We need a break – here is a meditation on something profoundly positive December 12, 2013Posted by tantamergo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, priests, reading, sanctity, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
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It’s been a week of heavy news. For a break, here is a meditation from Fr. Nicholas Gihr’s The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained on God’s infinite Mercy. A very appropriate topic in this day, no, given the recent emphasis given to mercy? This exposition, however, might sound a bit different from some of the sentimental paeans to mercy we’ve heard of late:
The happiness of heaven is assuredly with truth called a crown of justice, inasmuch as it is granted as a reward for labor and as a price of victory in combat; yet deep down and at the bottom of all, it is and remains a crown of mercy, that is, the final and greatest of all graces, the highest of all God’s gifts. Yes, in heaven the Lord crowns His own with grace and mercy (Ps. 102, 4). Under many aspects the rendering of creatures eternally happy is a work of divine mercy…..
……If we consider the sum and succession of all the graces from the first to the last including the grace of final perseverance , must we not gratefully acknowledge, that our life is adorned with a rich wreath of divine mercies? Yes, our rescue from eternal perdition is a free and great gift of God’s merciful goodness and predilection: His mercy goes before us (Ps. 58, ii ), accompanies us (Ps. 22, 25), and follows us all the days of our life (Ps. 22, 6). Out of mercy God sent us His Son as a Redeemer; out of mercy He has promised us life eternal; out of mercy He has rescued us from the depths of a life of sin incurred through our own fault, and placed us in the kingdom of His light; out of mercy He has preserved us from innumerable sins and pardoned those committed “seventy times seven times”; out of mercy He knocks at our hearts, admonishes and warns us, directs our destiny in such a manner and so grants us a chain of powerful graces, as to enable us to remain faithful until death and bear off the crown of life. “The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed”……But the action must correspond with the desire. If we wish for the glory of the saints, we must share their labors, sufferings and combats. Through many tribulations only can we enter with all the saints into the joy of the Lord. We should, moreover, remember this, when we beg for “some part and fellow- ship” with the Apostles and Martyrs; for if with them we suffer and die for Christ, with them also shall we be glorified.
It’s a long but great book. I don’t know about you, but I surely appreciate Fr. Gihr’s words right now, and the Truth he conveys.
Not doing anything tonight? December 12, 2013Posted by tantamergo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, North Deanery, Our Lady, Tradition, Virtue.
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If you don’t have any pressing plans tonight, and want to partake of some good traditional Liturgy AND publicly witness to our Faith, you might consider assisting at the 6:30p Mass at Mater Dei in Irving and participating in the Procession in honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe tonight. Our Lady of Guadalupe is, of course, the patroness of the Americas. I understand there will be a mariachi band after. We collectively missed the First Friday devotion at the Carmel this month due to the ice storm, so maybe this could be an alternative for some prayer, witness, and fellowship?
Just a thought for the locals.
Another member of the G-8 cardinals: “Church has never been against….homosexuality” December 11, 2013Posted by tantamergo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, pr stunts, sadness, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, the return.
Tancred has really done some good work today, digging up some very relevant info for all Catholics to consider and pray about. The latest involves the Indian Supreme Court vacating a lower court judgment making homosexual acts legal in India. The court’s decision means homosexual acts remain illegal, as they have been throughout the world for hundreds of years, until recently. This decision should be seen by Catholics as something of a small victory.
But, a member of the group of 8 “super” cardinals advising Pope Francis, a Cardinal Gracias, was not pleased. According to Asianews and the German site Katholisches, the cardinal claimed the following regarding this decision:
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai took a position: “No to gay marriage, but the Christian community is against any form of discrimination. Homosexuals have the same dignity as any other person….. “ [Does a law making homosexual acts illegal discriminate against homosexuals? Are homosexuals defined solely by their acts, and, apparently, completely unable to contain themselves when it comes to sodomy? Because that is the implication the cardinal is drawing here - homosexuals are the same as these illegal acts.]
….Cardinal Gracias told Asianews that “the Catholic Church has never been against the decriminalization of homosexuality, [What? I can assure it, it most definitely has. Cardinal Gracias needs to crack a book sometime] because we have never considered homosexuals as criminals.”…… [he is clearly conflating the act, with the person. The Church could support a law against adultery, without "discriminating" against adulterers. In fact, the Church most certainly HAS endorsed such laws. Just as the Church has endorsed many civil laws against all kinds of immoral acts in its history. This is just ludicrous.]
…..Cardinal Garcia emphasized to Asianews: “As Christians, we express our full respect of homosexuals. [Well, in a sense, yes, but sin remains sin, no?] The Catholic Church opposes the legalization of gay marriage, but teaches that homosexuals have the same dignity as anyone else and condemns all forms of unjust discrimination, persecution or abuse.” [It is not against an addict's human dignity to make intemperance in drink and drug a sin, or intoxication a criminal act. It is not against a fornicator's dignity to make fornication a sin, or to make it a criminal act. This is just ludicrous. Cardinal Gracias/Garcias, whatever it is, seems highly confused on the Church's moral law and what constitutes human dignity.]
Boy, do we need to pray. No, if someone wants to ask, I’m not calling the Cardinal nor anyone else a material heretic, I’m just saying they need a lot of prayers and conversion. Lord, have mercy on us. That now makes 4 of the 8 “super cardinals” who have made very troubling statements in the past few months.
Bishop Tobin needs some prayers December 11, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Basics, Christendom, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Holy suffering, persecution, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society, the return, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
I have prayed, for a long time, that here in this Diocese of Dallas, we would find our good Bishop Kevin Farrell regularly leading prayer vigils, exorcisms, and the like outside local abortion mills – at least much more frequently than once a year. Now would be a great time, given the pressure the mills are currently under thanks to recent laws passed in the legislature. In other Dioceses, such as Rockford, Ill, the bishops have taken the lead in helping extirpate from their dioceses any presence of abortion mills. In Rockford, former Bishop Thomas Doran led numerous prayer vigils outside abortion mills and greatly encouraged his priests to do the same. Very frequently, the steadily falling number of mills found themselves surrounded by priests and seminarians praying the Rosary, performing exorcisms, spraying the grounds with Holy Water, burying blessed medals, etc. This concerted spiritual warfare led to the shutdown of several mills, including a very notorious one.
Apparently, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI leads similar pro-life efforts outside abortion mills. A recent article discusses that fact in an unfortunately dismissive fashion, but then goes on to discuss Tobin’s views on some other matters (I add emphasis and comments):
A gusty, wet autumn afternoon found Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Rhode Island joining a prayer vigil outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. Two dozen abortion protesters, some holding “Respect Life” umbrellas, huddled in a semicircle around the bishop as he fingered his rosary beads and led them in prayer. [that "fingering," that's a little shot, no?]
“Our commitment to human life is important,” he told them, as gas trucks rumbled by on Point Street. “Some have said that this commitment can be an obsession. If it’s an obsession to protect unborn life, then it’s a very important obsession.”
With his choice of words, Tobin seemed to be taking a direct swipe at Pope Francis, who sent tremors through the Roman Catholic Church in September when he said church leaders are too “obsessed” with abortion and other divisive social issues such as gay marriage.
On Sunday, Tobin publicly disagreed with Francis again. While the pope said that former president Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who died last week, will “inspire generations,” Tobin issued a statement declaring that appreciation of Mandela’s admirable qualities should be tempered by his “shameful” promotion of abortion in his country……
….The week before the popular new pontiff’s comments on abortion, Tobin told his diocesan newspaper that he was “a little disappointed in Pope Francis” for not having said much about abortion, and that “many people have noticed.” Francis’s decision to deemphasize divisive social issues, despite recriminations from critics, was seen as a slap at conservative US bishops like Tobin. [Well, people "see" whatever they want. I don't know if it was a "slap," but I think it was a very intentional signal.]
“It’s one thing for him to reach out and embrace and kiss little children,” Tobin told the newspaper. “It would also be wonderful if in a spiritual way he would reach out and embrace and kiss unborn children.”….
…..“Unfortunately, [Tobin] came off more as a political leader of the right than a spiritual leader for everybody,” said Patrick Kennedy, who now lives in New Jersey and is an active participant in his parish. [That's a wicked calumny, and you are one to talk, you who makes politics your living. It is an unjustifiable slur to call bishops, priests, or whomever who promote the Church's constant, coherent moral doctrine "tools of the right." “I love hearing our new Holy Father. I believe it marks a new day for Catholics who want to be a part of the church and not feel alienated . . . and castigated for being sinners.” [This is what really concerns me. I have seen such comments dozens of times. Pope Francis' approach may bring millions of people to Mass. He may increase donations. He may lead a seeming revival. But if all the people attracted to the Church - for which there is no evidence, yet - do so on the basis of rejecting what the Church believes, has anything really been gained? And, while the media has surely created a left-friendly caricature of Pope Francis, is that caricature completely detached from reality? Good Lord, Time Magazine, in their article previewing their Man of the Year selection (Pope Francis won), claimed that Pope Francis was popular for REJECTING CHURCH DOGMA. This bit of insanity was quickly removed, but we can see where the media is taking Pope Francis, turning him into a veritable left-wing anti-pope. But was this not rather predictable in advance, that the media would take what we pray are careless statements and run with them? I think it was. So, were they truly careless statements, then?]
Nor has the bishop endeared himself to gays, says state Representative Frank G. Ferri of Warwick, an openly gay lawmaker who helped lead the fight for same-sex marriage.
“His tone is not very Christian-like [says the non-Christian soul lost in terrible sins!] — he says that gay people are indecent, immoral, and going to hell,” [WRONG. Full stop. He never said they were going to hell. But this agendized person is twisting and adding to Tobin's words to create a caricature of him as a hateful monster. Just as the media twists and adds to Pope Francis' words. Unfortunately, in all this melee, the message, the Truth, is being utterly lost. The truth is that Bishop Tobin has profound concern for souls, to the extent that he's willing to suffer in order to try to convert them.] Ferri said. “Then Pope Francis comes along and expresses a more tolerant view. Bishop Tobin doesn’t realize what his negative tone can lead to. The church still has a lot of influence in Rhode Island.”
Tobin responded in an interview that “we reject any unjust discrimination against people who are homosexual . . . but at the same time we’ve been very clear that homosexual acts are beyond God’s plan and therefore sinful and immoral.” [Clear, concise, Catholic Truth. Very good.]
This is so very painful. Before I say anything else, I’m sure Bishop Tobin has his faults. I’m sure he is very imperfect as a bishop. But observing him for some time, he is certainly one of the best we have right now. That may not be saying a great deal, but it’s something.
I left out some other quotes from the article. What is occurring is a nightmare. Katholycs are using Pope Francis’ words, or at least the media’s obviously twisted interpretation of them, to attack an orthodox bishop. Pope Francis’ words are being used like weapons to advance the agendas of very lost souls, souls who have chosen mammon over God. This is incredibly troubling. Even if a whole bunch of people come back to or into the Church, what will they bring with them? Will they bring hearts open to conversion and a willingness to change behaviors in order to be pleasing to God, or will they bring with them insurmountable pride and an assurance that everything they do, no matter how sinful, is right and pleasing in the eyes of God?
The message I have seen conveyed by dozens of quotes from those ostensibly enthralled with Pope Francis is that they see in him a vindication of their worldliness, errors, and sinfulness. 50 years of experience, especially the period ~1965-80, shows that no matter how much the Church is presented to the world as being “with it,” of shucking all that mean ‘ol judging Dogma, that image won’t attract souls. In fact, many currently in the Church will get the message that the Church is completely dispensable. They can do without it, after all, who are we to judge?
Before I finish, we have to remember, the Church is not a weather vane, following the Pope whichever way he blows. Nothing has changed. The Truth remains the Truth. We are really probably best off just trying to ignore all this mess, but that can be very difficult. Certainly, we cannot allow our concerns to affect our charity and our prayer life. In fact, our prayer life should be redoubled, as should our efforts at mortification. I have made a special effort to pray special Novenas and Rosary intentions for Pope Francis and the Church. That is really our best response.
You might say a prayer or two for Bishop Thomas Tobin and those like him (Paprocki, Cordileone, Vasa, Chaput, Olmstead, Finn, Conley, etc). They are sure to find their attempts to defend the evangelize the Faith much more difficult.
What is “Tradition,” anyway? December 11, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Liturgy, Papa, secularism, Tradition.
I use the word Tradition – almost always capitalized – a great deal. But some may not be entirely clear what is meant by that, or why it’s capitalized.
Tradition – as opposed to traditions – does not consist of customs inherited from the past and preserved out of loyalty to the past even where there is not a clear reason for them.
No, Tradition is defined as the Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Magisterium down through the centuries. This deposit has been given to us by Divine Revelation, that is to say, the real and actual Word of God entrusted to the Apostles and transmitted unfailingly by their successors. The deposit of Revelation concluded at the death of the last Apostle. It is complete and cannot be reduced or undone until the end of time. Revelation is irreformable. The First Vatican Council stated: “for the Doctrine of Faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a Divine Deposit to the Spouse of Christ (the Church) to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared.”
This does not mean that Doctrine cannot develop from the seed-bed of previously understood Revelation. We have seen new Dogmas declared such as the formal dogmatic definition of Mary as the Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431, the declaration of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, the Assumption in 1950, etc. The important point to understand is that all these formal definitions grew out of already accepted belief. That is to say, the Blessed Virgin was declared the Mother of God formally at Ephesus because virtually all Catholics already accepted that belief. The same applies to all the other dogmatic definitions. They have been a solemnizing, a formalizing of already accepted belief. Even when something is somewhat controversial, like the definition of Papal infallibility in 1870, the basis for this formal definition was already contained in the Deposit of Faith left by the Apostles. Due to our intellects being clouded by sin, it takes time and practice for some of these already-existent Dogmas to be identified and formally defined. But none of this signifies a change in belief, simply a formal recognition of what was there from the beginning.
What must be opposed, by all faithful Catholics (which is in reality an oxymoron), are radical new departures from the Deposit of Faith. Anything that contradicts prior Dogma can and must be rejected out of hand. Anything that is very new, different, and apparently incompatible with that same Deposit must also be rejected. This rejection of error goes all the way back to the earliest period of the Church, when battles were fought by great Saints against heresies beginning as early as the 2nd century with the Gnostics, then the Arians, the Donatists, and a whole litany of others. Every error proclaimed by the modernists is just a repetition of a prior heresy. There is nothing new under the sun, or Son.
Modernists attempt to tear down Sacred Scripture and pit it against Tradition, claiming that Scripture is not inspired in toto but, at best, contains the truths necessary for salvation. Extreme modernists like Kung even reject that (Kung is laughable, he is not even remotely Christian, let alone Catholic. He is an atheist parading as a Catholic and a consummate liar).
One final point. Little t traditions are those things that are associated with the Faith but do not define it. However, they can be extremely important. Something like veiling of the crucifix and statues as Lent ends and transitions to Holy Week is a tradition. But it conveys so much, that it’s dismissal undermines great swaths of big T Tradition. This is just one small example. That was what Boniface conveyed yesterday in the post I linked, that the post Vatican II experience has shown that messing around with, or denigrating and eliminating, many of these small t traditions has had a huge impact on the big T ones, as well as on the entire practice of the Faith.
That’s because the Faith is a coherent, incredibly intertwined whole. Removing even one “useless repetition” or “medieval accretion” tends to have an impact completely out of scale to the item removed. Or added. The Mass and Doctrine are inseparable, in a sense. Making massive changes to one was assuredly going to have enormous impact on the other, which is why the Mass had heretofore almost always developed in a very gradual, organic manner - exactly as Doctrine has. Even though Vatican II defined no new Dogmas, by shifting emphasis, and, more importantly, resulting in enormous, completely unheard of changes to the Mass, massive changes in the practice of the Faith were assured.
I pray this lesson has been learned. It is not for any generation of laymen, priests, or prelates to arrogate to themselves the right to fundamentally reconstruct any key aspect of the Faith, the Mass especially. The results will almost always be very, very different from what is expected. In fact, I need to add this intention to my daily prayers.
The push is on the the next sick thing – ABC promoting “polyamory” again December 10, 2013Posted by tantamergo in abdication of duty, Basics, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
There was a time not long ago, when people who shacked up with varying quantities of strange men and women for indeterminate lengths would have been regarded as very strange, certainly perverted, and beyond the pale of normal behavior. But seemingly confident that sodomites simulating marriage will soon be the law of the land in all 50 states, the amoral left – and the media which serves as their evangelical arm – is already moving to expand the normalization of extreme kinks and unchecked concupiscence. ABC, owned by Disney, frequently leads the way, as they did with a recent, breathlessly exuberant and supportive program on so-called polyamory, as if using people for one’s basest lusts is anything like genuine love:
On Monday, ABC News decided to publicize a movement known as polyamory, meaning people bedding down with multiple romantic and sexual partners as a legitimate relationship. Co-anchor Dan Harris said, “Just for a minute, let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s set aside all of the emotion and consider whether the evangelists for open marriage might have a point.”
Later, he added, “More couples opting to become triples or fourples. Live-in lovers spicing up the marital bed, even helping raise the children.”
Nick Watt, reporting for ABC, interviewed Michael, Kamela and Rachel, a threesome that sleeps with others and still finds the time to raise a child. Watt breathlessly gasped, “They’re spreading the gospel of polyamory, hoping to speed up societal acceptance of this kind of set-up.”
The program then interviewed a quack psychologist who gave a glowing endorsement of this further attack on traditional marriage. Because that’s the next place the left wants to go, they want medical and other benefits extended to those who take part in even casual arrangements, the better to keep their voting coalition growing by hooking more and more people on government-required benefits.
With the left, there is always an agenda, and this one is twin. It is both to attack traditional morality in order to further subvert and destroy the healthy, traditional family, while at the same time promising those benefits to more and more as mentioned above, encouraging more people to abandon responsibility and duty and hop on the wealth transfer bandwagon. As the article I posted yesterday mentioned, everything, from the loftiest sounding rhetoric to the basest perversion, is at the service of expanding government’s power at the expense of family and Church. Scary stuff.
The only question I have is which ultimate perversion will be the next cause celebre, after this swinging polyamory sickness – bestiality, or pedophilia? It’s an open question, and unfortunately, I think we’ll find out the answer within a few years.
In one final note, and one that is sure to cause great joy at USCCB headquarters, noted MSNBC loon Ed Schultz was evangelizing the other day and let us all know that the eternal, Triune God unreservedly endorses Obamacare. The more the incredible destruction this monstrous law inflicts on the people of this country, the more I stand in dismay at the thought that Obamacare was endorsed by most bishops, and would have been endorsed by all but a handful had it not contained such noxious provisions for abortion and contraception. The USCCB, Catholic Health Association, Catholic Charities, etc, all lobbied very hard, to the tune of millions of dollars, for Obamacare’s passage. They bear at least some responsibility for the suffering of millions who are now getting cancellation letters, being told they cannot see their doctors, etc.
It will be interesting to see if the USCCB backs away from this disastrous legislation once the stuff really hits the fan next year, with millions of people employed at large corporations likely to see their coverage dropped. Estimates now range from 60-100 million Americans will lose their health care coverage under this law.
What in the history of the American socialist wealth transfer state gave any indication that this law would cause anything but massive disruption, hugely increased costs, and dramatically lower standards of service?
The dangerous and false dichotomies of George Weigel December 10, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Basics, blogfoolery, Christendom, disconcerting, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, the return.
I’m sure George Weigel needs no introduction to my readers. It is amazing that a man whose claim to fame was writing a middling and often uncritical biography of Pope John Paul II now seems to arrogate to himself some leadership role in defining the “new evangelization.” In fact, Weigel’s prescriptions have always seemed to me like a sad mish-mash of American fundamentalist protestantism with a weak sacramental theology dumped on top. The great Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam has also examined Weigel’s proposed “evanglical Catholicism” and found it not just wanting, but founded on false premises from the beginning. The portion quoted below is part of a longer piece that shows that the feared and dreaded Catholic “integralism” (an epithet used to tar faithful Catholics) is really nothing more than Catholicism as it always was. Boniface argues persuasively that those who try to present Vatican II as an absolutely necessary break point in the Church’s history are forced to attempt to discredit the pre-conciliar Church, because if Vatican II was so great, obviously something had to be very much wrong before the Council. I highly encourage reading the whole thing.
Boniface on Weigel:
A prime example of this tendency is Mr. George Weigel, who has consistently been trumpeting the rise of what he calls “evangelical Catholicism”, which he places as a middle road between liberal progressivism and “restorationist” integralism. [heretofore known as simply being Catholic] Never mind that all authentic Catholicism has always been evangelical! Weigel, taking the distinction between binding and customary traditions much too far, proposes that “What can be changed in the Church must be changed” and sees only a small core of fundamental teachings, aspects which he considers part of the Church’s “constitution”, which should not be changed. [This is where I have a huge problem with Weigel. He is an Americanist. He thinks the good 'ol USA is the greatest country in the history of ever, and the very ideal form of government for the Church to cooperate with. He is very wrong, of course. But he seems at times to have gone so far as to try to force the American governmental model on the Church, reducing the core beliefs of the Church to something like the US Constitution, and the rest just so much frippery. Weigel's proposals seem as radical as anything most of the modernist set has ever produced, to me.] The rest is up for grabs.  He mocks the pre-Vatican II doctrinal conservatism of such prelates as Cardinal Ottaviani, whom he uncharitably compares to Obama HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius . He scoffs at the idea that traditional Catholicism could have anything to offer the modern world, saying that “The challenge also won’t be met by Catholic traditionalists retreating into auto-constructed catacombs.”  [I have to wonder whether Weigel is blind. Can he not read the signs of the times?]
Central to Weigel’s thought is the presumption that Catholicism consists of two fundamental parts: a central core of eternal, non-changeable elements, which Weigel calls the Church’s “constitution”, and an outer core of practices, theories and cultural trappings which are time-bound and subject to change. Weigel creates a dichotomy between a liberal progressivism that seeks to change the Church’s fundamental ‘constitution’ and a “neo-triumphalist restorationism”, which insists on strictly maintaining the outer core of the Church’s cultural trappings. Progessivism thus denies authority where it exists, while “restorationism” creates authority where it does not exist. The true Catholic, the “evangelical Catholic”, must walk the via media between these two extremes. [First of all, the notion that there are only "two ways" in the Church right now - progressive heresy or integralist restorationism, is ludicrous. There are all kinds of intermediate currents, and even people who possess aspects of both extremes. The simplicity in this argument is just silly. And it's incredibly wrong-headed, for as Boniface shows, so-called "integralism" is nothing more than Catholicism as it was believed and practiced for many, many centuries. And in reality, Weigel has absorbed so many progressive/modernist beliefs through his rampant Americanism that his middle way would have been considered incredibly radical and dangerous only a few decades ago.]
We, of course, do not deny that the Church is a composite of binding and non-binding traditions and teachings; there is a hierarchy of truth, and not all teachings and practices are of the same authority. But what we do deny is that the central and the ephemeral, the necessary and the disposable, can be sorted out so neatly and with such ease. In fact, the whole tragedy of the post-Conciliar period was a vast underestimation of the degrees to which these ‘secondary’ or ephemeral aspects of Catholicism (music, architecture, etc.) were actually deeply bound up with substance of the faith itself. Weigel, who states boldly that “What can be changed in the Church must be changed”, believes that what is central and what is secondary are so easily distinguished that one can partition them up with a fair degree of confidence. The difference between “Big T” and “Small T” tradition is not just a distinction but a chasm, and the “Small T” tradition can be discarded at will. [And I'll agree with Boniface again, ALL the wreckage caused in the Church in the past 50 years has occurred without one formal change of Doctrine, which we know is impossible. If so much damage can be done with only the changes made to "tradition" thus far, what Weigel proposes is an entirely new religion, a culturally convenient (but theologically and salvifically deranged) mashup of neo-conservative Catholicism and protestant fundamentalism.]
What Weigel and the others of his kind have forgotten is that the Church is fundamentally understood as a Body, and in a Body, there is nothing extrinsic. Sure, there are members of more or less centrality. A man can still live with no fingers, but he cannot live with no head. Yet, if we were to propose chopping all a man’s fingers off on the premise that they were “not necessary” for his survival, would we not be foolish to expect the fingerless man to do the same things he could before? And when we found, to our consternation, that the fingerless man could not write, play music, or do many of the things he could before we chopped his members off, would we not be even more foolish to suggest the remedy was to further dismember him by chopping off his feet, ears, nose, and anything else not strictly “necessary” on the premise that what can be discarded in the Body ought to be? Yet this is precisely the folly Weigel and those who fail to understand the Church as a Body find themselves in. [And Weigel and his ilk would be just the type to express shock when the fingerless man starved to death for want of an ability to feed himself.]
Great stuff, as always, from Boniface. Boniface goes on to show that the dreaded “integralism” so denigrated by Weigel was nothing more than an epithet developed by modernist heretics to bash Catholics in the early 20th century. Weigel’s free use of this term would seem to point to a rather shocking lack of knowledge of Church history.
Boniface’s post closes with some background on the great American theologian Fr. Joseph Clifford Fenton and his deconstruction of the “integralist” slur. Weigel would do well to research Fenton and his works. The very things Weigel claims he wants – a culturally relevant and influential Church that is growing and attracting new members – is shown by Fenton (as it has been by so many others) to be none other than that good old fashioned Catholicism the Church practiced for 1900+ years.
We don’t need new programs, or agendas designed to sell books. We just need to practice the Faith as it was handed down to us.
That, and nothing more, is Catholicism.
Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand on the Lethargy of the Guardians December 10, 2013Posted by tantamergo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, reading, scandals, secularism, the return.
Years ago, one of the first books I read on the crisis in the Faith was Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Devastated Vineyard. My friend and reader SB gave me a wonderful first edition copy in hardback. I did not get far in the book. Much of it was frankly beyond me, at that time. But I have recently returned to it, and I am enjoying it immensely. The book begins with Dr. von Hildebrand’s assessment of the state of the episcopate as it was in the early 70s, 40 years ago. It is a searing indictment, and even more apropos today. For those who do not know, Dr. von Hildebrand was one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of the 20th century, winning huge accolades from Venerable Pius XII and many others. The excerpt (with my emphasis and comments):
One of the most horrifying and widespread diseases in the Church today is the lethargy of the guardians of the Faith of the Church. I am not thinking here of those bishops who are members of the “fifth column,” who wish to destroy the Church from within, or to transform it into something completely different. I am thinking of the far more numerous bishops who have no such intentions, but who make no use whatever of their authority when it comes to intervening against heretical theologians or priests, or against blasphemous performances of public worship. [The national conferences play a certain role in this. While a bishop is always free to act in his Diocese regarding denouncing error and heresy - as Bishop Bruskewitz demonstrated to a degree - there are powerful pressures via the national conferences against doing so. Such bishops who were to, for instance, formally excommunicate a pro-abort katholyc politician would find their ambitions blocked and themselves ostracized.] They either close their eyes and try, ostrich-style, to ignore the grievous abuses as well as appeals to their duty to intervene, or they fear to be attacked by the press or the mass media and defamed as reactionary, narrow-minded, or medieval. They fear men more than God. The words of St. John Bosco apply to them: “The power of evil men lives on the cowardice of the good.”
…….this sickness [all the disturbing cultural trends] has even penetrated the Church, and is a clear indication that the fight against the spirit of this world has been replaced with swimming along with the spirit of the times in the name of “aggiornamento.” One is force to think of the hireling who abandons his flocks to the wolves when one reflects on the lethargy of so many bishops and superiors who, though still orthodox themselves, do not have the courage to intervene against the most flagrant heresies and abuses of all kinds in their dioceses or in their orders. [One could hope most bishops were orthodox in personal belief in the early 70s, due to formation prior to the 1960s. But today, with almost all bishops formed after the Council, such an assumption may be less well founded]
But it is most especially infuriating when certain bishops, who themselves show this lethargy toward heretics, assume a rigorously authoritarian attitude towards those believers who are fighting for orthodoxy, and who are thus doing what the bishops ought to be doing themselves! [Have you ever personally experienced or witnessed the above? I have!] I was once allowed to read a leter written by a man in high position in the Church, addressed to a group which had heroically taken up the cause of the true Faith, of the pure, true teaching of the Church and the Pope. This group had overcome the “cowardice of good men” of which St. John Bosco spoke, and ought thus to have been the greatest joy of the bishops. The letter said: as good Catholics, you have to do only one thing: just be obedient to all the ordinances of your bishop.
[The most important part.....] This conception of a “good” Catholic is particularly surprising at a time in which the coming of age of the moderns layman is continually being emphasized. [Obviously, 40+ years of experience has shown that only a certain kind of outspokeness from the laity is desired. In fact, clericalism is at least as strong, if not far more so, than it was before the Council. It is simply clericalism of a different kind.] But it is also completely false for this reason: what is fitting at a time when no heresies occur in the Church without being immediately condemned by Rome, becomes inappropriate and unconscionable at a time when uncomdemned heresies wreak havoc within the Church, infecting even certain bishops, who nevertheless remain in office. Should the faithful at the time of the Arian heresy, for instance, in which the majority of the bishops were Arians, have limited themselves to being nice, and obedient to the ordinances of these bishops, instead of battling the heresy? Is not fidelity to the true teaching of the Church to be given priority over submission to the bishop? It is not precisely by virtue of their obedience to the revealed truths which they received from the Magisterium of the Church, that the faithful offer resistance? Are the faithful not supposed to be concerned when things are preached form the pulpit which are completely incompatible with the teaching of the Church?……[Exactly. We are in a crisis unprecedented in the history of the Church. Many devout souls have pointed to the laity as the source of any possible restoration. While we must always act with charity and prudence, I do not accept blanket condemnations of any criticism of ecclesiastical superiors by the laity as being inappropriate or "unCatholic." There is a nuance involved, of course, and some go too far, but in this present crisis, it is our duty as faithful Catholics to adhere to the Faith of our fathers and to fight error and abuse everywhere it appears.]
…..The drivel of the heretics, both priests and laymen, is tolerated: the bishops tacitly acquiesce to the poisoning of the faithful. But they want to silence the faithful believers who take up the cause of orthodoxy, the very people who should be all rights be the joy of the bishops’ hearts, their consolation, a source of strength for overcoming their own lethargy. Instead, these people are regarded as disturbers of the peace……This clearly shows the cowardice which is hidden behind the bishops’ failure to use their authority. [Hard words, especially considering the impeccable credentials of the source. Dr. von Hildebrand was a friend of many popes, including Benedict XVI. His criticisms cannot be dismissed as some emotional rantings of the unhinged. Many years have passed since this was written, and some things have changed, but not many. I think much of the reaction against the faithful (which includes general opposition to the traditional Mass and the traditional practice of the Faith in general) is driven by shame. At least certain behaviors and some of the vindictiveness we see seem inexplicable without a powerful emotional driver, like shame.]
I strongly recommend Dr. von Hildebrand’s works. It is a shame, and a sign of the crisis in the Church, that he is most well known for his two books analyzing the crisis (Devastated Vineyard, and The Trojan Horse in the City of God), when he wrote at such depth and eloquence on very deep theological topics.
His wife, the estimable Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year. This other Dr. von Hildebrand helps keep Dietrich von Hildebrand’s memory alive, while being a great author in her own right.
Ad multi annos!
Could this be where the Synod on the Family is headed? December 9, 2013Posted by tantamergo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, family, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Sacraments, sadness, scandals, self-serving.
Most readers will know that Pope Francis has scheduled a special episcopal Synod on the Family and married life next October. Surveys of the world’s bishops are apparently underway to gather views for problems affecting family life and marriage in particular. Some of these surveys have come to light. Some of the survey questions seem to point in a certain direction, that of somehow changing how the Church views issues like whether the divorced and remarried (w/o annulment) can receive the Blessed Sacrament. There has been a new Secretary General for this synod appointed.
Regarding that, this new Secretary General, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, made some comments recently on the subject of admitting the divorced and remarried (w/o annulment) to Communion. Dr. Ed Peters, who normally strives to sing the corporate line, took exception to Baldisseri’s comments recently, via Bishop Rene Gracida. What did Baldiserri say? Well, among other things, this:
A new approach needs to be taken with respect to the administration of the sacraments to remarried divorcees. The Church needs to apply Church doctrine taking the circumstances of each specific case into account. This approach does not mean making general conclusions and rules for everyone….
It’s a simple, short statement, but say so much. As Dr. Ed Peters notes, there is no middle ground between admitting someone to the Blessed Sacrament, or not. And let me say, I am sick of hearing that these people are “denied the SacramentS.” No, they are denied ONE Sacrament, the Most Blessed Sacrament. They can go to Confession. They can receive Baptism.
But irrespective, what this “new approach” would seem to point to is just admitting these divorced and bigamist Catholics to receive. This is a blatant violation of Christ’s own condemnation of people who divorce and remarry, because the Church does not recognize – and nor did Christ – divorce as a severance of marriage. These people are adulterers, according to Our Blessed Lord. Calling the Church’s belief regarding the sinfulness of divorce and remarriage (adultery) a “discipline,” as Peters does, is a profound disservice. If this is not a Doctrine, straight from our Lord’s lips and 2000 years old, nothing is. We may as well close us shop.
The way I see the progressives trying to nuance this is with some claptrap about not changing “the general conclusions and rules for everyone,” but admitting the divorced and remarried “on a case by case basis.” This is laughable, we all know what will happen, the “exception,” like Extraordinary Ministers of Communion or Latin in the Mass, will become the certain, unalterable rule in about 5 seconds. It will make a mockery of the Church’s moral law.
As Peters does note, there seems a strong whiff of antnomianism (which says the Church has no moral law, “faith alone” is all that matters) about all this. I think we see in this where the progressive, primarily European elements want to take this Synod. It is very disconcerting that the Secretary General seems to be on board with their ideas. I pray the more faithful bishops will be able to derail this monstrosity. If passed, it will mark only the beginning of the progressive/modernist attempts to completely deconstruct the Church’s moral law.
“The government reserves a special hatred for the family……..” December 9, 2013Posted by tantamergo in Basics, Christendom, episcopate, error, family, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
I stumbled across the following at a secular site but I thought it eminently worth sharing. Whether this extremely apparent trend is part of the great apostasy and persecution which will occur prior to the parousia, or whether it is just a sign of how sick our culture has become, it is a reality nevertheless.
One caveat to the below – only left-wing, enlightenment-informed, “liberty-oriented” governments of the type that came out of the English, American and French revolutions (that is, the near-universal form of national government today) are fundamentally oriented towards attacking the family, because the enlightened, “liberal” government can ultimately brook no competition. While the US form of enlightenment atheist government is more conservative than most, and has taken longer to manifest the more negative tendencies of all “liberal” governments, it is still, irreversibly, of the same mold. This is not a popular statement to make, but observing the trends in the US in comparison to many other, especially European, nations, the correlation seems clear. The US is on the same path, simply 30-60 years behind its European contemporaries:
The long-term goal of the government’s social policies are to flatten society out into one atomized mass. There will be only the state and the individual, and the individual will have no protection, no mediating institutions, between itself and the state.
Antipathy towards a wide variety of actors–the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, “special interests” of all types, political parties, private universities–can all be understood in light of this fact. [And all the examples listed (save for the generic special interests) are currently the target of ongoing campaigns of persecution and intimidation by the "liberal" government and its authoritarian allies in the culture, the entire lot of which are left wing to different degrees.]
The government reserves special hatred for the family, because the family is older than the state and, unless steps are taken, will outlast it. It gives the individual a locus of attention besides the state, and therefore, must be crushed. The ongoing destruction of the concepts of both marriage and family by the left is intended to remove permanently the transcendent family from the political sphere, leaving only mere biological relationships, which are not enough to inspire resistance to the state.
I think that’s a very astute comment, with the corollary that we are talking about governments steeped in the rhetoric and thinking of the endarkenment, the latter movement founded almost entirely on the premise of removing the influence of the Catholic Church upon society.
It is amazing how illiberal and oppressive our supposedly “free” societies are. Yes, we may have the right to vote and elect our leaders (to the extent the elections are really free and fair, a very open question), but those leaders then have a power over our lives that a medieval “tyrannical” king would have found shocking, even repulsive.
It is only in the modern “liberal” society that government has arrogated to itself the right to delve deeply into the family, to assign “rights” and benefits, pick winners and losers, which have totally upended familial life in this country and many others. From declaring marriage something that can be dissolved at the whim of one partner, to massively subsidizing and encouraging forms of birth control to limit family size, to redefining the very meaning of marriage, the ostensibly “liberal” state has waged a non-stop and open war on the family since its inception. I should note here that American divorce laws, shortly after the Republic formed, were a scandal to many European countries that had not yet embraced “liberty.” They were incredibly liberal even then, over 200 years ago. So was the atheist/agnostic orientation of the US government, the first openly agnostic government in the West in around 1000 years. This latter factor had huge implications for family life.
Someone asked me once what could possibly replace the liberal “democratic” nation state. I really don’t know. But I also don’t think we will ever arrive at a solution so long as we continue to pretend that the United States as originally conceived, or as it is now, is the bestest friend the Church has ever had. I think we need to seriously examine whether liberal democracy is conducive to the practice of the Faith, the virtuous ordering of the family life and human person, and the orientation of the entire culture towards the primary goal, the salvation of souls.
I believe it is not. I believe more and more that this nation, and so many founded in its image and likeness, is inherently hostile towards the Christian religion and the Catholic Faith in particular. The Catholic Faith is a totality that must exist and if not predominate, at least profoundly influence, all sectors of a society – political, economic, cultural, social, and of course religious. But the liberal state says NO, the Church must confine Herself to religious matters only, otherwise She is an interloper in affairs not Her own and will be punished. The fact that so many Catholics, including our leadership, in essence accept the liberal state’s claims is one of the prime sources for the schizophrenia so rampant in the Church today.
I think as time goes forward, and the state, particular the US, becomes more and more openly hostile to the Faith, more people will begin to recognize the root problem. It’s not violations of the 1st Amendment or liberal demonrat over-reach, it is part and parcel of the ideals upon which this nation were founded. It might be possible to organize a democratic republic around the right practice of the Faith. But this one is not it.