Sunday, December 31, 2023

Merry Christmas and Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ MMXXIV!


Here is a recent performance of in dulci jubilo by the Regensburg Domspatzen.  I heard this amazing boy's choir sing for the annual Regensburg Ordination in the City Cathedral during my time in Regensburg a few years ago. It was the most beautiful sound I have heard in this life! They were singing directly behind me in the sanctuary of that medieval Cathedral. I am also familiar with the Audimax where they did this December 19, 2023 concert, that is the same auditorium of the famous/prize-winning Benedict XVI Regensburg Address at the University of Regensburg.

P.S. Today is the one year anniversary of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. May he rest in the peace of Christ, and may he intercede for us before God for the Church and for the world, right now. Amen. We sorely need his help from heaven. May the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us all.

Here is the text of the song.

Latin/German Text

English Translation

1. In dulci jubilo,
Nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne liegt
in praesepio,
Und leuchtet als die Sonne
Matris in gremio,
Alpha es et O!

In dulci jubilo [In quiet joy]
Let us our homage show
Our heart’s joy reclineth
In praesepio [In a manger]
And like a bright star shineth
Matris in gremio [In the mother's lap]
Alpha es et O. [Thou art Alpha & Omega]

2. O Jesu parvule
Nach dir ist mir so weh!
Tröst' mir mein Gemüte
O puer optime
Durch alle deine Güte
O princeps gloriae.
Trahe me post te!

2. O Jesu parvule [O tiny Jesus]
I yearn for thee always
Listen to my ditty
O puer optima [O best of boys]
Have pity on me, pity
O princeps gloriae, [O prince of glory]
Trahe me post te. [Draw me unto thee]

3. O Patris caritas!
O Nati lenitas!
Wir wären all verloren (verdorben)
Per nostra crimina
So hat er uns erworben
Coelorum gaudia
Eia, wären wir da!

3. O Patris caritas [O Father's charity]
O Nati lenitas [O Newborn's mildness]
Deeply were we stained
Per nostra crimina [by our crimes]
But thou hast for us gained
Coelorum gaudia [Heavenly joy]
O that we were there.

4. Ubi sunt gaudia
Nirgend mehr denn da!
Da die Engel singen
Nova cantica,
Und die Schellen klingen
In regis curia.

Eia, wären wir da!

4. Ubi sunt gaudia [Where be joys]
If that they be not there
There are angels singing
Nova cantica [New songs]
There the bells are ringing
In regis curia [At the king's court]
O that we were there.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Bishops Conferences, Etc., Rejecting Fiducia Supplicans

Here is an updated list and links to episcopal conferences, cardinals, bishops, priestly associations, orders, etc., that oppose the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declaration Fiducia supplicans on the blessing of homosexual couples (“irregular situations”):

1) Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Emeritus of Tyler ( here ).

2) Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. A short but very clear and penetrating text ( here ).

3) Malawian Bishops' Conference ( here ).

4) Archdiocese of Astana ( here ). Particularly strong: “With sincere brotherly love and with due respect, we turn to Pope Francis, who, by allowing the blessing of couples in an irregular situation and of same-sex couples, 'does not walk sincerely according to the truth of the Gospel' (cf. Gal 2:14) to borrow the words with which the apostle Paul publicly admonished the first pope in Antioch. Therefore, in the spirit of episcopal collegiality, we ask Pope Francis to revoke permission to bless unmarried and same-sex couples.”

5) Msgr. Marian Eleganti, emeritus. Auxiliary Bishop of Chur ( here ).

6) Msgr. José Munilla, Bishop of Orihuela-Alicante ( here ).

7) Msgr. Jaime Fuentes, Bishop Emeritus of Minas ( here ).

8) Zambian Bishops' Conference ( here ).

9) Nigerian Bishops' Conference ( here ). A particularly clear statement: “Therefore, there is no possibility in the church to bless same-sex partnerships and same-sex acts. This would violate the law of God, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our land and the cultural sensibilities of our people.”

10) Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ukraine ( here ).

11) British Brotherhood of Catholic Clergy ( here ).

12) Cardinal Gerhard Müller ( here ). Substantial and clear document in which he states, among other things: “The priest who blesses homosexual couples commits a sacrilegious and blasphemous act against the Creator's plan and against Christ's death for us to bring the Creator's plan to fruition. This also affects the diocesan bishop.”

13) Msgr. Carlo Maria Viganò ( here ).

14) Ghanaian Bishops' Conference ( here ).

15) Father Gerald Murray, canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of New York ( here ).

16) Beninese Bishops' Conference ( here ).

17) Togolese Bishops' Conference ( here ).

18) Rwandan Bishops' Conference ( here ).

19) Symposium of the Bishops' Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SCEAM) ( here ).

20) Polish Bishops' Conference ( here ).

21) Cameroon Bishops' Conference ( here ).

22) Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine ( here ).

23) Zimbabwe Bishops' Conference ( here ).

24) Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé ( here ).

25) Congolese Bishops' Conference ( here ).

26) Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger ( here ).

27) Burundian Bishops' Conference ( here ).

28) Haitian Bishops' Conference ( here ).

29) Antillean Episcopal Conference ( here ).

30) Hungarian Bishops' Conference ( here ).

31) Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa ( here ).

32) Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier OFM, em. Archbishop of Durban ( here ).

33) Msgr. Victor Masalles, emeritus. Bishop of Bani ( here ).

34) Msgr. Jesus Sanz Montes OFM, Archbishop of Oviedo ( here ).

35) Msgr. Alberto Molina Palma, Archbishop of Los Altos in Guatemala (here).

36) Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan ( here ).

37) Msgr. Hector Aguer, em. Archbishop of La Plata ( here ).

38) Msgr. Robert Mutsaerts, Auxiliary Bishop of Herzogenbusch ( here ).

39) Msgr. Charles Chaput, em. Archbishop of Philadelphia ( here ).

40) Msgr. Adair Guimarães, Bishop of Formosa in Brazil ( here ).

41) Cardinal Daniel Sturla, Archbishop of Montevideo ( here ).

42) Msgr. Philip Anyolo, Archbishop of Nairobi ( here ).

43) Msgr. Czeslaw Kozon, Bishop of Copenhagen ( here ).

44) Msgr. Eric Varden OCSO, Bishop of Trondheim ( here ).

45) Msgr. Bernt Eidsvig, Bishop of Oslo ( here ).

46) Msgr. Hans Hendricks, Bishop of Amsterdam ( here ).

47) Msgr. Michael Nazir-Ali, former Anglican Bishop of Rochester ( here ).

48) Msgr. Gintara Grušas, Archbishop of Vilna ( here ).

49) Msgr. Antonio Suetta, Bishop of Ventimiglia-San Remo ( here ).

50) Province of the USA and Argentina of the Marian Order ( here ).

51) Order of the Transalpine Redemptorists ( here ).

52) Association of Catholic Lawyers of Argentina ( here ).

53) Brotherhood of Catholic Clergy of the USA ( here ).

54) Brotherhood of Catholic Clergy of Australia ( here ).

55) Msgr. Paul Kariuki Njiru, Bishop of Wote ( here ).

56) Gabonese Bishops' Conference ( here ).

Compilation: Caminante Wanderer/Giuseppe Nardi

The Thug Who Invented Kwanzaa

Born Ronald McKinley Everett, later changing his name to Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga, Karenga is "best known as the creator of the pan-African and African-American holiday of Kwanzaa," which no one either in Africa or America celebrate, though it is widely advertised in the USA by the liberal, anti-Christian media.

Karenga invented "Kwanzaa" in an attempt to supplant Christmas. "During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said it was meant to be a black alternative to Christmas. Karenga, a secular humanist, challenged the sanity of Jesus and declared Christianity a 'White religion' that black people should shun."

Here is what the Kwanzaa website says about the anti-Christmas foundation of Kwanzaa.

American black separatist Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 during the aftermath of the Watts riots as a non-Christian, specifically African-American, holiday. Karenga said his goal was to "give black people an alternative to the existing holiday of Christmas and give black people an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society." For Karenga, a figure in the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the creation of such holidays also underscored the essential premise that "you must have a cultural revolution before the violent revolution. The cultural revolution gives identity, purpose, and direction."

Karenga was sent to prison from 1971-1975 in prison, sentence to ten years in prison on counts of felony assault and false imprisonment. This man and the non-holiday he created are typical of the apostasy and disgrace promoted among the blacks in America.

Jesus Christ, Christianity, and Christmas are totally and authentically African and African-American, the greatest treasure of the African people everywhere! Christ Himself during The Flight into Egypt, spent the first seven years of his life in the African continent, Himself born in Bethlehem of Judea, racially and religiously a Jew. Here is another irony, to reject Jesus Christ is anti-Semitism. Karenga, in his zealous anti-Christian apostasy is also anti-Semitic.

N.B. Hannukah is the Jewish Kwanzaa, a mid-20th century American invention intended to supplant and distract from Christmas. "In the United States, Hanukkah became a more visible festival in the public sphere from the 1970s when Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson called for public awareness and observance of the festival and encouraged the lighting of public menorahs."

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Litany of Trust

How to pray the Litany of Trust

Make the Sign of the Cross. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Ask Jesus to deliver you from the various fears and insecurities that hold us back from fully trusting Him. After each petition, respond with “Deliver me, Jesus.”

From the belief that I have to earn Your love
From the fear that I am unlovable
From the false security that I have what it takes
From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute
From all suspicion of Your words and promises
From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You
From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will
From anxiety about the future
From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past
From restless self-seeking in the present moment
From disbelief in Your love and presence
From the fear of being asked to give more than I have
From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth
From the fear of what love demands
From discouragement

Place your trust in Jesus, knowing that He will always wrap you in His arms. After each petition, respond “Jesus, I trust in You.”

That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me
That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings and transforms me
That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You
That You are with me in my suffering
That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next
That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church
That Your plan is better than anything else
That You always hear me and in Your goodness always respond to me
That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others
That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked
That my life is a gift
That You will teach me to trust You

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Annunciation Motherhouse
38 Montebello Road Suffern, NY 10901

Written by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, SV

Friday, December 15, 2023

Jews Took Christ out of Christmas

Jingle kvells! The great American Christmas was invented by Jews
December 14, 2022
If you hate Christmas music, blame the eastern European pogromists that inspired it
The fact that the most beloved Christmas songs were written by American Jews is not an anomaly if you understand Jews. The idea of America in cinema was invented by Ben Hecht, Hermann Mankiewicz and Billy Wilder.
The superhero genre was invented by Jerry Siegel and Bob Kane; imagine Superman and Batman as surnames, and you can hear Siegel and Kane’s longing for superpowers a century on. So why not invent the American Christmas too?

The most glittering example is White Christmas by Irving Berlin, and his story is typical. His childhood name was Israel Beilin and he was born in Siberia, the youngest son of Moses, a cantor. Their home was burnt down by anti-Jewish arsonists when Israel was four or five. Berlin’s biographer, Jody Rosen, believes Israel’s earliest Christmas memories were of pogroms, which tended to reach a pitch during Christian festivals.

The family moved to America and Irving Berlin – now renamed after an English actor and a German city, said a wag – grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City.

He left school to become a busker, a singing waiter, and a songwriter at Tin Pan Alley where, in an act of chutzpah and subconscious fear, he turned himself into the perfect American. He wrote God Bless America, which became his adopted homeland’s anthem; Easter Parade; and White Christmas. When asked how a Jew could write a song about Christmas, he replied, “I wrote it as an American”. I’m not sure that is true.

“The two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ — the divinity that’s the very heart of the Jewish rejection of Christianity — and what does Irving Berlin brilliantly do?” wrote Philip Roth, Berlin’s most canny observer, in Operation Shylock. “He de-Christs them both! Easter turns into a fashion show and Christmas into a holiday about snow… He turns their religion into schlock. But nicely! Nicely! So nicely the goyim don’t even know what hit ’em ….”

Even in America, Jews were excluded from so-called respectable professions. The established population had no interest in the new mass culture and the way was clear for a cultural flowering and symbiosis: Jews would make it for them. They had the tradition of Yiddish theatre and song, and the cacophony of Israel Zangwill’s Melting Pot to draw on. “Had I been born on the Lower East Side,” Cole Porter, the only elite gentile songwriter of the time, said in tribute, “I might have been a true genius.”

White Christmas began as satire: a swell (the kind of man the half-Jewish but gentile-passing Fred Astaire always played) sitting in Hollywood, longing for the comforts of home. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” But Berlin realised he had something more profound. He was an unreliable narrator with multiple stories of the song’s creation myth. It is possible that its wistfulness comes from the fact that his baby, Irving Berlin Jnr, died on Christmas Day 1928, but he would never have said so explicitly. He was a joy-maker who made myths.

White Christmas spoke to the itinerant soul of America. They had all, as refugees to the United States, or migrants from country to city during the Great Depression, left their homes behind. The critic Michael Beckerman wondered if the song was, “a kind of holiday Moby-Dick, a distant image of things that can never be reclaimed: the past, childhood, and innocence itself?”

It was first performed by Bing Crosby on Christmas 1941, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The Jewish songwriter must have a gentile singer as an avatar, which Rosen calls “a projection of Jewish desire… downtown street smarts but uptown ‘class’”. White Christmas became the anthem of the war: the musical version of Casablanca, a story about refugees who likewise cannot go home, likewise written by Jews from the Lower East Side – the Epstein brothers – and released in 1942. “Away down under this latest hit of Irving Berlin,” wrote Carl Sandburg, “catches us where we love peace”. It became the best-selling single of all time.

Many songs followed it. Let it Snow and Santa Baby were written by American Jews; so were Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland; Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire; Silver Bells; It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year; Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree; A Holly, Jolly Christmas; and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

These songs express the longing of the immigrant to create a world where he is safe, a dazzling act of tribute, cynicism, and control. If you hate Christmas music, blame the eastern European pogromists that tangentially inspired it. But I am with Philip Roth when he marvels: “If supplanting Jesus Christ with snow can enable my people to cosy up to Christmas, then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

On a similar note, Hannukah is the Jewish Kwanzaa, a mid-20th century American invention intended to supplant and distract from Christmas.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Ars Nova Musicae

Philippe de Vitry, a French theorist, poet, philosopher and composer, wrote a treatise on music in 1322 that changed the way music was written and expressed. It was entitled Ars Nova notandi, a new technique in writing music. We use this moment as the line to divide two eras of music. Ars nova is a musical style which flourished in the Kingdom of France and its surroundings during the Late Middle Ages. The term is used relative to the preceding ars antiqua and the ars subtilior which came after.

The differences in the music of these writing techniques are subtle to our modern ears, but the innovations of de Vitry’s new system allowed for increased rhythmic freedom and expression to the composer. A good analogy would be the use of perspective in the visual arts; the use of foreground and background. No longer were all of the voices in music on the same rhythmic plane, they now had greater independence from each other.

One of the most prominent composers of the Ars Nova style was Guillaume De Machaut, another French poet and composer who was a little younger than de Vitry.

His work, Messe de Nostre Dame, is the earliest complete Mass of which we are aware written by a single composer. This is significant because it stands as an example of music taking on the personality of an individual. Machaut used the tools of the Ars Nova to create a work that was unified and expressive. He put his stamp on it; he made it personal. In addition to being written as a form of worship at Mass, the De Machaut Mass stands as an object of art by itself, a personal expression of an individual. That’s what the innovations of de Vitry and the Ars Nova movement allowed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

5 Lessons From the Iron

Source: Art of Manliness (AoM)

Back in 2015, I started weightlifting seriously.

Over eight years of training, I was able to get strong. But more importantly, I discovered a hobby that brought me immense satisfaction.

While I don’t barbell train like I used to, I still religiously lift weights.

During my eight years of serious training, I’ve learned some important life lessons from the iron.

Below, I share five of them.

1. Success Comes From a Long Obedience in the Same Direction

When people decide to get serious with exercise, they tend to focus on the minutiae of their new regimen. People spend a lot of time looking for the right program and the right equipment. They think they’ll see incredible gains if they find the optimal set and rep range.

But there’s something just as, if not more important, than the training program you choose:

Being consistent with it for months and even years.

How did I deadlift 600 pounds? I trained consistently for six years. Sure, my programming changed during that time, but the thing that didn’t change was me going down to my garage four times a week to train.

The necessity of consistency applies to every other endeavor in life.

I’ve used the consistency principle to lose 30 pounds this year. I didn’t do any crash dieting. I just gradually reduced my calories and stuck to my macro target almost every day for eight months. That’s it.

When people ask me for advice about their online business, they often ask me about the tools and tricks Kate and I use that helped us get AoM to where it is today.

Keeping up with the latest trends in technology, marketing, and social media hasn’t been nearly as important as simply sticking to our publishing schedule; for coming up on sixteen years now, we’ve published several pieces of content nearly every single week. AoM isn’t slick, flashy, or even particularly cool, but it is consistent.

As Nietzsche put it, “everything of the nature of freedom, elegance, boldness . . . and masterly certainty”; everything to do with “virtue, art, music, dancing, reason, spirituality”; everything “that is transfiguring,” that makes “life worth living,” is premised on one thing:

A “long obedience in the same direction.”

The trick is figuring out ways to stay consistent over the long haul.

When it comes to exercising, we’ve written about how to work out while you’re on vacation, sick, or simply don’t feel like it. There’s plenty of good advice there, and I think it carries over to other parts of life, too.

But the real secret for staying consistent over the long haul is that . . .

2. You Got to Have Ganas

Ganas is Spanish for desire.

I’ve written about the centrality of ganas in finding success in whatever you do.

Most of the things I’ve achieved in life were because I really wanted to accomplish those things. I had ganas for those goals.

A big reason I was able to deadlift 600 pounds is that I really, really wanted to deadlift 600 lbs. That strong desire was what compelled me to rarely miss a workout for four years. My coach could give me programming and offer corrections on technique, but he couldn’t make me want to go after a 600-lb deadlift. I had to have the desire myself.

Discipline is really harped on these days as the key to success.

Discipline is one way to achieve the consistency that’s essential to reaching your goals.

But constantly exercising self-control is exhausting.

A better way to stay consistent is to operate with inherent motivation — to enjoy the thing you’re doing so that you want to do the thing that will lead to success.

What William George Jordan said about duty applies to discipline as well:
Duty is a hard, mechanical process for making men do things that love would make easy. It is a poor understudy to love. It is not a high enough motive with which to inspire humanity. Duty is the body to which love is the soul. Love, in the divine alchemy of life, transmutes all duties into privileges, all responsibilities into joys.
I loved going for big personal records (PRs), which is why I could be consistent with powerlifting for so long. Kate and I love working on AoM, which is why we’ve been able to do it for over a decade and a half.

Love, desire, is the motor that powers your progress.

3. Progress Isn’t Linear

In my quest for barbell PRs, I had a lot of ups and downs. Some weeks, I’d make consistent progress, and some weeks, I went backward. I’d have weeks where I’d deadlift 500 pounds with ease one workout, and then the next, I couldn’t even budge 405 off the floor. Injuries and sickness would pop up and throw my progress out of whack for weeks and even months.

At first, the up-and-down nature of my progress frustrated the heck out of me, but eventually, I learned that the undulations were part of the process. I adjusted my expectations to the fact that I wouldn’t have continuous linear progression. That did a lot to assuage my angst.

I also had to teach myself to approach my plateaus and setbacks with some detachment. Instead of freaking out about it and dramatically changing my programming, I just kept doing what I was doing for the most part. Usually things started moving forward again. If I needed to make a change, they’d only be minor tweaks.

I’ve seen the idea that progress isn’t linear in other parts of my life. During my weight loss journey this year, I’d have weeks where I didn’t lose weight or even gained a few pounds. I didn’t freak out. I just stuck to the plan and made minor adjustments now and then.

My mood is another area where I’ve seen progress, but not linearly. I’m mercurial and melancholy by nature. I’ve struggled with the black dog (discouragement) for most of my adult life and been consciously working on it for the better part of 15 years. Overall, I think I’m in a much better place now with my mood. Kate would affirm this. My temperamental troughs are less frequent than they were a decade ago, and when they hit, they’re shorter in duration.

But there have been many ups and downs along the way to get to this point. The big thing that’s changed is that when I backslide, I don’t beat myself up over it. I just see it as a setback and stick to my long-standing plan for keeping the black dog leashed.

4. You Have to Learn How to Grind

A skill I had to learn how to develop in my barbell training was “grinding.” The “grind” is when you keep exerting yourself on a rep as much as you can for as long as you can, even though your body is telling you to stop. A successful grind doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily complete the rep (though you’ll often manage to do so); it just means you push or pull as hard and as long as you can before you cry uncle. You give it your all and leave nothing on the platform.

Grinding is what you do when you’re training to failure, which is how you increase the size of your muscles.

Grinding isn’t something you naturally want to do. It’s incredibly uncomfortable. Your natural tendency is to want to stop a lift once it starts to get hard. However, research has shown that much of the “wall” we run into isn’t physical; it’s mental. We can override this innate desire to quit uncomfortable physical activity. You just have to practice this override mode. Grinding is an acquired skill.

My ability to grind on the platform has carried over to other parts of my life. I’ll have moments with work when I just want to give up, but I’ve learned to override that feeling and grind a bit longer. I’ve learned that it’s in the grind that growth happens. Or as entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it: “It’s always the hard part that creates value.”

5. Reaching Goals Won’t Make You As Happy as You Think

I hit a bunch of PRs during my serious barbell training days. For some of those PRs, I’d have to train for a long time to achieve it. For example, reaching 315 pounds on my bench press — the awesome-feeling three-plate milestone — took me three years.

You’d think I’d be incredibly happy and excited when I achieved the goals I had worked on for years, right?

Well, I was.

But only for about a minute.

An hour later, I felt exactly the same as before I hit the PR.

A day later, I wasn’t even thinking about it. I was thinking about my next PR.

Paul Carter calls the idea that you’ll be over-the-moon happy when you achieve a big weightlifting goal the “arrival fallacy.”

The arrival fallacy is the belief that once you achieve some goal, you’re finally going to unlock the happiness you’ve long desired. But the post-goal happiness you experience is fleeting. So you continue the chase by setting a new goal. And on the cycle goes.

It’s not that this cycle doesn’t carry its own satisfactions and isn’t excellence-producing. It does and it is. But you have to manage your expectations. If you think that notching a goal will make you happy in the sense of a sustainably elevated mood, you’re going to be disappointed. But, if you think that notching a goal will make you happy in the sense of giving your life purpose, structure, drive, and the joy that comes from tackling challenges, then goal-setting and attaining will enhance your life.

Whether you’re hoisting barbells, learning a musical instrument, or trying to make it as an entrepreneur, it’s about coming to love the process even more than the results.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Sermon/Homily Require Opposite Re-Orientations

Here is my assessment of the dynamic of preaching vs. not-preaching at Mass, Extraordinary Form (EF) vs. Ordinary Form (OF).

In the two respective Forms of the Roman Rite, the preaching/not-preaching is an anti-climactic reversal of orientation in opposite ways.

In the EF, the sermon is anti-climactic, interrupting the transcendent action of the Mass and going down to the immanent dimension of the priest face-to-face with the congregation, hence the sign of the cross before and after the sermon to exit and return to the Mass.

In the OF, not to give the homily would seem to be anti-climactic, because it truncates the immanent dimension of the dialogue with the people already happening in the vernacular/versus populum pulpit, meant for preaching. Not to preach might seem to be a premature interruption of the immanent action of the Mass (the Liturgy of the Word) which should climax in the personal witness of the preacher.

In this regard, recall that Pope Benedict XVI did not preach during his first Mass (OF) as Pope, but after it.


Picture: Saint Vincent Ferrer. Timete Deum et date ille honorem, quia venit hora iudicii eius.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

"Faith is a Practice" --Tammy Peterson

Jordan Peterson and Tammy Peterson, his wife, give testimony to her newly discovered Catholic faith, through the power of the daily Rosary in an ordeal with terminal cancer. Tammy is now preparing to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church next Easter.

Jordan: One of the conclusions that Job comes to, as a consequence of his trials, was that, when the Hell of suffering--unjust suffering--opens up around you, you can make it much worse by also being bitter and resentful and ungrateful, and shaking your hands at fate and God,...perhaps at yourself too. And so, Tammy didn't do that. She certainly faced her impending fate with grace, and attempted to do that consciously. And prayer was an aid in that endeavor.

Tammy: I just constantly prayed. I never allowed myself to worry. I just gave myself to God and to the prayer, to take me where I needed to go...where He needed me to go. Whatever He needed me to go through. I decided that it wasn't up to me anymore. And I think I had led my life that way for a very, very long time. And this trial--this challenge--was given to me to come to this realization now. And I did. Thank the Lord!

Jordan: She wasn't praying to live. She wasn't praying that God would give here some special dispensation. She was praying that she could conduct herself as appropriately as could possibly be managed given the situation at hand. And that's what it means in some ways to put yourself in the hands of God. You don't know what the right outcome is, and maybe it's that you live, and maybe it isn't. What you can pray for is that you handle what's thrown at you in the best possible manner, whatever that is. And that can be a very demanding aim. and that's a terrible thing to be called upon to do, but all other pathways merely make Hell deeper.

[When she was terminally ill in the hospital a friend came and taught her to pray the Rosary, praying it with her daily for five weeks. A priest then gave her a scapular and a novena to be prayed for healing, during which she was healed.]

Learning and praying the Rosary with her friend--daily--Tammy got better at confronting her destiny with grace. She also learned to value herself more. Not in the narcissistic sense that elevates someone above anyone else, but in the sense that you should extend to yourself the same love that you would extend to someone for whom you cared. And she prays about an hour a day, in the morning, and that gives her the best state of mind,...a childlike gratitude.

Tammy: Things have changed for me a lot since I stared praying the Rosary. The more you follow what God wants you to follow the more adventurous and the more challenging everything becomes. I've been accepting to do things that I never would have accepted before. So it has very much changed my life. Now when we go on tour [Jordan] asked me to come and open shows for him, which is unbelievable for me to go up on a stage where there are five thousand, six thousand, ten thousand, thirteen thousand people in the crowd. I ask for courage and strength before I go out on stage.

Jordan: Likely what she's discovered, more particularly, as a consequence of moving in the Catholic direction is that she's discovered the identity between Christ and the truth. Now, people don't understand what that means, but there are lots of things that are true that people don't understand.

Tammy: Prayer is a practice. Faith is a practice. The Rosary is a practice. Why are they practices? Because you're going to go through hard times in your life and nothing will survive except for the things you practice. When life ends and everything is obliterated, the only thing that you will find in the ashes are the things that you practiced. OK? Decide what that's going to be.

Let us pray.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

"Faith is a practice, not just an abstract spirituality."

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Saint John Lateran, 1700 Years Old

The Lateran Basilica turns 1700 years old, it is the mother church of Christianity: the lands were donated by Constantine

In 2024 the Lateran Basilica, the Mother Church of Christianity, an irreplaceable point in the history of the West, turns 1700 years old. For over ten centuries it was the papal residence before the Popes moved to Avignon, during the period of the Avignon captivity, and subsequently decided to move the residence to the Vatican. Two hundred and fifty Councils took place within its walls, five of which were ecumenical, including the Lateran IV, in 1215, considered by historians to be the most important of the entire Middle Ages as it was entirely aimed at ensuring a universal Christian society.
The Lateran Basilica was consecrated on 9 November of the year 324 by the then Pope Sylvester I, who later became a saint, whose pontificate coincided with the long empire of Constantine, the first Roman emperor to accept Christianity, marking the transition from pagan Rome to Christian Rome. It was Constantine who donated that land to the Church to build a domus ecclesia. According to the Annals of Tacitus, the lands and properties that initially stood there belonged to the powerful Lateran family. In 65, however, Nero confiscated their assets because they participated in the "Piso" conspiracy. When the conspiracy failed, the consul Plautius Lateran was sentenced to death and was expropriated of his wealth which passed to the Imperial Exchequer.
Pope Sylvester will name the patriarchal Lateran archbasilica after Christ the Savior. Only during the 12th century was it also dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Originally the sacred building became famous for its splendor and was the object of continuous and important donations from emperors, Popes and other benefactors, as is testified in the Liber Pontificalis.
In the Lateran palace the most significant facts of history were intertwined with the dynamics of the Church.
Coronation of emperors, audiences with kings and queens, including the signing of the Lateran Pacts, signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Gasparri and the then head of government Benito Mussolini. The original of the document is kept on a desk in the Hall of the Pontiffs, which has now become a museum. Until the 19th century all Popes were crowned in the Lateran, but after the breach of Porta Pia the custom was abandoned. The building that we know today has undergone various phases of design, expansion and modifications compared to the initial early Christian building. On 28 July 1993 the side entrance and part of the facade of the building were seriously damaged by a bomb attack commissioned by the mafia which damaged the facade.
The original early Christian building has undergone several changes throughout history also because it was damaged by some earthquakes. The earthquake in 896, for example, destroyed the basilica almost entirely which was almost completely restored by Pope Sergius III (904-911). Later the church was also heavily damaged by fire in 1308 and 1360. The peak of the glory of the new Lateran basilica however came on 22 February 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the first Jubilee there.
Until the 14th century the Palace was the residence of the Popes, then the headquarters was moved to Avignon, France (1304-1377). Once he returned to Rome, the pontiff of the time found himself managing the entire Lateran area which was now in a state of total abandonment, the palace had been looted over the years and the surrounding areas had become a place of brigandage. The degradation was almost total. The papal residence thus moved to the Vatican.

Today's Lateran basilica has five front doors, one for each nave, punctuated by massive columns supporting monumental arches. The central bronze doors are Roman originals from the Senate in the Imperial Forums. The rightmost door is the Holy Door which is only opened during the Holy Year (once every 25 years). It will reopen in 2025. In front of the left wall is the statue of Emperor Constantine. The twelve enormous niches that Francesco Borromini created in the columns of the central nave contain majestic marble statues of apostles. Despite Borromini's rigorous renovation, some historical evidence remains clearly visible. In particular the magnificent floor in the Cosmatesque style and the gilded wooden ceiling, created by Giacomo della Porta based on a design by his patron, Michelangelo.
The definitive renovation of the current church was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V who entrusted the work to his trusted architect Domenico Fontana.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Purgatory, All Souls Day

In Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI wrote this about Purgatory, the after-death purification of the faithful yet in need of final purification.

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31), Jesus admonishes us through the image of a soul destroyed by arrogance and opulence, who has created an impassable chasm between himself and the poor man; the chasm of being trapped within material pleasures; the chasm of forgetting the other, of incapacity to love, which then becomes a burning and unquenchable thirst. We must note that in this parable Jesus is not referring to the final destiny after the Last Judgement, but is taking up a notion found, inter alia, in early Judaism, namely that of an intermediate state between death and resurrection, a state in which the final sentence is yet to be pronounced.

45. This early Jewish idea of an intermediate state includes the view that these souls are not simply in a sort of temporary custody but, as the parable of the rich man illustrates, are already being punished or are experiencing a provisional form of bliss. There is also the idea that this state can involve purification and healing which mature the soul for communion with God. The early Church took up these concepts, and in the Western Church they gradually developed into the doctrine of Purgatory. We do not need to examine here the complex historical paths of this development; it is enough to ask what it actually means. With death, our life-choice becomes definitive—our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell[37]. On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbours—people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are[38].

46. Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. For the great majority of people—we may suppose—there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil—much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul. What happens to such individuals when they appear before the Judge? Will all the impurity they have amassed through life suddenly cease to matter? What else might occur? Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us an idea of the differing impact of God's judgement according to each person's particular circumstances. He does this using images which in some way try to express the invisible, without it being possible for us to conceptualize these images—simply because we can neither see into the world beyond death nor do we have any experience of it. Paul begins by saying that Christian life is built upon a common foundation: Jesus Christ. This foundation endures. If we have stood firm on this foundation and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. Then Paul continues: “Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:12-15). In this text, it is in any case evident that our salvation can take different forms, that some of what is built may be burned down, that in order to be saved we personally have to pass through “fire” so as to become fully open to receiving God and able to take our place at the table of the eternal marriage-feast.

47. Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ[39]. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

48. A further point must be mentioned here, because it is important for the practice of Christian hope. Early Jewish thought includes the idea that one can help the deceased in their intermediate state through prayer (see for example 2 Macc 12:38-45; first century BC). The equivalent practice was readily adopted by Christians and is common to the Eastern and Western Church. The East does not recognize the purifying and expiatory suffering of souls in the afterlife, but it does acknowledge various levels of beatitude and of suffering in the intermediate state. The souls of the departed can, however, receive “solace and refreshment” through the Eucharist, prayer and almsgiving. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too[40]. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Google Doodle All Saints Day

Google Doodle, with the above advertisement today, again ignores the Christian holidays, opting rather to invent holidays nobody celebrates. Goodle Doodle needs to discover true religion, the Catholic faith!

Today is All Saints Day throughout the entire world. It is the meaning of All Hallowed's Eve (Halloween) yesterday evening. But, today, Google Doodle is celebrating "The Day of the Dead" which is not even a thing! It is a pure Google invention. It is analogous to Kwanzza, a pure secularist invention in an attempt to supplant the Christian culture of Christmas.

Happy All Saints Day, November 1, 2023, the day of the living, not of the dead! All Saints Day, today, a holy day of obligation, is the day of the living par excellence, because those who live in Christ, and only they, live for real; beyond the grave they are saints in heaven in eternal joy and peace.

Tomorrow is All Souls Day, November 2, 2023. It is the day of the faithful departed, a special day to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Holy Souls in Purgatory are also alive. They are the souls of Christ's faithful who have died in the state of sanctifying grace but are still in need of purification for the total perfection necessary for heaven. All Souls Day is also a day of the living, not of the dead! We do not celebrate death but life!

"Jesus said to Saint Martha: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever." John 11:25-26

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Sodomite Synod

This state of affairs in the Church reminds me of this quote of a text from 1987 on the purpose of the Sex Education Movement. 
The Sex Education Movement ...has, as one of its key objectives, the promotion of a pansexual or bisexual agenda in which homsexuality and pedophilia play a key and pivotal role. The growing number of homosexual bishops, as well as lesbian nuns, have formed a sixth column within the Church in the United States. Many of these individuals have played important roles in the development and promotion of the new sexual catechetics in parochial schools, which, like the United States Catholic Conference "Sex Education Guidlines" and the Kosnik Report, promote homosexuality and bisexuality as a variation on the norm, not a perversion.  

The Rite of Sodomy:Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church, Randy Engel, New Engel Publishing: Export, Pennsylvania, 2006, ix.

Pope Francis and his minions represent one last sorry attempt to hijack the Church. It's too late. There will not be a Pope Francis II to succeed him! His Papacy will go down in Church history as the last chapter of the flower children generation in the Church. It's their last gasp! obscene and pitiful. Not Catholic.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

John XXIII at The First Roman Synod

From this era, unfortunately, is the perverse attempt to drag authentic veneration to a Pontiff, to a sort of papolatry, idolatry or cult of the person (living or deceased) on the one hand, or even to violent and delegitimizing attacks against a pope that we "don't like" or that doesn't correspond to our canons... on the other, with excesses that don't help to dispel the great confusion of our historical moment. HOLY PRUDENCE has been lost, wisdom, humility and charity have been lost in addressing the reigning Pontiff of our time, Pope Francis because, it must be said, he has an ambiguous magisterium so much so as to have raised for the second time - from saints priests and excellent cardinals who, however, he refuses to listen to fraternally - the legitimate request of some Dubia on some of his statements: READ HERE , while for the “ chronicles of this pontificate ” read here . These Cardinals, but also some Bishops and some priests, teach us how we must intervene when we talk about the Pontiff, how we address him and how we must RESIST the ethical, moral and doctrinal drift we are witnessing.

This brief introduction allows us to remember the true teaching of the Church, PERENNIAL teaching, with absolutely unchangeable dogmas and doctrines... Today we want to remember Pope Saint John XXIII whose optional liturgical memorial falls on October 11th. We want to remember him with his own words and with his own teaching.


First session of the First Roman Synod:

“Dear Brothers and children: we might draw your attention with the breadth of doctrinal and patristic exploration, or drawing on considerations of modern and very modern order and style.
We prefer to thank you for this, and focus on two sources of celestial, evangelical and ecclesiastical doctrine, which are: the teaching of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in their letters and, alongside these two oracles, the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, completed and illustrated by the invaluable Roman Catechism, or Catechism of the Council of Trent, published by Saint Pius V (1566) and republished by the Venetian Pope Clement XIII (1758-1769). Cardinal Agostino Valerio, a friend of Saint Charles Borromeo, called this Catechismus Romanus divinitus datum Ecclesiae (a divine gift to the Church) and we have the opportunity... to recall its very high value for the current use of sacred preaching in parishes, and for those who have little time for profound studies, and also for those who, engaged in these, are anxious for theological, dogmatic and moral precision.

Saying this is also a reminder - please forgive us - of Our joyful and industrious youth, as We have been busy, also for the press, with the widest knowledge of this true and most precious treasure.
«Ad iuvandam rempublicam Christianam, et restituendam veterem Ecclesiae disciplinam nobis divinitus datum esse videtur… (i.e.: To help the Christian republic, and restore the ancient discipline of the Church, it seems that it was divinely given to us … ) — are the words of the ancient Bishop of Verona - vos qui aliquantum aetate processistis (you who are to a certain extent advanced in age) - this is our case and that of the older ones among you - legite bune catechismum, septies et plusquam septies: mirabiles eniyn fructus ex eo percipietis " (or:read the good catechism, seven times and more than seven times: you will receive wonderful results ).”

(John XXIII – Address at the first session of the First Roman Synod – 25 January 1960)

For the Tridentine Catechism, download it in pdf CLICK HERE

AT THE FIRST ROMAN SYNOD – the Constitutions

“The Synod speaks of order, harmony, peace and true enjoyment, because it is true spiritual beauty from down here, a reflection of the ineffable beauties that await us in the celestial regions. And in this light of truth, of discipline, of perfect order, the agreement of the trinomial that we often love to remember returns: lex credendi, lex supplicandi, lex agendi: law of believing, law of praying, law of doing.

This is the golden rule of Catholic life, individual and collective: this is the source of all consolation: the sure path, along which the faithful always reach their goals.

The Church of Christ is a material temple, which multiplies wherever four stones join together to compose an altar. The Church is above all a spiritual temple, where every Christian knows he has his place: he knows he has it, and is aware of his duty to keep it with honour, with dignity, with grace. Blessed is he who understands these things and secures eternal goods by respecting them.

Beloved children, priests and lay people, we are Christians and Catholics. We honor our sacred origins and our religious history and tradition.

We know how to renounce certain sinuosities of our little self, in which we love to hide the deficiencies of our religious culture, certain oddities of our pretentious personal taste of judging everything, what the Authority of the Holy Church, rich in centuries-old experience and maternal wisdom, believes it appropriate to dispose in this way in the relationships of material and external structures, sacred buildings, rites, devotions, but above all in the interpretation of the law of the Lord, marked in the two Testaments and in the magisterium and living ministry of the Universal Shepherd - however humble his person - enlivened by the reality and grace of a promise and divine assistance, which cannot fail in the order of the doctrine of faith and customs.

The lofty words of the great Christian poet always remain true for what is sufficient for the universal salvation from the octopus of innumerable errors, which roam the world and seduce the unwary:
If evil greed calls for something else to you - Be men and not mad sheep. (Dante, Paradiso, V, 80-81)
The invitation: be men and not crazy sheep, fed by the wind, becomes a warning for general correction.”

(John XXIII – Allocution for the Sacred Constitutions of the First Roman Synod – 28 June 1960)


"Having arrived at this reality of human and Christian life, it may seem strange that after two thousand years of religious experience and of the Gospel spread and lived, there are still those who have the courage to tell us that the entire history of the Catholic Church ., that all of Christianity is nothing but the continuation of a great fable over the life of the world, which it is necessary to dispel, in order to do everything again.

Let us leave these deluded people to their apparent naivety, and let us prepare to continue the exercise of hope, unconquered because it is the security of the word of the Lord regarding us for which the great final comfort is reserved, and to the great disappointment of the unbelievers for the definitive inanity of their efforts: along the way perhaps it will be convenient for us to suffer some pressure from them. (..)

Dear Brothers and children, let us help our very good, zealous and peaceful clergy to sanctify themselves, so that the blessing of the Lord corresponds to their efforts and may be poured out on all families for the distinguished, industrious and beneficial priestly work.

Today, Sunday 31 January, is the liturgical commemoration of Saint John Bosco. This name is a poem of grace and apostolate: from a small village in Piedmont it brought the glory and successes of Christ's charity to the farthest reaches of the world.”

(John XXIII – Solemn closing address of the First Roman Synod – 31 January 1960

“Complacency is followed by admonition, in relation to what God expects from each of you, for the country from which you come, or for the one to which He himself will have you give your life.

A priestly action can never serve to spiritually dominate the world, if not to a triple condition of moral elevation, on which the glory of every missionary and the triumph, renewed over the centuries, of truth and grace in the Catholic Church are intertwined.

Dear young people! You read in Our heart, more than Our lips can tell you.

What constitutes the uncontaminated glory of the Catholic priesthood, anywhere on earth, and in all the services of the good apostolate, especially now, and undoubtedly in the future, is this: the immaculate life, that is: the purity of the mind and of the heart; the spirit of meekness and humility; the perennial and pure flame of action and sacrifice.

a) Do not let yourselves be informed or seduced by any wind of doctrine, nor by any aura that takes anything away from the integrity of this teaching, which is at the beginning of every other. Any concession on this point, or even a slight compromise, is always a deception and disappointment.
Ah! dear children: how sad is the fate of withered flowers! The perfume, the general edification, and almost the veneration of the people were expected from them. And instead a gust of wind and storm destroyed everything. Unhappy is youth when this flower is wasted: and how the step of one who did not honor the great promise of his total consecration to God is dragged on with difficulty and with pain, even for long years!!”

(John XXIII at the Urban College of Propaganda Fide 30.11.1958)

“The priest is first and foremost a man of God, « vir Dei ». This is how the Christian people think and judge you, this is how the Lord wants you. Therefore try to conform your life to those pure thoughts that this definition in itself arouses in your heart. By saying man of God, everything that is not God is excluded from the priest. (..) May your life therefore be impregnated with the good scent of Christ, in ardent love for Him, who guides us to the Father. This is the true basis of a priestly life full of intimate peace and irresistible enchantment for souls. (..)

May Jesus Christ be your only friend and consoler, in the vigils before the Tabernacle, or at the study table, in the care of the poor and the sick, in the ministry of sacred preaching. Seek Him alone, considering human things in His light, to win them over to Him. Take upon yourself His gentle yoke and light weight, practicing the virtues proper to every consecrated life: dedication to the Lord and to souls, sleepless work for the Church, exercise of the fourteen works of mercy, prompt and sincere obedience to the Bishop, respect full of virile tenderness for holy things.

Jesus is not found in a dissipated life, even if the most sacrosanct reasons of the ministry were invoked.(..)

Souls seek the word of Christ, and the priest must communicate it to them in its integrity and freshness.(..)

In communicating these thoughts to you, a great example rises to our and your gaze, in the radiant figure of the Holy Parish Priest of Ars, who truly lived, outside of every pose and every rhetoric, the ideals of priestly life . He was a man of God: he loved the Altar and the pure sources of Revelation, he touched souls with the mystical rod of purification, and actively cooperated in their salvation.

It has been said that the graces of conversion obtained through the prayers and above all through the Holy Mass of Curé Vianney will never be known. And his simple and convinced preaching reached everyone's hearts, to work wonders of grace - while once upon a time he had been judged to be lacking in intellectual gifts! What more convincing proof is there that it is not human resources that conquer souls, but only the virtue of God, which works through his docile instruments?”

(John XXIII to the Priests gathered for the First Centenary of the Transit of Saint John Mary Vianney – 12 March 1959)

“Venerable Brothers and beloved sons,

The initial note for this second conversation is offered to us by the Acts of the Council of Trent, right from the first chapter de reforme of Session XXII. They are points of doctrine and practical guidelines of conduct that are familiar to us from our seminary years, and which we still retain and repeat by heart. 
"Nothing is more effective in encouraging piety and the worship of God in the Christian people than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry." By being relieved from the cares of the century and placed on high, priests are seen by all, and sought as a reason for edification and example. (..)

Allow us, Venerable Brothers and beloved sons, to mention some of these virtues in reference to three characteristic elements of the human person and priestly dignity, that is, the head, the heart, the tongue.

And let's start from the head: understand first.

It is from the head that the doctrine, the judgement, the good judgment of the man of the Church, who is the priest of Christ, are measured. (..)

Today more than ever the need for good cultivation is evident. The ignorant, the incapable cannot and must not be ordained a priest. Seminars, Synods, Councils, Pontifical Constitutions, doctrine of the Fathers and theologians, require the application of the head, and with this the splendor of the doctrine.

Therefore, you must study and study all your life. The object of ever new studies will never be lacking.

However, it is equally serious, in the choice of studies and books, to proceed with caution: since not all are good, not all are perfect in terms of conformity to the pure doctrine of the Gospel, and of the most well-known and certain interpreters of Christian teaching.

Every good priest must be able to bear witness to this teaching more faithfully. And it is in this task that everyone's good judgment and value are measured. The overabundance of literary production in every sector of human knowledge often becomes a temptation to intellectual drift, to bizarre and dangerous positions, towards which those who lack experience run, and are easily and quickly led to trust in themselves.

The knowledge of the Sacred Books: Old-New Testament: of the Fathers and of the great masters of philosophy and theology, Prince Aquinas: liturgical science and its application, a truly delightful garden with the most fragrant and majestic flowers and trees: and thirdly, the knowledge and practice of the general legislation of the Code of Canon Law placed at the service of the social order, both internally, or in the diocesan administration, as in relations with the external world, constitute the three sources of doctrine, of discipline and of sanctification, from which the robust and square heads of the best priests rise, becoming true and noble servants of the Holy Church and of souls.

And now, come on. head, Venerable Brothers and beloved children, let us move on to the heart.

When it is said of a priest: he is a man of heart: this is the first happy note that begins a eulogy in which ordinarily many people easily join. And he often joins in to the point of forgiving even some exuberance of less adjusted and appropriate head movements. Much credence is also given to what was written, with the authority of a man of letters rather than a philosopher and moralist, and is widely applied, that often "the heart has its reasons that reason does not know". Now the dignity of our ministry tells us not to take this lightly.

Even the reasons of the heart must be studied and justified or corrected.

The heart of a priest must be filled with love, just as his head must be shining with truth and doctrine.
Love of Jesus, ardent, pious, vibrant and open to all those outpourings of mystical intimacy that make the exercise of priestly piety and prayer so attractive: both the official prayer of the universal Church and that of well-chosen and followed private forms , and to which being able to abandon oneself is a delight and tasty and solid nourishment of the spirit; it is a perennial source of courage, of comfort amidst the difficulties, sometimes amidst the harshness of life and of priestly and pastoral ministry.

Love of the Holy Church and of souls, especially those entrusted to our care and our most sacred responsibilities: souls belonging to all social classes; but, with particular interest and concern, the souls of sinners, of the poor of every kind, of those who fall under the enumeration of the works of mercy, bringing the inspiration of evangelical charity to all relationships.
And so here we are at the third point of observation – THE LANGUAGE – which we proposed to touch on in reference to the commitment of our priestly sanctification. Oh! what words.

Oh! what a lesson to everyone, but particularly to the clergy.

It is therefore no longer a question of the head or the heart, but of the tongue.

We are always in the doctrine or order of charity: but with special reference to the gift given by God to man to transmit to heaven and earth in a resounding voice what is the interiority of the spirit.

«Be of one mind - wrote Saint Peter from Rome to the distant faithful of ancient Asia Minor which is present Anatolia - be all of one mind, compassionate, lovers of brothers, merciful, modest, humble: do not return evil for evil, nor curse for curse : instead bless, because you were called to do this, that is, to possess the blessing as an inheritance. Whoever loves life and wants to enjoy happy days, let him restrain his tongue from evil, and let his lips not tell lies. Flee from evil and do good; seek peace and follow it because the eyes of the Lord are turned upon the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers. However, the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" [1Pt.3,8-12].

Ah! Brothers and children: do not be dismayed by what we are about to say.

We have the impression that, on the point of governing the language, we all more or less sin a little: and that knowing how to remain silent and knowing how to speak in good time and well is a sign of great wisdom and great priestly perfection.

In a beautiful volume, which reveals the spiritual intimacies of Our great Predecessor Pius never harm anyone, and when he happened to hear others say it, even in an intimate conversation, he would turn everything into a benign interpretation, or immediately stop the topic.

May the long practice of life teach everyone that for the happiness of our spirit it is much more beneficial to see the good in things and dwell on it, than to look for the bad and the defective, and underline it lightly, worse if with malice.

We know the teaching of Saint Peter in this regard.

The Apostle Paul is even stronger: there is no need to quote him here. Above all, the language of St. James is energetic, which in describing the miseries and damages of too much speaking against the truth and against charity, surpasses all comparisons. The text of his Catholic epistle would deserve to be learned by heart on this point and engraved on the walls of ecclesiastics' homes:

«Nolite multiple magistri fieri, fratres mei, scientes quoniam maius iudicìum sumitis. In multis enim offendimus omnes. Si quis in verbo non offendit, hic perfectus est vir: potest etiam brake circumducere totum corpus… Lingua modicum quidem membrum est, et magna exaltat. Ecce quantus ignis, quam magnam silvam incendit !

Et lingua ignis est, unìversitas iniquitatis. Language constituted in memberis nostris, quae maculat totum corpus, et inflammat rotam nativitatis nostrae, inflamed in gehenna. Omnis enim natura bestiarum et volucrum et serpentium et caeterorum domantur, et domita sunt a natura humana inguam autem nullus hominum tamare postet, inquietum malum, full poisonous poison. In ipsa benedicimus Deum et Patrem, et in ipsa maledicimus omnes, qui ad similitudem Dei facts sunt. Ex ipso ore procedit benedictio et maledictio. Do not oportet, my brothers, haec ita fieri…

Quis sapiens et disciplinatus inter vos? He demonstrated ex bona conversatione operationem suam in meekness sapientiae.

Quod si zelum amarum habetis, et contentiones sint in cordibus vestris; nolite Gloriari, et mendaces esse adversus veritatem.

Non est enim ista sapientia desursum descendens, sed terrena, animalis, diabolica. Ubi enim zelus et contentio, ibi inconstantia et omne opus pravum.

What autem desursum est sapientia, primum quidem pudica est, deinde pacifica, modesta, suadibilis, bonis consenteens, full mercy et fructibus bonis, non iudicans, sine simulatione. Fructus autem iustitiae in pace seminatur, facientibus pacem »

( translation )

“Become no more teachers, my brothers, knowing that you will receive greater judgment. Because we all stumble over many things. If one does not stumble over words, he is a perfect man: he can also keep his whole body under bridle. Look how big the fire is, how big the burning forest is! And it is a tongue of fire, a university of iniquity.

In our members the tongue is established, which stains the whole body, and inflames the wheel of our birth, set on fire by hell. For all species of animals, birds, serpents and other animals are tamed and are tamed by human nature; In it we bless God and the Father, and in it we curse all who are made in the likeness of God.

Blessings and curses come from his mouth. It is not necessary, my brothers, for these things to happen in this way... Who is wise and disciplined among you?

Show by your good conduct that he acts in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have a bitter zeal and there are discords in your hearts; do not boast or be a liar against the truth. Because this wisdom is not that which descends from above, but earthly, animal, diabolical. Because where there is jealousy and contention, there is inconstancy and every wrong work.

But that which is wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceful, modest, persuasive, consenting to goods, full of compassion and good fruits, non-judgmental, without pretensions. But the fruit of justice is sown in peace, by those who make peace"

What we were able to say, to listen, to reflect, led us to better appreciate the substance of the words of the Tridentine: Levia etiam delieta quae in ipsis maxima essent, effugiant: ut eorum actiones cunctis afferant venerationem (i.e.: Even the most destructive read, which were the greatest in them, escape: so that their actions bring reverence to all).

This is the sublime ideality of the Christian priesthood: to arouse edification and veneration among the people, in the light of Christ.

May it truly be so for each and all of you, my beloved Brothers and children, now and forever.”
(John XXIII – Address to the second session of the First Roman Synod – 26 January 1960)

Monday, October 9, 2023

A Prayer of Faith for the Faithful: Newman

May we be in the number of those who, with the Blessed Apostle [Peter]...employ all the powers of their minds to the service of their Lord and Saviour, who are drawn heavenward by His wonder-working grace, whose hearts are filled with His love, who reason in His fear, who seek Him in the way of His commandments, and who thereby believe on Him to the saving of their souls!

Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Sermon XIII, Implicit and Explicit Reason," preached on Saint Peter's Day, 1840 in Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A.D. 1826 and 1843, Longmans, Green and Co.: London, 1896, 277.

Happy Feast of Saint John Henry Newman!
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