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Bill Murray, serious Catholic? November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, manhood, Saints, sanctity, Society, Tradition.
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I have read numerous stories on the internet attesting to actor-comedian Bill Murray’s extraordinary generosity.  While perhaps a bit mercurial, you can find literally hundreds of stories where Bill Murray did something unusually generous or gracious for some person he just stumbled upon.  I figured he was an Irish Catholic, but had no idea of his sincerity in the Faith. It appears he is quite knowledgeable.  He is so knowledgeable he misses the Traditional Latin Mass:

His parents were Irish Catholics; one of his sisters is a nun. This conspicuous religion adds to his broad church appeal (there’s a citation from the Christian Science Monitor on his golfing memoirs). You don’t need to ask if his faith is important to him. He talks about how 19th-century candidates risk not getting canonised because the church is keen to push ahead with the likes of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. “I think they’re just trying to get current and hot,” he smiles.

One new saint he does approve of is Pope John XXIII (who died in 1963). “I’ll buy that one, he’s my guy; an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I’m not sure all those changes were right. I tend to disagree with what they call the new mass. I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages. The shape of it, the pictures, are the same but the words aren’t the same.” [Might disagree a fair amount with him here, both on the canonization of John XXIII and on whether it was just the words that changed. It was much more than that, but the general sense he has is right]

Isn’t it good for people to understand it? “I guess,” he says, shaking his head. “But there’s a vibration to those words. If you’ve been in the business long enough you know what they mean anyway. And I really miss the music – the power of it, y’know? Yikes! Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” Instead, he says, we get “folk songs … top 40 stuff … oh, brother….”

So, that’s it, we win, we have Bill Murray.  Heh.

Seriously, I pray he meets his Sunday obligation. Few in Hollywood do.  I did not read the whole piece, I am out of time, so who knows.  Probably one of my brilliant readers will point up the folly of this post very shortly.

It has always been difficult to practice the Catholic Faith November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, error, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, manhood, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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I was at Mass last night, and was struck by the Epistle from 1 Corinthians Chapter 4.  Saint Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians to correct certain problems in that community, but I found this lesson very comforting for the present situation in the Church today, when many do not know where to turn or feel that the walls are falling down around them. To some degree, it has ever been thus, although this is one of the worst periods of crisis the Church has ever experienced. Nevertheless, I pray you find this reading as consoling as I did, it really seems to speak to what many souls are feeling right now with all the radical changes that seem to be in the offing in certain dominant sectors of the Church:

Brethren: We have been made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are without honor! To this very hour we hunger and thirst, and we are naked and buffeted, and have no fixed abode. And we toil, working with our own hands. We are reviled and we bless, we are persecuted and we bear with it, we are maligned and we entreat, we have become as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all, even until now! I write these things not to put you to shame, but to admonish you as my dearest children, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And no, I am not disheartened or feeling hopeless at all. If I felt hopeless I would not blog.  The very fact that I continue my efforts is a demonstration of my hope in both natural and supernatural solutions to the ongoing crisis.

I write what I write because I find it interesting and edifying and I hope you will, too. Or, I point out some grave problem in the culture, in academia, or even in the Church that my sensus fidei (or my pride) tells me needs addressing.  I know there are at least a couple of readers who are not comfortable with my presentation of questions or even criticism of the Pope, or in pointing out statements from the great Tradition of the Church that are dramatically at odds with thoughts or approaches to the Faith that are being pushed today.  I don’t really see myself ceasing doing so, if I find some encyclical from the past that contains great gems of the Faith, and if that gem contains or illustrates Truth held universally in the Church until the present crisis, I am probably going to post it, even if that gem seems to stand in stark contrast to ideas or approaches to the Faith being pushed today.

To be honest, I don’t wring my hands a great deal over what I post. I certainly think about it, I do check my motivations frequently,  I seek spiritual direction and this blog is monitored by people who maintain oversight over my spiritual life, but this is just one blog among thousands and it’s just my little ‘ol opinions.  I really strive very hard not to take myself too seriously.  I’m just a dude with a computer, nothing more, I make no claim to authority and everyone is free to disagree (but this being my little place on the internet for my opinions, I generally won’t allow myself or those I respect to be just pilloried or trolled in the comments, but thoughtful comments are always welcome, and I try very hard to maintain this courtesy towards other bloggers/internet apostolates, as well).

So…….there you go.  Worth what it cost ya.

Flightline Friday: The Worst Planes Ever November 21, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society.
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I cannot stand aviation writer Bill Gunston.  He has a tendency to develop a fixation with certain topics and then just beat them to death, castigating aircraft and nations for failing to design aircraft according to his sacred shibboleths.  For a long time during the Cold War, Gunston was convinced that any aircraft that couldn’t take and land vertically – like the Harrier, the only product TSR2offered by his home nation of Britain during that time period – was just worth than useless and a damnable waste of taxpayer funds.  This despite the fact that STOVL – short takeoff vertical landing – imposes enormous range, performance, and payload penalties that made STOVL types so badly compromised they were really not fit for most missions.  But because Britain had a STOVL plane, STOVL was the be all and end all. Actually, Gunston’s argument went like this: any WWIII scenario in Europe is bound to be nuclear from the get-go, and planes tied to long runways would be vaporized in the opening moments of the war.  This posited a) a very unlikely bolt from the blue attack, and b), the idea that tactical aviation would matter a whit once ICBMs were flying was ridiculous from the get-go.  But since the Royal Air Force only had tactical aviation, Gunston had to trump it to the skies.

I mention Gunston, because he ties in with another aviation phenomenon I’ve witnessed for a long time: the greatest, bestest, most awesomest planes ever were the ones that never got built, or never entered service.  There is a profound tendency among aviation enthusiasts to latch onto “might have beens” and trumpet them to the skies.  Gunston did just that in an article he wrote on the British Aircraft Corporation TSR.2, a low-level tactical nuclear strike aircraft developed in the early 60s.  As Gunston always does, he draws very negative comparisons between an aircraft that actually did enter service, and performed brilliantly for decades, the American F-111, and the vaporware of the TSR.2.  That is to say, the TSR.2 would have been just infinitely superior to the F-111 and the British politicians that cancelled it were evil scoundrels only looking out for their own narrow interest.  And perhaps they were, but the point is this: the TSR.2, even had it continued, would BAC_TSR2_Cosford-01tsr2-web_1still have been in service test when the F-111 was flying combat missions over North Vietnam in 1968.

And a further point: the F-111 experienced more than its fair share of developmental problems. General Dynamics botched several aspects of the design, but, then again, they also introduced many radical new capabilities that advanced the state of the art a huge amount for the time period in which it was developed. Gunston pretends that the TSR.2 would have had none of these problems, even though it was trying to put in service even more advanced capabilities from a much less mature industrial base. Gunston even notes some severe difficulties with the TSR.2, minor things like exploding engines and landing gear that vibrated so violently on contact with the runway that it would literally blind the pilot by joggling his eyes so hard.  Even from a systemic design standpoint, Gunston noted that the British government, in a cost-saving measure, insisted that the TSR.2 not be equipped with any electronic countermeasures – even flying at Mach 0.9 at 200 ft, doing so would have been near suicidal, as US experience in Vietnam showed.

I don’t want folks to think I have some irrational hatred of the TSR.2. I don’t.  It could have turned out to be a very good aircraft, but only one ever flew, it had some serious problems, and the bgassumption Gunston and other fans of it make that all the extraordinarily advanced avionics (a big advance over the initial version of the F-111A, more akin to the incredibly capable F-111D) would have just been easily and seemlessly incorporated is ludicrous.  The flight envelope had barely even begun to be explored when the project was cancelled, so it’s impossible to say what further problems would have been found even in basic structure and performance. Even when it was cancelled, the RAF had to back off some performance figures like range.  And don’t get me started on British electronics…….by the late 80s, the Foxhunter radar for the Tornado F.2, in development for 15 years, still only had two reliable operating modes: off and standby.  It never worked right.  Assuming very advanced terrain following radar, air data computers, inertial navigation systems, side-looking radar, and other features coming from a very weak industrial base would have magically worked is a mighty grasp.

Another aircraft that was cancelled prematurely and has since become viewed as the GREATEST AIRCRAFT EVAH! (when we all know it’s the Crusader) is the Canadian Avro Arrow CF-105.  This was a late 50s project for what could have been a very nice, reasonably capable long range Mach 2+ interceptor.  It was designed to have long range and shoot down bombers over the barren Canadian arctic wastes.  What followed is quite typical: the Royal Canadian Air Force (then called) kept demanding more and more advanced features, costs began to go up, and eventually the government got cold feet and cancelled the type.  Some Canadians are absolutely deranged about this aircraft – there was a ludicrous movie made in the 90s and starring Dan Akyroyd that claimed

Arrow

Arrow

that the Arrow would have gotten Canada to the moon before the US!  Yes, a Mach 2, 60,000 ft ceiling aircraft is just exactly like a Saturn V!  What a dummy I am to think differently.

Seriously, once again, the Arrow could have been a quite competent aircraft – had its engines met specification (the intended engines hadn’t flown when the program was cancelled), had the fire control system worked, had there been no major problems found (development was, however, pretty smooth), etc.  It would have been one of the best interceptors around had it entered service as intended in the early 60s.  But that doesn’t make it a wunderkind that could outperform an F-15 or, as I have read in various places, still been the world’s greatest military aircraft in the 1990s, almost 40 years after design began.  Please.  Settle down.

As I wrap this point up, I will note this correlation between the odd cases of both the Avro Arrow and the BAC TSR.2 – both were developed by countries that had, a few years before, chosen to embrace very socialistic forms of government.  Both had socialized medicine.  And it was exactly the massive expenditure in those social welfare wealth transfer schemes that so bankrupted the Cf-105_Arrow002state that maintenance of a strong, internal defence production capability became all but impossible. Britain and Canada are today nearly defenseless.  Canada has all of about 40 combat-coded fighters to cover its vast territory, no bombers, no dedicated attack aircraft…….just 66 CF-18s total, only about 40 of which are coded for combat ops at any one time.  Britain once had the most powerful navy in the world, and today is smaller than the US Coast Guard.  Don’t laugh, we’re going to follow them inexorably into this kind of decline, if it is a decline.  The US military is experiencing exactly the same kind of endless budgetary pressures today, pressures that result in endless downsizing and loss of capability, that Britain and Canada experienced starting 50 years ago.

And I think that is why those two aircraft have such fervent partisans, and cause such feverish claims to be made about them. They were sort of the last gasp of a once proud nation turned inward and selfish, preferring comfort and ease over greatness and trial.  A harsh assessment to be sure, and I feel the US has made the same choice, just a bit later, but I think there is much psychology at work in the great partisans of these two aircraft types.  Which weren’t the worst planes ever, they were simply untimely victims of nations that turned their back on their duty towards self-preservation.  Both nations have been extremely dependent on the United States ever since to take up the slack from their own abandonment of their defense, but now that the US has chosen the same path, who is their left to turn to?

Beautiful Italian Crucifix miraculously survives church fire November 20, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, disaster, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, sadness, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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Holy Cross Catholic Church in San Jose, California was gutted by fire on Saturday, but somehow this beautiful ornate Italian crucifix, ten feet tall, managed to escape damage:

san jose fire crucifix

 

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God bless the firefighters for treating this symbol of our Faith with such respect and care.  Would that similar care would have been taken during the orgy of destruction that afflicted so many treasures of art and great symbols of our Faith during the wild excesses of the post-conciliar period.

The video at this link will give you an idea of the extent of the damage.

Given the extent of the blaze it is miraculous that the crucifix survived.  It certainly appears the entire interior of the parish was consumed.

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Some more details in the video below.  What a beautiful crucifix, I am glad it could be saved, and apparently, virtually undamaged:

 

Former lesbian: it is cruel for Church leaders to go soft on perverse relations, and the hell of her former lifestyle November 19, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Grace, Interior Life, sadness, scandals, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
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Mature material warning for this post.  Not for children.

Some very important articles have been posted to LifeSiteNews for over a week, regarding a former “lesbian” who has left her prior lifestyle and embraced the Catholic Faith. There is much of value here, including the usual heartbreaking litany of severe problems in her upbringing that led to her fall into this disordered, sinful lifestyle, and the fear she has that Church leaders may undermine her own conversion by going soft on Church Doctrine.  I will cobble together excerpts from two posts, the first covering the disconcerting trend in the hierarchy to pretend gross perversion is just OK and even the bearer of “gifts” to the Church:

Robin Teresa Beck, 59, lived through 12 lesbian relationships over the course of 35 years before her dramatic conversion to the Catholic faith and healing from homosexuality, just five years ago……..

……..Her experience with same-sex attraction and the gay lifestyle gives her insight into what is at the heart of homosexuality and why it is fundamentally incompatible with the human person and with Christianity……

……Beck called it “cruel” for any religious leader to look favorably on homosexual relationships, saying if they only knew about the suffering, darkness, and brokenness tied to the lifestyle, they would never even consider condoning it.

“[P]eople do not see homosexuality for what it is,” she said.

“I think because I was so broken and so totally sickened by my sin that for me it was like: ‘I’m never going back there. I don’t care if Pope Francis gets in the chair and proclaims homosexual behavior is no longer a sin — which of course he can’t do — but if he did, I would be like: ‘No, I’m sorry. It is a sin.’ I don’t care who tries to tell me otherwise. I am just resolute on that.”

People who love God and neighbor need to reach out to people struggling with homosexuality with truth and love, Beck said. [I agree. I am shocked both at how many people have rolled over on this subject, and also just who has.  Some people who know very much that this is a gross offense against God have given up the fight, and left these souls to a nightmare of suffering in this life and the next]

“The Church needs to lovingly say to this person: ‘This is not who you are.  [Dang right. It is very hard to say, but that is the truth of the matter. Most will not hear us.  Most will lash out full of anger and vengeance. But a few will, and that makes the entire effort worth it] Acting on same-sex inclinations is never going to bring you to a place where you can have a right relationship with God. In fact, if you go this way, you are heading down a destructive path. The good news is we love you, we are going to be patient with you. If you fall a thousand times, we will still be there for you.’” 

Religious leaders need to start confronting homosexuality head-on, Beck said, because it’s the only way to offer any real help to people struggling in this area. [And it ain’t going away on its own]

Priests need to stop people-pleasing. They need to speak the truth in love.  [Dang right.  Eternal salvation is not a popularity contest, and Our Blessed Lord told us the world would hate us.  So stop avoiding the subjects that make people mad, to avoid them is to fail in duty] If people pack-up and go away, well, so be it…….

[The key……..] Beck said religious leaders need to start leading the faithful in acts of repentance for all the ways in which humanity has strayed from God’s plan for sexuality.

“We Catholics are in big trouble. It’s as if we are just taking orders from the world instead of from God. People need to get on their knees and repent. The Pope needs to call us to get on our knees and repent. The Church is supposed to be the light. We are supposed to stand fast with Truth and not compromise with the world.” [Agreed. Something went disastrously wrong starting in 1958]

The next post deals more with this woman’s sad history, both her unloving and disordered upbringing and then her descent into unfulfilling, depression-inducing, perverse relationship after relationship:

Robin Teresa Beck, 59, is not afraid to tell anyone, even Pope Francis himself, that homosexuality turned her life into a living hell of suffering, darkness, smashed dreams, and lasting regret. And after 35 years of homosexual behavior over the course of 12 relationships, Robin knows exactly what she’s talking about.

“From my experience, it is impossible to have a healthy gay relationship because it goes against the way God made us to be,” she told LifeSiteNews, calling it “cruel” for any religious leader to look favorable upon such a relationship……

……At a young age Robin witnessed how her father hit, shoved, and did “degrading things” to her mother. She remembers standing nearby watching her mother cry as she suffered abuse. Robin lived in deadly fear of her father, believing that he could kill her at the slightest provocation.  [Abusive parents (especially sexually), and distant relationships, especially with fathers, are hallmarks of those with a predilection for this lifestyle. Something fails to develop properly in the psyche due to lack of attention, abuse, or whatever, and that person spends the rest of their life trying to fill that void]

She has only one memory of any tenderness from her mother. She was about 3 years old when her mother one day unexpectedly drew her close to nestle her in her arms. It was the only time in Robin’s entire childhood that she felt “safe and happy.”……

…..Looking back, Robin now realizes that she continually chose partners who, like herself, were psychologically challenged. “I kept hoping to find a stable, loving, nurturing woman to heal my heart (in other words, I was looking for the mom I never had),” she wrote. 

Robin told LifeSiteNews that she now believes the “majority of lesbians who are craving relationships with other women have a deficiency in their relationship with their mother.”

“I know it’s true for me. I did not get the nurturing I needed from my mom. I had this woundedness from my mother and I tried to have it healed by turning to other women and asking them to give me what my mother was not able to.”…… [So she spent most of her adult life trying to make gomorrist relationships “work” for her.  None were successful.  The “best” lasted a few years, most must less than that.  She had at least a dozen relationships with other women.  This mirrors my own experience with everyone who has fallen into this most egregious sin – merry-go-round relationships, serial promiscuity, chasing the high of the next conquest only to get bored with it…….I’ve seen all this before in several people close to me.  As the woman states, there is simply no such thing as a healthy “gay” relationship] 

…….Robin had now hit rock bottom, accepting that there “could never be a ‘right’ relationship with another woman.” In the midst of her brokenness and anguish, she cried to God for help. She received the strength to surrender her sexuality over to God, vowing to follow his word on the matter from that day forward. This happened five years ago, on the weekend of her 54th birthday…….

……“As painful as my birthday weekend was, I am so grateful that it was awful enough to wake me up and bring me to my senses (and my knees). I walked away from gay life and haven’t for a split second thought about going back,” she wrote. 

Robin began instruction in the Roman Catholic faith and was received into the Catholic Church during Easter of 2010. She just celebrated five years of what she called “walking in victory.” She believes this is a “huge miracle.”

———–End Quote———–

I wonder if this woman had any interaction with the Courage apostolate.  It is not mentioned in the reports. She’s been a convert and chaste for less than 5 years. I pray she stays faithful.  Behaviors involving sexual perversion and incontinence are powerfully addicting and so easy to relapse into, like any addiction.  I pray she may be strengthened by Grace.

Cardinal O’Malley’s troublesome 60 Minutes interview November 19, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, SOD, the return.
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Cardinal Sean, as he likes to be called, was interviewed by the progressive political organization “60 Minutes” recently and the interview was broadcast Sunday night.  I know my opinion regarding Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO diverges from some readers but I was pretty disgusted to see him thrown under the bus by Cardinal O’Malley Sean. I could not tell who to be more incensed by, the interviewer for constantly asking questions with a decisively left-wing slant, or Cardinal O’Malley Sean for willingly playing her game and failing to give a vigorous defense of the Church and his brother bishop, who to my mind was very much railroaded by a highly antagonistic political-media establishment that was seriously peeved by Bishop Finn’s orthodoxy.  Suffice it to say, it is quite ludicrous to pick on him for a comparatively very minor crime when men like Cardinals Mahony Roger and Daneels Gottfried are still in full public ministry (yes Mahony is “retired” but he is very far from inactive in LA and still exercises great influence there) even though their cover-ups were orders of magnitude worse and in the case of Daneels still ongoing.  I guess the red hat does have its privileges, provided one is of the correct ideological orientation?

By the way, I’m not going to give CBS a bunch of clicks, if you want to watch the whole interview (I recommend not having eaten for at least an hour or two before doing so) find it yo dang self, but this preview below contains some of the more egregious elements:

Did you like how she spun the Vatican investigation of women’s religious in the US?  Poor persecuted sweet little leftist sisters!  No, the investigation had nothing to do with repeated statements from LCWR leadership that they were “post-Catholic” and even “beyond Jesus,” it had nothing to do with the fact that virtually every single one of their orders, which they inherited in full fruit of vibrancy, will be gone within 10 or 20 years due to absolute lack of vocations, it has nothing to do with all the moral and theological error they promote and instill in vulnerable minds, no, it was all about the fact that they did not oppose abortion enough (quite the contrary, they support it, and with vigor!).  What a travesty of a presentation.  Unfortunately, Cardinal O’Malley gave a very poor response, even calling the apostolic investigation of these dying, anti-Catholic religious (are they still really Catholic religious?) a “disaster.”  What a way to treat the man who made him Cardinal and gave him such a platform. See how quickly these will o’ the wisp bishops will turn when the wind blows a different direction!

I will say that the newsreader’s attempts to spin the opposition to sodomite boy abuse in the Church as an invention of Pope Francis are simply disgusting.  Repeatedly in the narration of the interview, the left-wing newsreader tries to make this false portrayal, but then I ask: who rehabilitated and returned to power the exceedingly corrupt Cardinal Sodano, a man heavily on the payroll of the disgraced Father Maciel and who had been sacked by Pope Benedict?  In fact, who has returned many such individuals to positions of power and authority?  Who invited the aforementioned Cardinal Daneels to help preside over the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, of all things!, even though Cardinal Daneels is still actively involved in the cover-up of his own crimes and those of several of his proteges?  But the newsreader can get away with such injustices because 99 1/2% of all Catholics, let alone those outside the Church, have no idea of the truth of such matters.  In truth, no Pope to date has done more to combat the clergy boy rape scandal and the cover-ups by bishops than Pope Benedict.  While some bishops are under investigation now, given how some others (like Daneels) are given important new sinecures and all those under investigation are of a more orthodox bent, the “crackdown” appears to many to look more like an ideological witch-hunt than a real attempt to curb priest sex abuse of minors.

There was of course also an obligatory segment on the USCCB’s stand regarding unconstrained immigration from predominately Hispanic countries.  Only visible on the CBS site, you can witness Cardinal Sean distribute the Blessed Sacrament through a border fence in Nogales, Arizona with great showmanship.

I should say in Cardinal O’Malley’s defense who knows how 60 Minutes butchered his quotes?  They are notorious for doing so and have faced a number of lawsuits in the past for dramatically misrepresenting the statements of those they interview.  I couldn’t even watch the whole thing, it literally did turn my stomach.

I’m sorry to pick on this name calling thing but even if you don’t have enough respect for yourself to be called Cardinal O’Malley, preferring instead to approach the many sheep of his flock like a kindergarten teacher, one would like to think that the office would demand avoiding such cheap and false demonstrations of approachability.  In truth much of the present leadership of the Church is very far from kind, warm, and approachable and are some of the worst clericalists the Church has been afflicted with.

It saddens me, but given the name dropping of Bishop Finn  in the interview I am sure he is finished in Kansas City. Apparently there is a new standard in the Church, more orthodox bishops are liable to be sacked over even relatively small failings, while progressive bishops can continue getting away with what they have always gotten away with.  It helps to have friends in high places.

 

Good post: The Paramagisterium November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, priests, religious, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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I really like the way the author of this post at catholicism.org has conceptualized the way in which formal Doctrine has been attacked and undermined since Vatican II: the paramagisterium.  That’s a brilliant word summing up a sometimes difficult to explain phenomenon, the manner in which prelates and even popes may weaken Doctrine while never formally changing it, something that has afflicted the Church to a huge degree in the past several decades.  Paramagisterium also describes not only what many in the Church hierarchy seek, but how they go about achieving it, often in concert with forces outside the Church, many of which are openly hostile to orthodox Christianity.

First, I’ll quote a section describing the author’s definition of “paramagisterium” (I add emphasis and comments):

One undeniable hallmark of Catholic dogma has always been its clarity. The Church, as a good teacher, does not guide her children in halting speech. She is not vague or ambiguous. Indeed, to teach infallibly and thus bind the faithful under pain of grievous sin would absolutely require clarity. Since it is manifestly contrary to reason for a teacher to demand assent of the intellect to something ambiguous or vague, how can Christ’s faithful be bound in conscience to believe something ephemeral or given to a multiplicity of contrary interpretations? [Ahem, Guadium Et Spes, cough, Nostra Aetate, hack, Dignitatis Humanae, choke.  These documents are so often either unclear, self-contradictory, or apparently at odds with the prior Magisterium that we are now told it takes post-doctoral studies in systematic theology to begin to understand them]

The infallible magisterium of the Catholic Church is limited in its exercise, clearly recognizable when invoked, and serious in its expression. But these marks of Catholicity are all but lost in our day when a “paramagisterium” operates seemingly to supplant the authentic magisterium of the Church.

These thoughts came to mind upon hearing the news that Libreria Editrice Vaticana has published the book, Interviste e conversazioni con i giornalisti (“Interviews and Conversations with Journalists”), a collection of interviews with Pope Francis.

The author then outlines what the paramagisterium is and how it works by focusing on one very clear doctrinal belief of the Church – capital punishment – and how the constant belief and practice of 2000 years has been steadily attacked and eroded over the past 50 years or so:

For purposes of illustration, I would like now to consider a concrete subject upon which the paramagisterium has spoken frequently and loudly, even to the point of confusing some very good Catholics — especially champions for the pro-life cause. I speak of capital punishment.

Writing for Crisis Magazine some time ago, Christopher A. Ferrara asked the question “Can the Church Ban Capital Punishment?” He replied in the negative for very weighty reasons. In brief, the entire tradition of the Church advanced and defended the right of the State to administer the death penalty, not only as a means to protect the citizenry from a repeat offense, but also for reasons of justice, deterrence, expiation, and even the spiritual welfare of the guilty, whose frightful sentence could lead to his conversion, as it did over the years for many of the condemned. [I have argued the same on this blog.  While there may be valid prudential reasons to oppose the use of the death penalty in a given state at a given point in time (which reasons are of course arguable, see below), one cannot say that the Church is categorically opposed to the death penalty, that the Church teaches that its use is immoral, or that, God forbid, Church Doctrine has been “changed” by the less than careful statements by some recent pontiffs on this subject.]

Ferrara quotes the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

Again, this prohibition [of killing] does not apply to the civil magistrate, to whom is entrusted the power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which he punishes the guilty and protects the innocent. The use of the civil sword, when wielded by the hand of justice, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the commandment is the preservation and sanctity of human life, and to the attainment of this end, the punishments inflicted by the civil magistrate, who is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend, giving security to life by repressing outrage and violence.

…….What a lot of Catholics probably do not know is that Vatican City State and the other Papal States themselves formerly used the death penalty.

In the nineteenth century, there existed in Rome the archconfraternity of San Giovanni Decollato (“Saint John Beheaded”), whose members did penance for those we now call death-row inmates. For them, part of being Christian also meant looking out for the spiritual welfare of the condemned. The Papal States were quite interested in man’s supernatural end, too. For this reason, execution days in Rome were days of prayer and penance. Saint Vincent Pallotti used to work with the archconfraternity of San Giovanni Decollato, and never complained that the popes, one of whom was Blessed Pio Nono, were “violating human dignity.”

There are some who oppose capital punishment purely for prudential reasons, and in the present context. They believe that the modern state is so evil, so given to usurp rights that are not its own, and so callous towards human life in general (e.g., abortion), that it ought not to wield the sword. This position is not at variance with Church teaching, but it is certainly debatable. [Being based on prudential arguments, of course it’s debatable.]

Granted, the State does not have to resort to capital punishment. The question is may it do so. And the answer is yes.

But there is a new body of teaching today, part of the paramagisterium, which has it that the death penalty is an intrinsic violation of the dignity of the human person. We hear it from bishops, priests, and pious lay faithful engaged in the pro-life movement. The logical question presents itself: If this is so, why did Christ’s infallible Church, for the entirety of her history, teach and act otherwise until the late twentieth century? This cannot be justified as a legitimate “development of doctrine,” because these individuals negate capital punishment in principle and based upon fundamental anthropological truths that the Church has either not known or overlooked until the ascendancy of personalist philosophy in the twentieth century. [And personalism of a certain sort, not necessarily that of Dietrich von Hildebrand, but that of Karol Wojtyla – rather a different view of personalism]

Capital punishment is but one issue upon which we see confusion generated by the paramagisterium. Others would include evolution (no, it’s not a teaching of the Church!), Christ’s Social Kingship, Limbo, Biblical inerrancy, and, of course, sex. Lastly, the very nature of the Church herself, her necessity and divine constitution are constantly assailed by the paramagisterium[Dang right. And don’t forget the manner in which NFP is promoted, often as a moral obligation!, in that list, nor ecumenism/interreligious dialogue]

————–End Quote—————-

Certainly this paramagisterium has been immensely aided by the press carefully picking and choosing which papal statements or quotes from bishops it will publicize.  But at the same time, it must be noted that statements by recent pontiffs often serve as virtually the sole “doctrinal” support for Catholic acceptance of things like the evolution of species, even if those statements were often lacking in clarity (as stated above) and non-binding on conscience themselves.  They are often just enough to muddy the waters or convince well meaning people that the popular “modern” sentiment is acceptable from the point of view of the Church.

More data on the collapse of the Church in Latin America November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, demographics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, horror, paganism, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, SOD.
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Probably most of my readers, if not all, read Rorate Caeli, but there was some very disheartening material posted there recently regarding the continuing collapse of the Church in Latin America.  As Rorate notes, this collapse cannot be blamed on ongoing secularization nearly to the degree that it can be in the “advanced” nations of North American and Europe.  The Church in Latin American was, in 1970, quite strong, cohesive, and going through (perhaps concluding is a better word) a period of great renewal that started well before the Council.  But ever since the mid-70s the Church in Latin America has been in free-fall on a scale that outpaces even the collapse of the Faith in some Western European countries.  There hasn’t been a period since the protestant revolt when so many have fallen away so fast in a given region.

Another difference between the secularization of countries like Canada, France, Germany, Spain, etc., and the Latin American countries, is that, for the most part, in the former countries people have tended to fall out of religious practice entirely, they have become atheist or agnostic.  In the Latin American countries, religious practice remains very strong, but a huge portion of the Church has found the “product,” if you will, so lacking in the post-conciliar environment that they have sought spiritual sustenance even in the separated and heretical sects. And as the data shows, they have done so in great numbers, tens of millions, over the past 4 decades:

la1

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I have to look no farther than my own backyard to see witness of this phenomenon.  In my home zip code, the population is something like 70% Hispanic, many recent immigrants.  There is only one Catholic parish to serve both this and several other zip codes containing tens of thousands of Hispanic families, while one literally cannot drive a block without finding some Hispanic-oriented evangelical sect, many small, but some quite large, serving tens of thousands of former Catholics.  It breaks my heart to have to see this every day.  And my observation over the past year-plus is that this trend is accelerating dramatically, with new evangelical sects popping up almost weekly.

Even more devastating is the deep anti-Catholicism many of these former Catholic souls have imbibed.  There is a little restaurant I frequent on occasion, and the owners are recent Hispanic immigrants who are now evangelical. They were quite warm to me when they saw me reading my Bible in their restaurant, but when they found I was still Catholic they became less so.  Even more, there is anti-Catholic propaganda in their restaurant, not obvious, but there.  I have tried to engage with the owners but due to my poor Spanish speaking skills (especially when it comes to technical topics – I read much better than I speak) and their self-assured hostility, I have made precious little progress. When souls make a conscious choice to reject the Faith they were raised in, it is very rare for them to return. Please pray for these and millions of other souls falling away from the Church like snowflakes.

It is easy for the scale of this tragedy to get lost in the cold reality of numbers.  Each one of these souls falling away from the Church is an incalculable loss both to the souls themselves and to the Mystical Body of Christ. What we are witnessing is a tragedy that is beyond human reckoning, but with widespread erroneous understandings of notions like “ecumenism” and “universal salvation” even at the highest levels of the Church, there is little sense of crisis in response to data like this. To the extent many in the Church are concerned about this ongoing hemorrhaging of souls, the concern is only worldly: what will this mean for Church income, what will this mean for parish closures, how will we run a Church without priests?  There is little or no sense of urgency in dealing with this crisis: quite the opposite, so many in the Church and especially the hierarchy seem to be doing all they can to exacerbate the crisis?

These souls are falling away, by and large, because they felt spiritually starved. I know a good number of former Catholics who left for the exact same reason.  All the changes being discussed – Communion for adulterers, the gifts of sodomites, institutionalizing the travesty of US-style annulment mills, etc., etc. – none of this will attract souls back to the Faith.  The opposite is actually true, and I’ve seen comments all over the web to confirm this: souls already outside the Church or leading sinful/heretical lives will only feel confirmed in their errors by all these destructive novelties, and, even more, they feel that a Church that can be so wrong on so much for so long has nothing to offer them.

That is the true tale of the Church in Latin America over the past four decades: a Church without substance feeding worldly pablum to starving souls who then depart en masse.  This is so contrary to how the Church conducted Herself for centuries it is simply staggering.  The last five decades have proven, without doubt in my mind, that this “openness” to the world is destructive of the Faith and the good of souls.  The case of the Church in Latin America is a very strong argument that the collapse in the Faith is not something that just happened to the Church, but is a result of the deliberate direction the Church has taken.

The Dark Side of Martin Luther November 14, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, damnable blasphemy, disaster, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, horror, paganism, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, unadulterated evil.
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There is a long post at Shameless Popery regarding Luther and his rather substantial dark side.  It is a very long post and a bit difficult to excerpt, but for weekend reading I think you would be most edified to read the whole thing.  A quote a bit from the intro and conclusion, do go read the whole thing, as Pope Leo XIII and many good priests have argued, protestantism loosed errors on the world that have caused the downfall of Christendom and led directly to the anti-Christian, liberal, amoral culture in which we are awash today.  He also provides powerful argumentation that the mass murder machine known as National Socialism and the German embrace of the same was deeply rooted in Luther’s hatred of the Jews and his penchant for absolute obedience to state authority (but forget the Church authority!) almost to the point of religious reverence (another Nazi characteristic, deification of government leaders):

There’s a popular Luther narrative that plays out a little like Star Wars. A humble son of the Church rises up to overthrow the Dark Side, the Evil Empire, the Roman Catholic Church, all while cominfg to see his true identity. We love an underdog story, so it’s easy to root for Luther. And this narrative is an important one, both for Protestants (to show why the Reformation was “necessary”) and atheists (to show why Catholicism/Christianity/fundamentalism/religion is dangerous and evil).

But no matter how attractive it may be, this Luther narrative is a fundamentally false one. It relies on two sets of falsehoods: (1) distortions and exaggerations of the evils done on the Catholic side; and (2) a whitewashing of the real history of Luther and the early Protestants. I’ve addressed (1) before, and I’d like to address (2) head-on today.

The real-life Luther was a man passionately convicted of his own rightness, so convinced that he thought anyone who disagreed with him was either ignorant, stupid, or evil. It was this overconfidence that I would suggest is the root behind some of the shockingly evil things he advocated. I’m going to lay them out here, letting them speak for themselves, before considering the implications of these facts…….

[Follows an analysis of some of Luther’s most egregious evils, calling for the most violent and repressive measures against those who took him at his word and started interpreting Scripture privately, which soon led to cultural chaos and armed uprisings in much of Germany. Very worth a read.  Mind, this post only discusses Luther’s more publicly deplorable acts, and skips the many private vices of the man]

……I mentioned before that Luther was so passionately convinced of his own rightness that he thought his opponents must necessarily be ignorant, stupid, or evil. This is the spirit consistently animating Luther’s writings. When he’s writing to someone who agrees with him, or who he thinks will agree with him, we get Dr. Jekyll. When he realizes that the other person actuallythinks he’s wrong, Mr. Hyde appears. We see it from the first with his writings to the papacy, sweetly promising to obey whatever the pope should decide, and then denouncing him as the Antichrist when the pope doesn’t decide in his favor.

We see that play out time and again in the above passages: he’s convinced that the Christian rulers who disagree with him secretly know the truth about the “Gospel,” but just refuse to acknowledge it. He’s gentle to the peasants until he realizes that they’re not listening to them; then he calls for their mass slaughter. Likewise, he defends the Jews, when he thinks that they’re open to hearing his version of the Gospel; when he fails, he calls for their destruction, as well.

This has all the marks of the sin of pride, the sin said to have caused the fall of Lucifer. And none of us, regardless of Church affiliation, are immune from these temptations. It’s so easy to fall into a mindset where your political or religious opponents are idiots or monsters. Let Luther’s life be a cautionary tale in that regard.

[I regard the below as really key, and as a former protestant I attest to its veracity]

When Catholics point out that several of Luther’s early writings sound pretty Catholic, the standard Protestant response (and a quite reasonable one, I might add), is that Luther wasn’t completely reformed yet. Even after he went into schism, he spent another quarter-century slowly divesting himself of his Catholic beliefs. But what’s remarkable is that, as Luther became less and less Catholic, he became less and less Christian. [Dang right]

Compare the before-and-after you see above to see what I mean. There are countless other examples that point in the same direction, too. For example, Hosanna Lutheran Church notes that Luther’s language in Against the Papacy at Rome Founded by the Devil, written in 1545 (a year before his death), was “the most vehement and vulgar Luther ever wrote. To accompany it Luther commissioned a series of political cartoons by Lucas Cranach defaming the pope and Rome.”

The man praised for taking a bold stand for freedom of conscience was positively bloodthirsty towards those whose consciences disagreed with his own. And he became crueler and more bloodthirsty, the longer he spent away from the Church. [Well like all protestant revolutionaries, “private interpretation” quickly came to mean “MY interpretation.”  And anyone who opposed Luther’s, or Zwingli’s, or especially Calvin’s interpretation was a damnable heretic and must be put to death.  Within three years of Luther posting his false “theses” protestantism had already splintered into myriad groups, mutually antagonistic and all claiming to be right, only joined together in confederations of convenience by hatred of the Church founded by Jesus Christ]

[Killer conclusion:] This is one of the most important questions that I think we can take away from this: do we have any reason to conclude from the evidence that Martin Luther was a Saint?
Within the same year, 1525, he both cautiously encouraged the peasant’s revolt as possibly of God, and called for everyone involved in the revolt to be killed, saying that they were all going to hell. Does that sound like someone being led by the Holy Spirit, or like those that St. Paul warns (Eph. 4:14) are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles”?
———-End Quote———–
Great post. Do go read the rest. Thanks to reader skeinster for the linka.
I must quickly add this note: Lutherans spent a century after Luther’s death reforming his untenable and unChristian doctrines into something much more palatable to reasonable men.  In so doing, they walked back much closer to Catholicism.  However, they stubbornly maintain at least a tacit attachment to all of Luther’s main errors, including private interpretation and justification by Faith alone. I note that the lead agent for the disastrous “Joint Declaration on Justification” between the Church and a German Lutheran synod was none other the Kasper the Klown Kardinal himself.

 

Diocese of Dallas training video: “Two greatest Commandments love of self and love of neighbor” November 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, Domestic Church, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society.
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Somehow, God got left out of the picture.  If I could reduce the past 50 years of the Church’s history into one brief sentence, that would be it.

I put up a post yesterday asking locals for their appraisal of religious formation in the Diocese of Dallas.  There have been some good responses, you should go read them if you have not, but I received another one, offline.  It had to do with Safe Environment training.

Now, I will state straight up, I have enormous problems with Catholic Safe Environment training in both concept and execution.  The Dallas Policy and the training it mandates basically takes a disaster caused by men manifestly unfit for the priesthood (and in most cases, this was obvious from their earliest seminary days) and makes complete innocents victims of their crimes.  This victimhood applies to both the adults and children who are forced into these programs.  Adults are victims because they are incurring the penalty, if you will, for crimes committed by others, and children because they are exposed to materials what are often not just inappropriate but potentially very damaging.  But Safe Environment is just one aspect of the collective bishops’ response to the boy-rape scandal that seeks at all turns to minimize the culpability of the episcopate for their own actions.  It is a training program forced on all that assumes all are potential abusers in order to meet a certain legal strategy and reduce their potential future liability.

There has been much ink spilled already about the problems with the Safe Environment training directed at children, which many feel introduces topics and ideas inappropriate for many age groups.  The adult training generally gets less visibility and fewer complaints.  But I happened to be informed of an egregious faux pas – at least I sure hope it was – in a Safe Environment video for adults produced by the Diocese of Dallas that is so severe it could cause one to question the reliability of the entire content of the video.

I cannot link the video, it is embedded without link and is not public on Youtube (or, at least, I couldn’t find it), so you’ll have to go here to see it. The offending comment starts at 3:59 and goes to about 4:03.  Again I will try to be charitable and assume the person who makes the statement didn’t mean what they said, and I quote “The two greatest commandments, love and self and love of neighbor……..” but how could this statement make it through editing and be used as a form of training – it could even be viewed as catechesis – in this Catholic Diocese of Dallas? My correspondent asks how a successor of the Apostles could appear and, one would think, approve of a video where this statement is made?  This isn’t just slightly wrong, it’s directly contrary to the entire ethos Christ gave us and is emblematic of the error at the heart of the crisis in the Church and culture: men have replaced love of self for love of God.

I must also say that this is why I am so leery of having half-trained lay people serve as heads of ministries and perform so many roles once assigned to priests and religious in our churches today, and which the comments from yesterday’s post indicate is evidence of a systemic problem in religious education.  But I want to stress I am certain the comment is not intentional, the greater problem is how this was vetted and a reviewed and still allowed to go public, as it were.  It’s just so revealing of the kind of shoddy product that bureaucracies tend to produce.  And the Church has been bureaucratized as never before in the past several decades.

Lest you think there is just this one comment I have a problem with, I assure you, that is not the case.  Another person in the video says child abusers go where the children are, so I must ask why those men who displayed such perverse tendencies in seminary and in service, like Rudy Kos (where there will literally dozens of warnings sounded) were allowed contact with children for  years?

Anyway, I’m not sure how long the video will stay up, so you may want to jet on over and see it while you can.  And another thing, I am reliably informed that at least two complaints about this video (and the offending comment) have already been made, privately, so I consider the lack of response makes this fair game for public airing.

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