolus,
Combien qu'il eût au diable fait promesse
Préservez-moi de faire jamais ce,
Vierge portant, sans rompure encourir,
Le sacrement qu'on célèbre à la messe:
En cette foi je veuil vivre et mourir.

Femme je suis pauvrette et ancienne,
Qui riens ne sais ; oncques lettres ne lus.
Au moutier vois, dont suis paroissienne,
Paradis peint, où sont harpes et luths,
Et un enfer où damnés sont boullus:
L'un me fait peur, l'autre joie et liesse.
La joie avoir me fais, haute Déesse,
A qui pécheurs doivent tous recourir,
Comblés de foi, sans feinte ne paresse:
En cette foi je veuil vivre et mourir.

Vous portâtes, digne Vierge, princesse,
Iésus régnant qui n'a ni fin ni cesse.
Le Tout-Puissant, prenant notre faiblesse,
Laissa les cieux et nous vint secourir,
Offrit à mort sa très chère jeunesse;
Notre Seigneur tel est, tel le confesse:
En cette foi je veuil vivre et mourir.

"The Priest in Cassock is a Living Sermon" | liturgy guy

Just came across this blog post on the evangelical efficacy of the priest with cassock and saturno praying on the street.

We're multiplying!

Apropos, yesterday, going out to the Church yard for my midday stroll after lunch, breviary in hand (in cassock and saturno, of course), a group of children from our charter school (renters of our building) immediately surrounded me, spontaneously embracing me or shaking my hand. A girl who had greeted me before the rest bragged to all the other children that this was her church, "this is my church, I'm in catechism class!". Another girl said "I like this church, it is a beautiful church, my church is ugly". I smiled and said, "good afternoon children, God bless you," and continued with my breviary walk as they go back to playing. That girl of our catechism class is one of an extended family with several children which I not infrequently meet before school for morning prayers in front of our Miraculous Medal WWII monument to the parishioners of the parish (including one priest) who died in that war.

This sort of thing, manifestations of appreciation for the visibility of the priesthood and of the Catholic faith, happens every day in this urban parish and in the neighborhood. What I have noticed is that, above all, the young people of the neighborhood, of all ages (especially teenagers and youth in their twenties), want to be noticed and greeted, and even given a religious word!

“The great boast of the new Church is dialogue. But how can this begin if we hide from the eyes of our prospective dialogue partners? In Communist countries the first act of the dictators is to forbid the cassock; this is part of a program to stamp out religion. And we must believe the reverse to be true too. The priest who declares his identity by his exterior appearance is a living sermon. The absence of recognizable priests in a large city is a serious step backward in the preaching of the Gospel…” --Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

N.B. There is still at least one priest in the world who has (rightly) never shown himself in public without donning his cassock, Pope Francis! It is the right (because a responsibility) of every priest, namely, to carry on the Catholic priestly public witness and apostolic evangelism, even/especially in the cassock.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Law Based on Power, not Right: Bad Law, Bad Government

"The rights of some individuals are affirmed at the cost of the fundamental right to life of another individual. This is why every legalization of abortion implies the idea that law is based on power...

"...No one denies that the concrete existential situation in which the decision is reached to have an abortion can sometimes be dramatic. Nevertheless, it is a fact that this claim to exercise real rights is demanded to the detriment of the life of an innocent human being whose rights are not even taken into consideration. In this way, one becomes blind to the right to life of another, the smallest and weakest person involved, one without a voice."
Joseph Ratzinger, 1997 Address to the Pro-Life Movement, in Christianity and the Crisis of Culture, San Franscisco: Ignatius, 2006, 62-63.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Not Judging is not Christian!

[I]f thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. Matthew 18:15-18

...[T]hou, O son of man, I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore thou shalt hear the word from my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me. When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand. But if thou tell the wicked man, that he may be converted from his ways, and he be not converted from his way: he shall die in his iniquity: but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 33:7-9

Reprove a friend, lest he may not have understood, and say: I did it not: or if he did it, that he may do it no more. Reprove thy neighbour, for it may be he hath not said it: and if he hath said it, that he may not say it again. Admonish thy friend: for there is often a fault committed. Sirach 19:13-15

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, but reprove him openly, lest thou incur sin through him. Leviticus 19:17

Open rebuke is better than hidden love. Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6

Clearing up Gender Confusion, Basic Genetics

In healthy humans, each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. Twenty-two of these pairs, called autosomes, look the same in both males and females. The 23rd pair, the sex chromosomes, differ between males and females. Females have two copies of the X chromosome, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.

At conception, an X chromosome and a Y chromosome determine the sex of the offspring, due to genes located on the Y chromosome that code for maleness. Conceptus have two sex chromosomes: a conceptus with two X chromosomes (XX) is female, and a conceptus with an X and a Y chromosome (XY) is male.

Of course, there are exceptions, rare and unfortunate genetic abnormalities, in which there may be a resulting confusion of gender and sexual dysfunction, but in healthy and normal human persons (which is the aim of medical science to identify and promote) it is as clear as 2 + 2 = 4! Every cell of the male body is male and every cell of the female body is female, and the soul, likewise, is male or female because natural gender is constitutive of the personhood of man, male or female.

And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

"Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female?" --Jesus Christ (on why divorce is a sin, Matthew 19:4)

Homosex is one of the various misuses of the sexual faculty which was created in man for true conjugal union and for procreation. It is not homophobia to say so, just a matter of fact. Actually, to deny that is prejudicial towards people who have same sex attraction, because it is an attempt to exclude them from the mass of humanity which has to exercise the virtue of chastity in accord with each person's creative specificity. Creation is specific, and male or female is an essential part of that specificity of creation. Every man is called to live his life accordingly, according to the call of his created order!

Cf. What’s in a Name? Why Christians Should Be Wary of the Word "Transgender"Homosexuality and health

P.S. It is good to consider the truth of the human body and it's relation to the human person as we celebrate the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ, man, male, in the flesh, ascended into heaven 1984 years ago, last Thursday. 2017 we are celebrating the second millennium of the seventeen year old Christ, man, in the flesh, male, on earth. The Creator and Lord of all each and every man, male or female.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Context and Ideological Foundations of Sexual Perversion and the Veritatis Splendor Solution

We are aware of the particular gravity of [the] sin[s] committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity. The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon--the symbol of the world's great irreligious cities--the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world--an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart--and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man's freedom and ultimately destroys it.

In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained--even within the realm of Catholic theology--that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a "better than" and a "worse than". Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, indicated with prophetic force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential permanent foundations of moral action. Today attention must be focused anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience. It is our responsibility to make these criteria audible and intelligible once more for people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount concern for mankind.

Benedict XVI Address to Roman Curia, December 20, 2010

Cf. Plinthos on Veritatis Splendor, Amoris Laetitia

Friday, May 26, 2017

True Freedom Consists in Being at Home

Go to minute 45:55

Consider the satisfaction palpable in the expressions of the First Lady Milania Trump and Jared and Ivanka Kuschner at their meeting with the Vicar of Christ, the visible head of the Church.

What strikes me the most about that encounter is how the Pontifex Maximus is actually doing the work of seeking to build bridges and peace. It appeared that the ladies and even Ivanka's husband were especially enjoying themselves and at peace and even at home in the presence of the Roman Pontiff and in the apostolic palace.

The great miracle of the Catholic religion!

All the kings of the earth shall come to pay their homage to Christ the King, the King of Peace and Lord of all, in the Wife of Christ, Holy Mother Church!

Although paradoxical to contemporary thought, freedom consists in becoming a part of the house, in being included in the building.

This idea is not paradoxical from the perspective of the ancient concept of freedom. For the ancients, whoever belongs to the house is free, and freedom is finding a home.

Augustine presupposes this ancient social notion of freedom, but then decisively transcends it in accordance with Christian faith. Freedom stands in an insoluble relation to truth, which is man's authentic way of finding a home. Man is free only if he is at home, i.e., if he is in the truth.

A movement that distances man from the truth of himself, from truth itself, can never be freedom because such a movement destroys man, alienates him from himself, and thus takes from him his own realm of movement, in which he can become himself. That is why the devil is captivity, and that is why the risen Christ, who involved man and built him into the house, is liberation...

...If man is tempted away from himself, he wanders aimlessly into emptiness. Precisely in this appearance of freedom, he is the exile, the prisoner, the criminal. (Cf. St. Augustine, Confessions 8.5.12-12.30; particularly 7.16)...Augustine is speaking not just on the basis of a dogmatic or philosophical theory but from the experience of his whole life. In indeterminacy, in the apparent freedom of an existence in which everything was possible but nothing was meaningful, he was enslaved. He was exiled from himself and captured by complete unconnectedness, which was based upon the absence of self and its detachment from its own truth. On the other hand, the gift of the victorious Christ is the homecoming and thereby makes possible the building of the house, and the house is called "Church..."

...[I]f the gifts [of which Saint Paul speaks] are ultimaltely one gift in many forms, namely the Spirit of God, and if the Spirit is the gift of Jesus Christ (which he gives and receives in men and women), then the innermost finality of all gifts is unity...

Joseph Ratzinger, "The Holy Spirit as Communio: Concerning the Relationship of Pneumatology and Spirituality in Augustine," in Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Vol 2: Anthropology and Culture, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013, 181-183.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Missa pro seipso Sacerdote, 1962

The orations for the priest himself (Orationes diversae, 8, 1962 [In previous editions of the Missal it is orationes diversae, 20]) are what one uses to say mass for a priest anniversary in the extraordinary form of the Latin rite. There is no special mass for the occasion.

One can say the mass of the day or pick a votive mass and add the orations under a single ending. The days that it is not permitted are specified below. Today being my anniversary, I'll probably say the mass of the day, which is a rogation day (the second rogation day before Ascension)!

Below is what the 1962 Missal says in that section (towards the back of the Missal).



   In anniversario propriæ Ordinationis sacerdotalis, quilibet sacerdos orationi Missæ, sub unica conclusione, orationem pro seipso addere potest, modo ne occurrant festa Nativitatis et Epiphaniæ Domini, Triduum sacrum, dominica Resurrectionis, festum Ascensionis Domini, dominica Pentecostes, festa Ssmæ Trinitatis, Corporis Christi, Cordis Iesu et Christi Regis, necnon Commemoratio omnium Fidelium defunctorum.

   Quoties impeditur, oratio pro seipso sacerdote transferri potest in proximiorem diem similiter non impeditum.

N.B. The 1962 Missal also has a note in the general rubrics, nos. 451-452. Previous editions of the Missal have that respective note in the Additiones et Variationes in Rubricis Missalis, VI, 8), 3.

P.S. Under this section of orationes for masses there are orations for such things as pro familia, ad postulandam humilitatem, pro devotis amicis, pro inimicis, etc. And under the section following the Masses of the dead there is a similar section of orations for masses of the dead of specific persons, e.g. pro defuncto sacerdote, pro patre et matre.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Narrowing of Reason must be Overcome to Recover the Integrity of Reason, to Recover Reality!

"The fact that God no longer appears to many to be attainable by reason is the fault not of an irrationality of the faith, but of the narrowing of our reason...

"...Beginning with Descartes' fundamental approach, there developed [an] 'absolutization of subjective conscience' which not only limited the perception of reality in general, but also resulted in a reduced concept of God...

"...The central core of Wojtyla's philosophy lies in the fact that he does not accept the separation of thought and existence that typifies the modern era.

"Descartes...severed thinking from existing and identified this isolated thought with reason itself: I think, therefore I am. But it is not thought that determines existence, but existence that determines thought...

"...God, who for St. Thomas, an heir of the biblical tradition, is subsistent being (which led Gilson to speak of St. Thomas's philosophy of existence), is now nothing but absolute thought. In the cultural climate that arose from this initial premise, the idea of God increasingly finds itself on the fringe, or better, a God who is sheer thought is already ipso facto relegated to the fringe. In this way God was gradually expelled from reality: Deism permits God to remain in existence, but he no longer has anything to say in the world. He has thus become for man a marginal hypothesis which he may or may not accept: whether or not he does no longer makes much difference...

"...This narrowing must be overcome. Reason must once again return to its integrity; if it does so, it will also once more see God...

"...[T]he pope's anthropology is theological... ...John (5)17: 'My Father is always at work, and I too am at work.' After the act of creation, God did not recede into the past; after the Big Bang he did not remove himself from the reality of this world. God is not a God of the past, but a God of the present and of the future...Christ is forever young."

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Volume 2: Anthropology and Culture, Pope Benedict XVI, eds. Schindler and Healy, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013, 144-146. From an article which first appeared as "God in Pope John Paul II's Crossing the Threshold of Hope,Communio 22, (Spring 1995).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Everyone Needs a Shriver

shrive, v.t.; shrived or shrove, pt.; shriven or shrived, pp.; shriving, ppr. [ME. shriven; AS. scrifan, to shrive, from L. scribere, to write or draw up a law; by extension, to impose a penalty.]
  1. to hear or receive the confession of and, usually after penance, administer absolution to. [Archaic.]
  2. to get absolution for (oneself) by confessing and doing penance. [Archaic or Rare.]

shrift, n. [AS. scrift, from scrifan, to receive confession, from L. scrivere, to write, or draw up a law.]
  1. confession to and absolution by a priest. [Archaic.]
  2. the act of shriving; absolution. [Archaic.]
  short shrift; see under short, a. (a) originally, a very brief period of confession and absolution before death. (b) very little care or attention, as from lack of patience or sympathy; (c) little or no mercy or respite.

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabrided Second Edition, New York: The Publisher's Guild, 1959.

A fifty year-old priest, having gone regularly to confession and having had constant spiritual directors, in turn, for the past thirty-two years, and after myself hearing confessions now for twenty of those years, I made my Friday confession (as is my wont), today, to a priest whom I have known and respected for over twenty years, with the intention of taking him for my new spiritual director (who will shrive me monthly, he being an hour away, while I will continue going weekly to confession more locally [usually on Friday]).

What impressed me today, at this stage in my life, not having any mortal sins to confess (not always the case), but plenty of venial (forgivable) sins; and the reason I so felt and feel a need for an experienced and holy and orthodox spiritual director again now is that at fifty one's heart and one's life is quite entangled in so many ways, the need for an objective guide and an objective judgment is so important. So the word that came to me throughout the morning is the word shriven. Today I felt the need to be shriven. I know I need a shriver. I need a man who will pronounce sentence on my life now in the name of God. I need the approval (with whatever necessary repentance and correction and amends which that may entail) of the Church, of Christ, of God, and the only place is the Catholic shrift.

So, it was most fitting to my present circumstance and sentiment to find that that word comes from the Latin to write. The sacrament of confession is many things, among which it is a sentence, a court sentence, the most important court sentence on this side of eternity. Every man is given judgment, but no man is judge in his own case. Every man needs to be sentenced. Every man needs a sentence, an absolute and definitive sentence in his case, the great privilege of the priest ordained by Christ for this work: "the binding and the loosing" of Saint Peter (Matthew 16:19), the "forgiving" and the "retaining" of the apostles (John 20:23).

Its good to be judged in the name of God: good to be forgiven, with judgment, with the necessary examination of the case which is essential to that judgment of the Just Judge par excellence, our merciful Lord, Christ. His mercy is precisely in the details of the case and the sentence and the help of the Church, His Body.

Deo gratias.

The following passage of The Roman Catechism on the qualifications of the minister of the Sacrament of Penance as judge and physician is to the point.

Besides the powers of orders and of jurisdiction, which are of absolute necessity, the minister of this Sacrament, holding as he does the place at once of judge and physician, should be gifted not only with knowledge and erudition, but also with prudence.
As judge, his knowledge, it is evident, should be more than ordinary, for by it he is to examine into the nature of sins, and among the various kinds of sins to judge which are grievous and which are not, keeping in view the rank and condition of the person.
As physician he has also occasion for consummate prudence, for to him it belongs to administer to the diseased soul those healing medicines which will not only effect the cure, but prove suitable preservatives againt its future contagion.
The faithful, therefore, will see the great care that each one should take in selecting (as confessor) a priest, who is recommended by integrity of life, by learning and prudence, who is deeply impressed with the awful weight and responsibility of the station which he holds, who understands well the punishment due to every sin, and can also discern who are to be loosed and who to be bound.

Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, editors McHugh and Callan, New York: Wagner, 1937, 291-292.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Priests Should Write Something Everyday!

Thus my Manuale Sacerdotum, Josephus Schneider, SJ, Coloniae: Bachemii, 1889, 15.

Nulla dies sine linea.

Here is the context. Christ has called you to go out, to improve and excel in his service for souls.

I. De fine vocationis ad statum sacerdotalem.
Ego elegi vos..., ut eatis et fructum afferatis, et fructus vester maneat. Joan. 15, 16.

1. Meditatio: Ego elegi vos...

2. Meditatio: Ut eatis.

     I. Ut eatis proficientes de virtute in virtutem. In via spirituali, qui stat nec progreditur, regreditur. Perpende, quae te excitare debeant ad continuum progressum: Tempus breve est (quot anni restant?...quot annos vane consumpsisti? redime eos et novo fervore damna compensa). Pensum arduum: tot vitia et defectus debes exstipare ex agro cordis tui, tot virtutes inserere et colere, te aptum et aptiorem reddere quo Deus utatur pro instrumento suae gloriae et alienae salutis.--Praemium, quod te maneat, ingens est, respondet autem tuo labori. Ergo nulla dies sine linea! Instanter operare!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pope Emeritus Benedict New Afterword for Sarah Book on Silence: “'It can happen that a good, pious priest, once he is raised to the episcopal dignity, quickly falls into mediocrity and a concern for worldly success...runs out of steam.'"

The text below is an afterword written by the Pope Emeritus for a future printing of Robert Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, published last month by Ignatius Press.

Ever since I first read the Letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch in the 1950s, one passage from his Letter to the Ephesians has particularly affected me: “It is better to keep silence and be [a Christian] than to talk and not to be. Teaching is an excellent thing, provided the speaker practices what he teaches. Now, there is one Teacher who spoke and it came to pass. And even what He did silently is worthy of the Father. He who has truly made the words of Jesus his own is able also to hear His silence, so that he may be perfect: so that he may act through his speech and be known through his silence” (15, 1f.). What does that mean: to hear Jesus’s silence and to know him through his silence? We know from the Gospels that Jesus frequently spent nights alone “on the mountain” in prayer, in conversation with his Father. We know that his speech, his word, comes from silence and could mature only there. So it stands to reason that his word can be correctly understood only if we, too, enter into his silence, if we learn to hear it from his silence.

Certainly, in order to interpret Jesus’s words, historical knowledge is necessary, which teaches us to understand the time and the language at that time. But that alone is not enough if we are really to comprehend the Lord’s message in depth. Anyone today who reads the ever-thicker commentaries on the Gospels remains disappointed in the end. He learns a lot that is useful about those days and a lot of hypotheses that ultimately contribute nothing at all to an understanding of the text. In the end you feel that in all the excess of words, something essential is lacking: entrance into Jesus’s silence, from which his word is born. If we cannot enter into this silence, we will always hear the word only on its surface and thus not really understand it.

As I was reading the new book by Robert Cardinal Sarah, all these thoughts went through my soul again. Sarah teaches us silence—being silent with Jesus, true inner stillness, and in just this way he helps us to grasp the word of the Lord anew. Of course he speaks hardly at all about himself, but now and then he does give us a glimpse into his interior life. In answer to Nicolas Diat’s question, “At times in your life have you thought that words were becoming too cumbersome, too heavy, too noisy?,” he answers: “In my prayer and in my interior life, I have always felt the need for a deeper, more complete silence. … The days of solitude, silence, and absolute fasting have been a great support. They have been an unprecedented grace, a slow purification, and a personal encounter with … God. … Days of solitude, silence, and fasting, nourished by the Word of God alone, allow man to base his life on what is essential.” These lines make visible the source from which the cardinal lives, which gives his word its inner depth. From this vantage point, he can then see the dangers that continually threaten the spiritual life, of priests and bishops also, and thus endanger the Church herself, too, in which it is not uncommon for the Word to be replaced by a verbosity that dilutes the greatness of the Word. I would like to quote just one sentence that can become an examination of conscience for every bishop: “It can happen that a good, pious priest, once he is raised to the episcopal dignity, quickly falls into mediocrity and a concern for worldly success. Overwhelmed by the weight of the duties that are incumbent on him, worried about his power, his authority, and the material needs of his office, he gradually runs out of steam.”

Cardinal Sarah is a spiritual teacher, who speaks out of the depths of silence with the Lord, out of his interior union with him, and thus really has something to say to each one of us.

We should be grateful to Pope Francis for appointing such a spiritual teacher as head of the congregation that is responsible for the celebration of the liturgy in the Church. With the liturgy, too, as with the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, it is true that specialized knowledge is necessary. But it is also true of the liturgy that specialization ultimately can talk right past the essential thing unless it is grounded in a deep, interior union with the praying Church, which over and over again learns anew from the Lord himself what adoration is. With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

50 Years Hence: Gravitas: Ite ad Joseph!

Some fifty years after the Council of Nicea the Fathers of the Church were ambivalent about the results achieved.

"'To tell the truth, I am convinced that every assembly of bishops is to be avoided, for I have never experienced a happy ending to any council; not even the abolition of abuses..., but only ambition or wrangling about what was taking place.'"  [Saint Gregory of Nazianzus], 368

"[Saint] Basil speaks of the 'shocking disorder  and confusion' of the conciliar disputes, of the 'incessant chatter' that filled the whole Church." 369

"Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil, both of whom spoke from experience, were right in saying that, with the coming together and the inevitable disagreements of many individuals, a council gives rise to unpleasant effects--ambition, strife and the wounds that accompany them."

A council is like an surgical operation, healing (the intended result) is not always the outcome. The results may just as well turn out bad. It depends on the body, the healing comes from within the body, not from the operation itself, which serves merely as a pruning, purgative or corrective force. The healing must come from within the living organism.

"The real content of Christianity is not the discussion of its Christian content and of ways of realizing it: the content of Christianity is the community of word, sacrament and love of neighbor to which justice and truth bear a fundamental relationship." 374

"Whether or not the Council becomes a positive force in the history of the Church depends only indirectly on texts and organization; the crucial question is whether there are individuals--saints--who, by their personal willingness, which cannot be forced, are ready to effect something new and living...individuals prepared to experience in themselves the drama of the separation of the wheat from the cockle and thus to give to the whole a singleness of meaning that it cannot gain from words alone." 377

Principles of Catholic Theology, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1987.

N.B. That entire epilogue: 367-393, is a must read (or re-read) for any serious student of theology today. It examines the historical moment of the council and how the Enlightenment made it necessary, and the peculiar situation of Latin America in that historical dynamic. It is no accident that the three Popes of the assessment of these fifty years have been John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Francis.

Ite ad Joseph [Ratzinger]! to get your bearings within the present confusion, to understand even the position and deepest relevance of Pope Francis. This is a moment of maturity, of great weight, a time for saints!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Secret 1918 Vatican Archive Document Reveals Freemasonic Plot to Destroy Throne and Altar

Maike Hickson May 11, 2017

We do not have authorization to publish the full contents of the letter, but the author of this report was given permission to review it in its entirety.

Dr. Michael Hesemann, a German historian of the Catholic Church, has just given an interview to Robert Moynihan’s Inside the Vatican Magazine. In this interview, which deals with the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima, Dr. Hesemann makes the following statement:

Also in 1917, Freemasonry celebrated the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717. The Masonic ideology is not only based on deism, but also on the Gnostic heresy of self-salvation and “enlightenment,” and has a decidedly anti-Catholic agenda. Just in 1917, Maximilian Kolbe, one of the greatest saints of the 20th century, witnessed a Masonic procession in Rome, carrying banners with the slogan “Satan must reign in the Vatican. The Pope will be His slave.”

One year later, the German Emperor Wilhelm II was warned by German Freemasons that the Grand Orient planned to force all sovereign monarchs in Europe to abdicate – which indeed happened in 1918 – [also] to destroy the Catholic Church and to bring Europe under the control of American Big Business, according to a document I found in the Vatican Secret Archives.

Bolshevism would be the instrument of Freemasonry to reach this goal.

Indeed, 1917 was the year of the Russian [Bolshevik] revolution which ended in a massive persecution of the Church.

Also 1917 was the year of the United States’ entry into World War I, the year when the two superpowers were born, which formed the history of the 20th century for the next 74 years. [emphasis added]

Dr. Hesemann personally rejects the view that Russia has not been sufficiently consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and denies that there is still a part of the Third Secret of Fatima missing. Nevertheless, he thinks that the message of Fatima is still with us and that some form of grave chastisement is still imminent. And this chastening might, in my view, be connected to the words quoted above: namely, the destruction of many of the European monarchies, together with the weakening and undermining of the Catholic Church. Many historic nations may also be thereby destroyed (as Our Lady implied).

Inspired by his statement that he had himself unexpectedly found an important document in the Secret Vatican Archives, I contacted Dr. Hesemann personally, and he was immediately generous and offered to share with me that original document. He has conducted extensive research at the Secret Vatican Archives since 2009. In March of 2017 and in his own preparation for the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, Dr. Hesemann actually published an article about this historic document in which he himself quotes the most important parts of that document.

The document which Dr. Hesemann found in the Vatican Archives files of the Apostolic Nunciature of Munich is a handwritten letter written on 8 November 1918 by the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Felix von Hartmann, and addressed to the Apostolic Nuncio in Germany, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli — who would later become Pope Pius XII. In that letter, Cardinal von Hartmann informed Archbishop Pacelli about some information that Emperor Wilhelm II just had received and which he wanted to pass on to the pope, with the help of his personal friend Cardinal von Hartmann. What follows are the most important excerpts of that historic letter:

Your Excellency,

His Majesty the Emperor just has let it be known to me “that, according to news that came to him yesterday, the Grand Orient has just decided first to depose all Sovereigns – first of all him, the Emperor – then to destroy (?) the Cathol.[olic] Church, to imprison the pope, etc and, finally, to establish on the ruins of the former bourgeois society a world republic under the leadership of American Big Capital. The German Freemasons are purportedly loyal to the [German] Emperor (which is to be doubted!) and they informed him about it. Also England wants to preserve the current bourgeois order. France and America, however, are said to be under the full influence of the Grand Orient [Freemasonic Lodge]. Bolshevism is said to be the external tool to establish the desired conditions. In the face of such a great danger which threatens in addition to the Monarchy, also the Catholic Church; it is thus important that the German episcopacy be informed and that also the pope be warned.” So far the message of His Majesty. I have believed myself to be duty-bound to pass it on to Your Excellency, and I have to leave it up to Your judgment whether You wish to pass this message on to Rome. The stormy demand of the [German] Social Democrats that the Emperor should abdicate gives a certain confirmation to this message. May God protect us and His Holy Church in this terrible turmoil! [….] With utmost devotion and being at His Excellency’s disposal, Cardinal Felix de [von] Hartmann.

(Source: A.S.V., Arch. Nunz. Monaco d.B. 342, fasc. 13, p. 95-96)

As Dr. Hesemann himself points out in a manuscript (written in May of 2016) which he kindly shared with me, it was only one day later that the November Revolution broke out in Germany with the consequence that the German Emperor Wilhelm II had to abdicate. The warning had come true.

Dr. Hesemann – who has authored more than 40 books and who has gained much recognition for his important research about the Armenian Genocide – concludes his report on this historic letter with the following words:

How far away we are today, 98 [now 99] years later, from such an announced [and recommended] “world republic under the leadership of American big capital,” each of us may judge for himself. The “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” TTIP would have brought the world certainly an immense step closer to that goal.

In this respect, the document from the year 1918 seems nearly prophetic. However, it does not describe the visions of a seer, but, rather, quotes a purported plan. Was such a plan of the Freemasonic Grand Orient also the blueprint for the European history of the 20th and early 21th century? That would certainly be a simplification, just like any conspiracy theory. However, one cannot deny that Freemasonry planned, nearly one hundred years ago, what afterwards has come true, and in an almost uncanny way.

Does God Exist? Ratzinger Debates an Atheist, Italian

Widespread Rape Cover-Up in America's Schools Today: Associated Press

People need to go to jail, beginning with the administration of the schools! Kids are raping kids and no one seems to care.

Oh, by the way, now boys and girls can share bathrooms and locker rooms. Pray tell, how is that supposed to help stop this epidemic crime?

Just a couple more reasons to home-school.

The Philosophy Program for Catholic Universities and Seminaries: Sapientia Christiana

I just came across the section on philosophy below from Pope Saint John Paul II in 1979, referenced here by Pope Benedict XVI in his Nov., 19, 2009 Address to the Pontifical Universities of Rome:

"After thirty years the fundamental lines of the apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana retain all their timeliness...From its very first words the apostolic constitution...points out the urgent, ever timely need to bridge the gap between faith and culture. It calls for a greater commitment to evangelization in the firm conviction that Christian revelation is a transforming force, destined to permeate mindsets, standards of judgment, and behavioral norms. It is able to illuminate, purify, and renew people's morals and culture, and must constitute the focal point of teaching and research, as well as the horizon that illumines the nature and objective of every ecclesiastical faculty..."

Section III  Faculty of Philosophy

Article 79. n. 1. An Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy has the aim of investigating philosophical problems according to scientific methodology, basing itself on a heritage of perennially valid philosophy.(24) It has to search for solutions in the light of natural reason and, furthermore, it has to demonstrate their consistency with the Christian view of the world, of man, and of God, placing in a proper light the relationship between philosophy and theology.

n. 2. Then, the students are to be instructed so as to make them ready to teach and to fill other suitable intellectual posts as well as to prepare them to promote Christian culture and to undertake a fruitful dialogue with the people of our time.

Article 80. In the teaching of philosophy, the relevant norms should be observed which are contained in the documents of the Second Vatican Council(25) and in other recent documents of the Holy See concerning academic studies.(26)

Article 81. The curriculum of studies of a Faculty of Philosophy comprises:

a) the first cycle, basics, in which for two years or four semesters an organic exposition of the various parts of philosophy is imparted, which includes treating the world, man, and God. It also includes the history of philosophy, together with an introduction into the method of scientific research;

b) the second cycle, the beginning of specialization, in which for two years or four semesters through special disciplines and seminars a more profound consideration is imparted in some sector of philosophy;

c) the third cycle, in which for a suitable period of time philosophical maturity is promoted, especially by means of writing a doctoral dissertation.

Article 82. The first cycle ends with the degree of Baccalaureate, the second with the specialized Licentiate, and the third with the Doctorate.

Article 83. To enroll in a Faculty of Philosophy, the student must have done the previous studies called for in accordance with Article 32 of the Constitution.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Science's Inadequacy Regarding Origins and Meaning

Positive Science is confronted with three natural inexplicable "mysteries." All extra-theological explanations devolve into the irrational.

--origin of the universe

--origin of life

--origin of consciousness

The question of the fundamental origins is completely lost on science because it ignores the Originator.

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram! Genesis 1:1

"Science fiction the context of many sciences:" theories about the beginning and the end of the world, "...only imaginations whereby we draw near to the reality..." Within the theory of evolution is a great deal of science fiction: e.g. Richard Dawkins' "selfish gene."

" wish to replace God with 'Nature,' the question remains as to who or what this nature is. Nowhere do you define it and it therefore appears to be an irrational divinity which explains nothing. However, I would like especially to note that in your religion of mathematics there fundamental themes of human existence are not considered: freedom, love and evil. I am surprised that with a nod you set aside freedom which has been and still remains a fundamental value of the modern age. Love does not appear in your book, nor does the question of evil. Whatever neurobiology says or does not say about freedom, in the real drama of our history it is present as a crucial reality and it must be taken into account. However, your mathematical religion knows of no answer to the question of freedom, it ignores love and it does not give us any information on evil. A religion that neglects these fundamental questions is empty."

"It must be said that a divine Logos also must be conscious and, in this sense, a Subject and a Person. An objective reason always presupposes a subject, a reason which is conscious of itself."

Cf. Pope Emeritus Benedict Letter to Atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi

Friday, May 12, 2017

"He loves God." Utinam!

That is how one mother today explained my presence to her small children, as I stood there reading my breviary on the Parish steps, and they passed on the way to their secularist schools.

The children were commenting on the elegance of the priestly attire: cassock and saturno, with full beard. "Yes, he looks good" replied the mother to a comment from a child; and "He loves God," was the response to another comment of the children as they glanced back in amazement at the extraordinary sight, to explain the nature and mission of the priest at prayer in public.

"He loves God." Amen! Utinam! That is the only sufficient reason for the priesthood, and the priestly mission: the love of God.

That, for the love of God, is actually the only sufficient reason for doing anything in life.

"My food is to do the will of Him Who sent me, to accomplish His work." Jn. 4:34

P.S. One of the main reasons I daily say some of my prayers (the 1962 Breviary)--the prayer of the Church--the prayer of Christ--outside is to advertise that very reality, to show the world that we are made to love God! That the service of God is essential. That the priesthood is not only or even primarily social work, it is divine service.

"Let nothing be put before the work of God."  Saint Benedict

Ergo nihil operi Dei praeponatur. S. Benedicti Regula43, 3.

The Catholic religion points to God! Wear it, live it, unabashedly, proudly!

May Catholic priests shamelessly parade their noble love of God at least as much those who hate God parade their shameful lusts! Utinam!

The Bland Philanthropist Jesus is a Phony

"Vade, et iam amplius noli peccare." Jn. 8:11

"Today in broad circles, even among believers, an image has prevailed of a Jesus who demands nothing, never scolds, who accepts everyone and everything, who no longer does anything but affirm us: the perfect opposite of the Church, to the extent that she still dares to make demands and regulations...the figure of transformed from the 'Lord' (a word that is avoided) into a man who is nothing more than the advocate of all men.

"The Jesus of the Gospels is quite different, demanding, bold. The Jesus who makes everything okay for everyone is a phantom, a dream, not a real figure. The Jesus of the Gospels is certainly not convenient for us. But it is precisely in this way that he answers the deepest question of our existence, which--whether we want to or not--keeps us on the lookout for God, for a gratification that is limitless, for the infinite. We must again set out on the way to this real Jesus...

"[T]he figure of Jesus in the Gospels cannot be reduced to that of a bland philanthropist--...precisely the Jesus of the Gospels...bursts open the framework of what is merely human, posing questions and demanding decisions that challenge man to the very depths of his soul."

2003 foreword to On the Way to Jesus Christ, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005, 7-8.

"Forgiveness is exacting and makes demands on both the person who forgives and the person who receives forgiveness in that person's whole being. A Jesus who approves of everything is a Jesus without the cross, because the tribulation of the cross would not then be needed to bring men and women to salvation...

Vade, voca virum tuum... Jn. 4:16
"[F]orgiveness has to do with the truth, and for that reason it requires the cross of the Son and it requires our conversion. Forgiveness is indeed the restoration of truth, the renewal of being, and the overcoming of the lie that lurks in every sin: of its nature sin is always a departure from the truth of one's own being and thus from the truth of the creator, God...

"A pastoral practice of appeasement, of 'understanding everything and forgiving everything' (in the superficial sense of this phrase) stands in glaring contrast to the biblical evidence. The correct pastoral practice leads to the truth, arouses love for the truth, and helps people accept the pain of the truth. It must itself be a form of accompanying people on the difficult but beautiful way to new life that is also the way to true and lasting joy."

The Yes of Jesus Christ, Joseph Ratzinger, New York: Crossroads, 1991, 95-97. Original title in German was To Look at Christ: an Exercise in Faith, Hope and Love, drawn mainly from a Summer 1986 retreat given by Cardinal Ratzinger to the priests of the movement Comunione e liberazione.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spiritual Sound Bites for Priests: Saint Alphonsus Liguori

That all should be lost and that God not be lost.

May all be offended and may God not be offended.

Only sin ought to be feared and ought to afflict us.

Rather to die than to consciously commit a sin, even venial.

Every thing ends.

The world is a performance which soon ends.

Every moment is worth a treasure for eternity.

Everything is good which is pleasing to God.

Choose that which you would have wished to do at death.

Live as if there were nothing else but you and God.

Only God satisfies.

There is no other good, but God; there is no other evil, but sin.

Never do anything for self satisfaction.

He who most mortifies himself in this life will enjoy the most in the other [life].

To the lovers of God what is bitter is sweet and what is sweet is bitter.

He who wills that which God wills has everything he wills.

The will of God renders every bitterness sweet.

In infirmity you discover who has spirit.

He who does not want anything from this world has no need of anything.

Do not procrastinate the good resolutions, if you do not want to go backwards.

To be perturbed for faults committed is not humility, but pride.

We are as much as we are before God.

He who loves God wants more to love than to know.

He who wants to become a saint must discard from the heart every thing which is not God.

He is not all God's who seeks any thing which is not God.

Pain, poverty and despisal were the companions of Jesus, may they be also ours.

Disturbance, for whatever end, does not ever come from God.

The humble man deems himself unworthy of every honor and worthy of every contempt.

He who thinks on the hell deserved suffers in peace every pain.

Forget yourself and God will think about you.

Love the despisals and you will find God.

He who contents himself with the lesser good is close to the bad.

God esteems little the one who seeks to be esteemed.

The saints speak always of God; always bad of themselves and always well of the others.

The curious are always dissipated.

Woe to him who loves sanity more than sanctity.

The devil goes to hunt the slothful.

The devil makes use of a vain priest like a play ball.

He who wants peace it is necessary that he mortify all the passions, without exception.

Blessed Joseph of Calasanz used to say: the servant of God speaks little, works much, endures everything.

The saints study to be, not just to appear, holy.

He who does not love prayer much will never attain any good level of perfection.

It is necessary first to be a shell to gather, and then a channel to scatter.

Every attachment prevents being all God's.

The priest should not consider anything except Jesus Christ, and the pleasure of Jesus Christ.

In works of appearance pride is often hidden.

To offer oneself totally to God is a great tool for communion.

In walking through town keep the eyes downcast; think that you are a priest, not a painter.

§. 3. Massime di spirito per un sacerdote.

Si perda tutto e non si perda Dio.

Si disgustino tutti e non si disgusti Dio.

Solo il peccato si ha da temere e ci ha da affliggere.

Prima morire, che commettere un peccato, anche veniale, ad occhi aperti.

Ogni cosa finisce.

Il mondo è una scena che presto termina.

Ogni momento vale un tesoro per l'eternità.

Tutto è buono quel che piace a Dio.

Eleggi quel che vorresti aver fatto in morte.

Vivi, come non vi fosse altro, che tu e Dio.

Solo Dio contenta.

Non vi è altro bene, che Dio; non vi è altro male, che il peccato.

Non far niente mai per propria soddisfazione.

Chi più si mortifica in questa vita più goderà nell'altra.

Agli amanti di Dio l'amaro è dolce e il dolce è amaro.

Chi vuole quel che vuole Dio ha tutto quel che vuole.

La volontà di Dio rende dolce ogni amarezza.

Nell'infermità si scovre chi ha spirito.

Chi niente brama di questo mondo non ha bisogno di niente.

Non procrastinare i buoni propositi, se non vuoi andare indietro.

Il disturbarsi per li difetti commessi non è umiltà, ma superbia.

Tanto siamo, quanto siamo avanti a Dio.

Chi ama Dio, più vuole amare che sapere.

Chi vuol farsi santo bisogna che scacci dal cuore ogni cosa che non è Dio.

Non è tutto di Dio chi cerca qualche cosa che non è Dio.

Il dolore, la povertà e 'l disprezzo furono i compagni di Gesù, questi sieno anche i nostri.

Il disturbo, sia per qualunque buon fine, non viene mai da Dio.

L'umile si tiene per indegno d'ogni onore e per degno d'ogni disprezzo.

Chi pensa all'inferno meritato patisce con pace ogni pena.

Scordati di te e Dio penserà a te.

Ama i disprezzi e troverai Dio.

Chi si contenta del meno buono sta vicino al male.

Dio poco stima chi cerca d'essere stimato.

I santi parlano sempre di Dio; sempre male, di loro e sempre bene degli altri.

I curiosi stanno sempre dissipati.

Guai a chi ama più la sanità che la santità.

Il demonio va a caccia degli oziosi.

D'un sacerdote vano il demonio si serve come d'una palla di giuoco.

Chi vuol pace bisogna che mortifichi tutte le passioni, senza eccezione.

Diceva il b. Giuseppe da Calasanzio: Il servo di Dio poco parla, molto fatica, sopporta tutto.

I santi studiano per essere, non già per comparir santi.

Non giungerà mai a qualche buon grado di perfezione chi non ama molto l'orazione.

Bisogna esser prima conca per raccogliere, e poi canale per diffondere.

Ogni attacco impedisce d'esser tutto di Dio.

Il sacerdote non dee altro rimirare che Gesù Cristo, e '1 gusto di Gesù Cristo.

Nell'opere d'apparenza spesso si nasconde la superbia.

L'offerirsi tutto a Dio è un grande apparecchio per la comunione.

Camminando per l'abitato tieni gli occhi bassi; pensa che sei sacerdote, non pittore.
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