Thoughts on Penance by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli July 24, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, priests, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
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Continuing with excerpts from Dom Lorenzo Scupoli’s exegesis on the Four Last Things, some thoughts on penance from St. Francis de Sales’ mentor:
Penance is the only pathway to God, once we have been separated from Him in sin. By penance I mean either penance of heart or an active penance. The one is effective, the other affective, and both must be united as the several circumstances of our condition require.
An active or effective penance is to be utilized when sickness or any voluntary affliction befalls us, or when through a penitential spirit, we discipline ourselves.
In afflictions we practice active penitence in the following situations:
1. As often as we receive crosses with the intention of receiving them as just punishments from a tender parent solicitous for our reform; or as the sentence of a merciful judge who inflicts a penalty in this life in order to spare us in the next.
2. As often as we confess our sins with true repentance, and receive the punishment with due submission. That these two interior acts may make a deep impression on our hearts they may be accompanied by the following reflections:
a. If the crimes for which we are punished were to be weighted against our sufferings, how light would the atonement be in comparison with our guilt. [Boy that's the truth. And I worry at times about how I tend to confess the same sins over and over. Thus I question my true repentance?]
b. All that we endure has been decreed in the Providence of God.
c. All our sufferings are to our ultimate advantage, as they satisfy for our offenses. [And yet how I complain and try to escape most sufferings!]
d. We suffer too that we may come to a realization of our own wickedness, for we seldom advert to this subject before we feel the hand of God.
e. If by the Sacrament of Penance we are already in the State of Grace, affliction is sent as a means of satisfying the Divine Justice for the temporal punishment due to our sins. [Do we consider that when we suffer?]
f. The punishment due to mortal sin is eternal damnation, and irrevocable banishment from the sight of God if one is not repentant. [And that makes our willingness to suffer worth everything]
g. Millions have perished who perhaps were guilty of but one mortal sin after Baptism, and many of them were surprised by death the moment it was committed. In order to apply these rules to our own case when any affliction befalls us, we ought to retire into the depths of our hearts, and reason thus with ourselves. [If you have committed a mortal sin, get to Confession as soon as humanly possible. Mortal sin is distressingly frequent in these days. Yet Confession is distressingly rare. The correspondence of these two facts points to unimaginable disaster and suffering]
“Is it not an article of faith that when I first sinned mortally after Baptism, I made myself unworthy of all but the reprobates in Hell? O my God, if such were actually my fate, how many years should I have already passed in that place of horror! If I consider my first mortal sin, what must I not have suffered in that fiery furnace to this time, and what might I not expect to suffer for all eternity!”
“It is through Thy mercy alone, O my God, that I was not in Hell from that first moment I deserved it, that I am not there at this moment, that I may still hope never to go there; and it is through Thy mercy that Thou hast dealt with me as Thou hast with those miserable wretches who now burn there for all eternity.
“Instead of those horrible unending torments, from which Thou hast graciously exempted me, Thou art pleased to send this affliction; and yet I murmur, am impatient and rebellious. What I now suffer cannot possibly last long: what I deserved is eternal!”
An active penitence is exercised by depriving ourselves of any satisfaction of body or mind, with the intention of making some atonement to the Divine Justice by bearing patiently any contempt or injury, and offering it to the Almighty in expiation of our offenses.
Mortal sin, Confession, death, judgment, repentance, salvation……this is what it is all about. We have but one life to live and one death. There is nothing more important than to die in the state of Grace. How many souls are being lost as I type this! Oh Lord, have mercy on us all!
You remember the raging feminist professor who attacked pro-life students from Thomas Aquinas College at UC-Santa Barbara a few months ago? She pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charges. So, yay for justice? Money says she gets a slap on the wrist:
The pro-abortion feminist studies professor at University of California Santa Barbara who attacked a young pro-life activist, stole and destroyed her sign, and encouraged a group of students to violence, inciting an angry mob, has plead no contest to criminal charges.
The incident, which took place on March 4, saw two pro-life students Thrin and Joan Short, lead the peaceful pro-life outreach event with 11 friends, most of whom were students from Thomas Aquinas College.
They used signs displaying images of abortion victims to begin conversations with students before a confrontation by Professor of Feminist Studies, Mireille Miller-Young turned violent. The angry professor interrupted the students’ calm interaction with the activists by grabbing a pro-life sign out of the hands of one of them, carrying the sign off through the campus flanked by her students, and then assaulting Thrin Short while trying to hide from police, who were on their way, the group said.
Police officers later found the remains of the sign, which had been destroyed. UC Santa Barbara police are completing their report to be submitted for prosecution.
Now, Miller-Young has entered a plea of nolo contendere (no contest) to the criminal charges against her, which include grand theft, vandalism, and battery. The plea means that she will be convicted on the three misdemeanor charges. A sentencing hearing has been set for late August, 2014.
This being California, and a really radically left wing college campus (one of the most thoroughly leftist in the country), and she being a radical feminist, I bet the total penalty comes down to 10 hours community service and a fine of less than $100.
Duties at college will count for community service, so the change in her life will be minimal.
The university has been very defensive and has imposed no known sanction against the professor (of a made up subject). University officials have, for the most part, blamed the pro-lifers for the incident.
Peace and love, after all. Until you get in our f—in’ way…….
Texas Governor Rick Perry gave an interview last night in which he outlined some truly calamitous results from absolutely unconstrained illegal immigration over the southern border of the United States. Perry claimed some 3000 murders and 8000 sexual assaults were directly attributable to illegal immigrants – and just since 2008! He also said 203,000 immigrants over that period had been jailed for one crime or another:
This is an absolute catastrophe on so many levels. Catastrophic for the victims, for the moral integrity of the state and nation, and even catastrophic for the perpetrators, who perhaps would not have found themselves in the circumstances to commit such crimes had they remain at home. I don’t know how these figures were arrived at, or how accurate they are (or what they leave out – like how many people have been maimed for life due to the drunken driving that is epidemic among many Hispanic immigrants), but they point to just one “small” problem area with unconstrained immigration.
A local priest related a tale during a sermon some time back. It seemed a young Mexican man had wanted to come to the US. He had even prayed to the Blessed Virgin to help him come here. He tried this for months, but still he was unable to immigrate. Then he tried praying to the demon “santa muerte,” and, what do you know, he made it to the US! But then everything went horribly wrong. He fell into gangs and drugs, committed many terrible crimes, and was sentenced to life in prison – a life ruined and a huge burden on this nation’s taxpayers. He confessed to the priest that he did not know why things had gone so wrong. The priest told him it was not God’s Will that he come to the US, that the Blessed Virgin had been protecting him by keeping him in Mexico, and that the demon lured him here and to ultimate destruction.
How many similar tales are there?!? Perhaps not involving santa muerte, but who knows, it’s very popular in Mexico and Central America.
There is a good post here discussing a proper, non-ideological and unbiased (that is, not self-serving) Catholic approach to immigration, as outlined by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Yes, there is a Christian duty to care for the less fortunate in our midst and even welcome strangers in certain regards, but a nation has a primary duty to safeguard its own citizens, promote the greater good, preserve morals, and prevent fractious spirits or those who refuse to assimilate the nation’s values into its midst. There is also a reasonable limit – a nation does not have to permit itself to be overrun by huge numbers of immigrants in a short period of time, because doing so would pose a threat to the nation’s unity and the security and well-being of the existing citizenry. Reasonable laws can be set, and no, not everyone has a “right” to come to this nation or any other.
All these things are eminently logical and clearly discernible from the natural law and human reason. This ain’t rocket science. And yet such reasonable and sensical policies seem utterly missing from the current debate, and, it must sadly be said, from the leadership (ahem) we’ve seen from our bishops on this matter. Self-serving arguments are rarely convincing, but in this case it is sad to see self-interest cause reason and even what could be considered by many the greatest good, of all involved (citizen and non-citizen alike), to be cast aside. It is also most dismaying to see the leadership of the Church in this country using the manipulative language and blatant emotionalism of the Left in this debate. All of this is very far from the classical or traditional Catholic approach.
Build a fence.
Build a minefield. Keep heavy patrols. Use airborne sensors. Whatever it takes. Israel has managed to cut illegal crossings along its own long border by 99% through fences and patrols. There is no reason this nation cannot do the same. Then we can talk about what to do with those here. Then we can talk about revising the broken immigration system. Then we can set reasonable limits and argue about them like mad, because reasonable people can disagree on such things. But the present disastrous and immoral situation must end, before any other step can be taken.
And there is nothing injurious to Faith and Morals in saying so, in spite of all the rhetoric you hear to the contrary.
1914: The end of Western Civilization July 24, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, disaster, episcopate, General Catholic, history, horror, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society.
Rorate has linked to a very interesting video from CNS (I’m not sure what has happened, CNS now trots out some very good, even very tradition-friendly material, while CNA has suddenly swung hard left – ultra-ultramontanism?) regarding the effect WWI had on Europe. The claim made by the video by several historians is that WWI ended Western Civilization, and that we have been living in a sort of hedonistic, strange twilight denouement ever since. It’s not a claim I disagree with much.
This got me thinking though…..when did the “beginning of the end occur?” 1789? 1776? Or perhaps, was it 1517? Aye……..you could make a pretty powerful argument that what occurred starting in 1914 was a very predictable result of what occurred in 1517. For protestantism fed rationalism, which fed hostility to religion, and then on to the endarkenment, radical new forms of government sequestering Christianity to an increasingly secondary status, and on and on through the slow decay of decades until finally, inexorably, Europe arrived at 1914. It is a certainty Europe has never recovered from the disasters of the First World War, and probably never will – at least not in its present construction. Europe is one of many entities in the world that appears to desire final death and dissolution (witness the catastrophically low birth rates), to be replaced by something else, and some indeterminate point in the future.
Enough harangues from me, the video, which perhaps m any of you have already seen:
Several points that cross my mind:
- I think Rorate is right that the most significant remaining element of 2500 year old Western Civilization is the TLM, and with the TLM, complete re-birth is possible. There are some other elements remaining, as well, but primarily only observed by a limited few, often regarded as cranks or dismissed as hopelessly out of date. It is interesting to consider whether the death wish towards the TLM that overtook many very influential mid-century Church leaders was part of this general rejection of all things European, Western, traditional, etc. Think also on the cult of PC and the ludicrously exaggerated consideration expressed by Westerners towards “exotic” others – primitive jungle tribes have as valuable a “culture” as the West, or islam as a religion of “peace” equal to the Church, etc.
- It would not necessarily be the greatest argument, but one could argue that it was the Central Powers in WWI who were the main defenders of traditional European culture, rather than the Entente. Austria-Hungary was the most visibly Catholic government in Europe in 1914. All the Central Powers were monarchies. The war, in the minds of the Entente, came down to a struggle between stuffy, hidebound, reactionary monarchies and the new, liberal, “enlightened” (there’s that term, a coup of PR by the philosophes) democracies. The Central Powers of course saw the opposite – they saw themselves as the defenders of traditional European government, societal order, etc., and France and Britain as dangerous, radical nations determined to destroy European civilization. As the war dragged on, Kaiser Wilhelm II would fantasize about having all the prime ministers and other leaders of the Entente powers come and bend the knee before His Imperial Majesty, to prove the ultimate superiority of monarchism and traditional European values. Now, this argument has several fallacies – there was probably no more traditional or authoritarian country in Europe in 1914 than Russia, and she was an Entente power, and there were ardent Catholics fighting for every country involved – but it’s interesting to consider. From the standpoint of lovers of the Church and Western Civilization, there were no real “good guys” in WWI. Everyone lost.
- A final consideration is the fact that there is always something worse that can happen, and leftists/progressives/liberals have a knack for bringing that worse thing about. WWI was a “triumph for democracy” in the victorious nations (it had to be something great, instead of what it was, the ultimate futile and pointless European war), but that “triumph” unleashed the hell of WWII. The Entente Powers really did want to crush profound aspects of European culture and reshape the world according to their own liberal image. That was basically the main argument for the US entering the war – to “make the world safe for democracy.” So all the monarchies of the Central Powers were deliberately crushed, and the same rhetoric and ideals fueled the Russian Revolution. But the governments that rose from the ashes of WWI in Central Europe were either pathetically weak or even more monstrous constructs. Today, progressives seem determined to see Christianity reduced to irrelevance, but what will come in Christianity’s train? Something far worse, we can be assured.
But that makes no difference to us. We shall always remain, as we know that Jesus Christ is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. He did not promise us worldly victory or power. He just promised that if we take up our cross and follow Him, we will have eternal life.
And that, is the point of it all.
Non sequitur time killer – “Le Mans” (1971 film) July 23, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, foolishness, fun, history, silliness, Society, technology.
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I stumbled across the 1971 Steve McQueen vehicle (heh) Le Mans, a movie about the famed 24 hour race held in France every June. Steve McQueen, like his pal Jim Garner, were both big race fans and apparently pretty accomplished drivers (God rest both their souls). Le Mans isn’t much of a movie, but it has very little that is objectionable in it, but it does have a whole whooooole bunch of great car pr0n in it. If you are a car buff like me, especially that “golden age” before computers and electronic fuel injection and all that, you should appreciate this movie. There are some amazing visuals that would be quite a technical achievement even today, but today no one would actually bother to film real cars from amazing angles, putting you in the driving seat, they’d do it all with fake looking CGI.
Some amazing hardware in this film. Porsche 917s, of course, but also Ferrari 512LMs, Corvettes, many Porsche 911s (and even 914s……this was, after all the 70s!), and assorted others. Just hearing those engines scream is music to the ears of many.
There is one brief moment of (absolutely non-nude) immodesty from one of the race-watchers fairly early on. I did not catch any swearing – there is very little dialogue at all. McQueen, for whom this movie was a very personal effort, lets the machines speak for themselves. There is some sappy 70s melodrama, but the beauty of Youtube is you can just skip right past and get back to the thundering machines.
Even though it’s not a great movie, it does build up some nice tension. No, there is nothing virtuous in watching this, but if you find yourself needing a moment to decompress, and you like fast cars/auto racing, this could be fun for you.
I’m not sure how much if any footage was actually shot at the 1971 Le Mans. If it was all just for the film, the drivers went pretty far out pushing the machines for realism. As far as I know, these are real Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512s going at it, more or less full tilt. I have to think quite a bit of the footage was “real.”
I haven’t visited Dom Lorenzo Scupoli in some time. He has some excellent meditations on the Four Last Ends. This one is on the advantages gained by souls who contemplate their own death on a regular basis. I found this very good, I pray you do, too!
1. Contemplation of death enables us to judge properly and prevents our being imposed upon in all affairs. With nothing we came into this world, and with nothing shall we leave it. Why then should we consume our very lives in the accumulation of riches?
No one is to accompany us out of this world and to our final judgment; why then are we so fond of creatures?
The stench and corruption of the grave in which the pampered body is the prey of the lowest vermin shows us the folly of carnal pleasures…..
2. ……..It is our best instructor through life, laying down but one simple rule, which is the direction of all our acts to one last end. This consideration drives away all the petty troubles which punctuate this life with unfailing regularity; it steadies us on the course and sustains us on the journey.
3. It teaches us to know ourselves, one of the essential points of true wisdom.
4. It teaches us to despise all that this world can offer, and is the solace of all true servants of God.
5. It is like ice, and helps to chill and deaden the fire of concupiscence; it is a bridle which curbs our sensual appetites.
6. It is a continual source of humiliation, a specific remedy against pride and vanity.
7. It is an excellent preservative against sin. “In all thy works be mindful of thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”(Eccl VII:40).
8. It brings exasperated minds back to peace and reconciliation. Whoever considers seriously that a certain and unavoidable death will one day bring him before the Judge Who shows no mercy but to those who show mercy to others, he will easily be induced to forgive.
9. It is an antidote against the pleasures and vanities of the world…..
10. It teaches us a provident economy with regard to our salvation, by setting before our eyes the transitory character of this life, and the necessity of laying up a treasure of good works while it is in our power to do so.
11. It induces us to embrace penances with a cheerful spirit.
12. It encourages us to persevere in the way of penance with unshakable firmness.
We live in a culture that is absolutely terrified of growing old, being old, etc. 65 year olds want to be like 28 year olds, wearing skinny jeans and partying. I think much of this is due to a great, latent fear of death, a fear so great many people have quite willingly bought into the grave error of universal salvation. So now Catholic funereal Masses are more instant canonizations than they are Requiems imploring prayers for the departed souls. How many souls languish in Purgatory as a result?
If they are that lucky. Given the omnipresence of grave sin, Purgatory might not be nearly so populated as it once was. I pray I’m wrong. But there is much to be said for contemplating death, the extinguishing of this life, and our judgment before the all-powerful Lord. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of Almighty God.” Indeed, it is. And we would be very well to contemplate all the four last things, to better prepare ourselves for the end that inevitably awaits all of us.
A far better thing it is to know Jesus
After 1300 years, Islam has not been driven from Europe July 23, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Christendom, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, persecution, sadness, Saints, scandals, secularism, Society, Tradition.
I titled the post in the somewhat provocative way that I did, in light of two recent and very good posts by Fr. Carota on the role Saints played in helping drive the scourge of islam – for that is how it was always seen by Catholics everywhere, at least until very recently – from Europe. Fr. Carota discusses Saint Lawrence Brindisi and the Crusade against islam in Hungary at the beginning of the 17th century in this post. Some excerpts of the role that great Saint played in helping stem the muslim tide in Hungary in 1601:
30 years later, [30 years after the magnificent victory won at Lepanto, in which Our Lady of Victory miraculously led Catholic forces to victory over a much larger Turkish fleet, and which was revealed via a prophecy to Pope St. Pius V hundreds of miles away] Pope Clement VIII asked St. Lawrence of Brindisi, a Capuchin friar, to go to Germany to organize their princes into a crusade against the muslim attacks going on in Hungry. He was very successful and organized the crucial resistance needed to save Europe….[Brief mention of protestant treachery, common in all the later wars against islam, intervenes, I exclude. Sadly, there was also occasional Catholic treachery, as with the case of Louis XVI allying with the Turks against the Holy Roman Empire in 1683]
…..The Battle of Stuhlweissenburg Hungry took place on October 11, 1601. St. Lawrence led the battle on a horse carrying a large cross in front of the troops. Again on October 14th of that same month, these Catholic forces, with St. Lawrence leading, had to fight the muslims in another battle and won.
St. Lawrence, when leading the troops in front into battle, was miraculously saved from all injury and claimed that all the success came from God and Mary. The Catholic troops, numbering 18,000 men, way out numbered by 80,000 muslims. The Turks, after suffering the loss of 30,000 men, withdrew their army behind the Danube. [The muslims dominated the Balkans and Greece for over 3 centuries, from the late 1400s until the mid 1800s]
Whenever the crusades were led by holy people and all those envolved prayed and fasted, they had success. Whenever they were unjust or doing evil sins, they lost.
Great point. Christianity is presently being mauled by islam on so many fronts because the Church is so weak, lacking in piety, and divided right now.
Fr. Carota discusses, very briefly, a long arc of Crusades against islam in Europe from 1456 to the 1700s in this post. He notes how St. Juan de Capistrano led the Crusade against islam in 1456, helping keep the Ottomans out of much of modern Serbia and Hungary through much of the 15th century. Some great art accompanies, which I cheerfully (but gratefully) rip off. Father notes that the “final defeat” of the muslims in Europe did not occur until the Battle of Peterwardin Vojvodina in 1716. This battle did recover Belgrade, but it left much of southeastern Europe in muslim hands.
But good Father Carota, who I respect immensely and who made my week a few days ago (private), misses out on long struggles to overcome Ottoman rule in Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, much of modern Romania, and other locales throughout much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Greece, cradle of so much of Western Civilization, did not become independent – in part -until 1832, and did not recover Macedonia until 1913! In fact, the Balkan wars of 1913 were the culmination of nearly two centuries of efforts by Christians to overthrow muslim rule in southeastern Europe.
However, until this very day, islam still occupies a toehold in southeastern Europe in what is called Eastern Thrace and what was the most glorious city in Christendom for over a millenium (and the bulwark against the encroaching muslim), Constantinople. Greece seized much of East Thrace after WWI, but lost the territory in fighting against the new nation of Turkey.
Ever since the first wild eyed Mohammadans crossed the Strait of Gilbratar and conquered Spain, Islam has been in Europe. Note that many radical muslims still lament, and get extremely angry, whenever they think of the Crusader States in the Holy Land that existed from ~1096-1291. That was an intolerable affront to islam and “proof” of Christian militancy, even if all those lands were Christian for centuries before they were converted by islam’s usual method – the sword. In terms of overall victimhood, since that is such a popular way of viewing things these days, Christians have borne far more attacks, invasions, raids, piracy, and general cruelty from islam than the reverse – by a huge margin.
But today, for the first time ever, Europe is very willingly and happily allowing tens of millions of muslims into the heart of Europe as immigrants. This is being done because Europeans have so contracepted and aborted themselves into near sterility that there aren’t enough Europeans to keep the economies of those states going, absent mass scale immigration from the south. Muammar Gaddafi himself said that in 50 years, islam wouldn’t need to invade or attack Europe, Europe would be predominately muslim! That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. In 50 years, if present trends hold, Europe will be between 35-40% muslim. But of course, these populations are not evenly distributed, and even now, there are places in France, Britain, Germany, and other nations where western women dare not go without wearing the hijab. One might argue that substantial portions of these nations are muslim already.
What will happen when Europe, the heart of Christianity, is nearly half muslim? What is being done to strengthen the Church for this ultimate challenge? Who will man the ramparts? Who will be there to preach Jesus Christ to all these millions of lost souls?
Lord, send us new Saints in the mold of the ones of old! Your Church faces threats unlike any in history! Please help us! Send us new Saint Lawrence Brindisi’s, new Saint Juan Capistrans, to help us! Have mercy on us all! May we become those Saints!
So said Fr. Ray Blake on his blog a few days ago, and given the ongoing pogroms against Christians throughout the Mideast, I don’t think this claim was an exercise in hyperbole. Fr. Blake also asks whether world leaders will act any more effectively in this new holocaust than they did during WWII.
Rorate Caeli has done a thorough job of bringing the plight of Christians in the Mideast, and in particular Iraq, to the attention of many faithful Catholics. We are witnessing an event not seen since WWII and its aftermath, at least, the deliberate and premeditated genocide of an entire people from a large area of the world. The crazed islamists in Iraq and Syria have driven virtually all Christians from the area under their control. In Mosul, which has been a seat of Catholicism for 1800 years or more, ALL Christians – save perhaps a literal handful hiding underground – have been driven from the city by the new demonic “caliphate.” And as Rorate has noted, until today, when Le Figaro in France finally broke the silence, the world’s media has indicated by the absolute paucity of coverage that they couldn’t care less about this ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. Because Christians don’t count, apparently, and have no rights or dignity.
Rorate has also noted, and I will second the call, that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has asked all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate the First Friday for August (Aug 1) to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering direly in Iraq, Syria, and the entire Levant. The Carmelites will have First Friday as usual August 1, I can think of no better way to participate in this great work of spiritual mercy than by spending a good bit of time during the All Night Adoration at the Carmel. The note from the Fraternity, calling souls to action:
August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates. It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of the Church: “Peter therefore was kept in Prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5)
This feast of our Patron should be an invitation to the faithful to join us in Holy Hours and other fitting prayers to beg the Most Holy Trinity that these members of the Mystical Body may persevere in the faith, and that, like St. Peter, they may be delivered from this terrible persecution. May such a day serve as a reminder to us of the stark contrast that stands between our days of vacation and ease, and their daily struggle for survival as they are killed or exiled from their homes.
I will try to provide more reminders as August 1 draws near. St. Peter in Chains is certainly a most apropos Feast for the current climate facing the Church.
I must take this opportunity one more time to reiterate my strong concerns over the “interfaith dialogue” many in the hierarchy, down to a fair number of priests and laity, constantly trumpet with regard to islam. As the Lebanese woman in the video below notes, certainly there are many peaceful muslims, but the problem is, we far too rarely hear from them, nor do they ever take any observable action to oppose the very large number of radical jihadists. If even 10% of muslims are radical/jihadists, that’s over 100 million radicals. That large a group can not only do a great deal of damage, they can alter the course of civilization, which is just what they’re doing. Sitting blithely back singing kumbayah, holding hands, and allowing Mahomet to be preached from the pulpit of Catholic churches will do nothing to stem radicalism and in fact only encourage them further.
Centuries of experience have demonstrated that islam respects only one thing: strength. They don’t respect dialogue, they don’t respect progressivist guitar strumming dreams of peace (in fact, they loathe nothing more about the West than our decadent progressives), they don’t care about your dreams of peace – they feel a “divine” command to spread their religion by the sword and that is what they’ll do. To the extent that useful idiots and fellow travelers within the Church assist islam by enervating the faithful, spreading confusion regarding the longtime approach the Church took to muslims, and encouraging foolish worldly indifferentist ecumenism, they only serve to aid the radicals in the Mideast, Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. And Catholics in Iraq, Syria, and other places are currently paying a large part of the price for decades of totally unrealistic, ideologically blind “dialogue.”
You may have seen the exchange below, but it is worth sharing:
I said yesterday there were many progressives in the US who would rather wear a burqa that acknowledge Jesus Christ. I wonder how many there are who claim to be Catholic who are the same way?
Are you an Ultramontanist? July 22, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, the return, Tradition.
The good Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam has a post asking a most pertinent question in the present environment in the Church – are you an ultramontanist? This does not mean you accept the Dogma of papal infallibility. That is not what the ultramontanism run amok in the present context means. I will let Boniface explain:
There is a lot of talk these days about a kind of pervasive Ultramontanism in the Neo-Catholic world; not Ultramontanism in the classical sense, for understood classically, Ultramontanism, like the term “Integralism“, was just a phrase denoting Catholicism affirming the infallibility of the pope.In current parlance, we are not talking about fidelity to the Holy Father, but rather a kind of crass, undiscriminating Ultramontanism that is best characterized by the embarrassing spectacle of Neo-Catholic apologists tripping all over themselves to affirm every single prudential decision of the pope as not only good, but the best possible decision. In the judgment of the modern Ultramontanists, every utterance of the pope, no matter how banal or off the cuff, is treated as a profound insight; every administrative act or symbolic gesture he makes are examples of brilliant leadership; every prudential judgment and non-authoritative teaching treated as infallible truth. [thus the incredible claims that some would accept a papal claim that black is actually white, or 2+2=5]No matter what they might say, there is a very easy test to see if the person you are talking with actually subscribes to the kind of crass Ultramontanism I have described above. Ask them to:First, cite one prudential action of the pope which you disagree with. [Kissing the koran]Second, cite one action or statement of the pope that you agree with, though you admit that good Catholics can be in disagreement about. [Pope Benedict's quoting of the Emperor Michael II Paleologos against the cruelties of islam was actually an act of charity, not a controversial interfaith blunder. But you can believe it was a blunder if you want. Heretic.]If you or your interlocutor cannot do either of these two things, they are Ultramontanists, no matter what they might say to the contrary.
I think it’s a pretty good test. And I feel very strongly that unchecked ultra-ultramontanism is seriously unbalancing the Church. But it is a favorite pastime of many prominent American Catholics, including most of the top Catholic bloggers. The danger we have seen is when obedience and fealty to the papacy as an institution and understanding of the narrow limits of papal infallibility morphs into ultra-ultramontanism, we tend to see very wild swings in emphasis, and even belief and practice, from one papacy to the next. And that only exacerbates the already existing crisis in the Church, spreads confusion and scandal, and leads more souls to fall away – or at least increases the risk of some falling away.
And the even larger problem is that, in spite of all the canonizations, recent popes have taken a number of prudential actions, and even some actions or more import than mere prudence, that are very difficult to reconcile with Tradition and in fact represent great novelties in the life of the Church. Those novelties have tended entirely in one direction, towards progressivism/modernism/indifferentism. And thus we have the crisis. So it is not a far reach to say that ultra-ultramontanism is playing a big role in precipitating the crisis in the Faith, and preventing effective action to promote the timeless Truth Christ has revealed through His Church in opposition to the crisis.
And then we have TFG. That’s the problem taken to a whole different level.
UPDATE: There is also a reverse corollary, regarding sede vacantism. One could just sort of flip the questions around.
I saw on VideoSancto that some months ago, Fr. Cassian Folsom OSB of the Benedictines of Norcia gave a retreat at The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, MA. Now, these are the Slaves that are in full regular canonical unity and whose bishop has offered Mass at their chapel (TLM only, ever) several times. But, they are, of course, descended from Fr. Leonard Feeney’s group – in fact, they are one of several offshoots of Feeney’s original group. While there are branches of the original St. Benedict Center who are either still under some ecclesiastical penalty or who have not fully regularized, this group is not one of those. In fact, the Slaves of the ‘official’ St. Benedict Center take part regularly in diocesan events like the 40 Days of Life.
I will post two of the videos from that series of talks at the bottom of the post. But I think it needs to be noted that Fr. Folsom is not a traddy. He’s certainly orthodox, his order is sort of walking the line the Franciscans of the Immaculate trod, having both the Novus Ordo very reverently in Latin, but also the TLM with some regularity (goodness, I pray they are small enough to avoid attention for the duration of this pontificate). But I don’t think Fr. Folsom is an “extremist” on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus or any other matter. He’s a good, orthodox, traditional leaning priest, and his order is the same.
So I take it as kind of an endorsement of the Slaves that Fr. Folsom would preach a retreat there. Under different circumstances, I would not have any surprise at this, but I have noted that many traditional Catholics most definitely retain an animus against this order, even though it has been fully regularized. There seems to be an assumption that if there was some error in the past, it somehow must remain. I have been surprised – shocked might be the better term – at how strongly opinions run against what seem to me very good nuns, brothers, and priests. This is an order that throughout the crisis has never once offered the Novus Ordo. But that does not appear to win them much support. I have seen that even though they do a great deal of good work, a good number of traditional priests, within the Fraternity and elsewhere, strongly counsel young men and women to avoid this order. I really don’t know why that is.
Now, I will admit to some bias. I have had the pleasure of meeting several of the nuns of this order and I like them a great deal. I have never heard any error or extravagant opinion pass their lips. I even tried deliberately to pry on the matter of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, and while they certainly support this Dogma, there was a recognition of the broader understanding of this Dogma that most solid traditionalists hold (baptism by blood and desire). I cannot say I was even close to exhaustive in examining this matter, but there was certainly no obvious error.
So what gives? There are so few traditional orders for women, and yet this one is frequently treated like a pariah. Is there some real evidence of remaining error, or is it just lingering suspicion, or? And if the latter, how is that charitable?
I would appreciate some input on the questions as posed. I do not want a re-hashing of the whole Feeney affair, nor do I want blanket statements that “they’re just bad,” or things to that effect. How are they bad? What do they believe that is wrong? Etc.
I’m sure you guys will help me out, and some – some – heat in the comments will be tolerated so long as it remains on topic.
Video on St. John Cassian and prayer:
Video on Lectio Divina: