jump to navigation

The Imitation of Christ December 23, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
comments closed

I received a very astute comment the other day.   The commenter stated that avoiding New Age certain religious practices is all well and good, but where should he or she go to get some guidance on how to engage in deeply contemplative worship and prayer in a faithful, Catholic manner, and would I please help them? 

Yes, I will.  I already added this to the comments, but I think The Imitiation of Christ, by Thomas a’ Kempis, is exactly what this person is looking for.  If you feel like your parish doesn’t give you much in depth catechesis, or if you’re burned out on the Osteen’s of the world (which you should not be reading, anyway!), I strongly recommend The Imitation of Christ.   Here is a work of immense depth and challenge.  While originally written in the late Middle Ages for religious, especially monastics, it offers a view of life, or of giving up one’s life in service to Christ, which is beyond compare.   The book also provides great guidance on how to conduct contemplative prayer, and how to die to those material things that tend to distract so much.  More importantly, its guidance on how to live in a manner pleasing to Almighty God is amazing – but very difficult. 

This book does not pull any punches – it expects a great deal of the reader.  This is no wishy washy, touchy feely, I’m OK you’re OK theology.  The advice of a’ Kempis is that suffering is good and should be received with gratefulness.  It stresses repeatedly how unimportant are the things of the world.  And, in the conversations between Christ and man, it presents what I think are the most realistic, the most Roman Catholic, description of the relationship between God and man that I have ever read. 

PQHorn, if you are still out there, please check out The Imitation of Christ.  It is available online for free here.  If you are like me, and you prefer the bound, printed page, go here.  PS -I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the version listed on Amazon, I have a different version published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood that is written in a very complex, rather old form of English.

Traditional liturgical churches attract, retain youth December 22, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
comments closed

I think many serious Catholics rightly worry, alot, about the future of the Church.  At present, the single largest denomination in the US is former Catholics.  And, as one looks around many parishes, there often seems to be a dirth of those aged 18-35.  Now, some of these will return when they get a little older, but most will not.  The Catholic Church in the US likes to claim 80+ million members, but in reality, the number who attend Mass regularly and are actively involved in their parishes is perhaps 25-30% of that 80 million. ‘Mainline’ protestant churches have seen their numbers collapsing for at least 2 decades.  And, a new trend is that the evangelicals, who have definitely benefited from former Catholics, are now seeing their numbers drop, and among the young, they are plumetting. 

There are a couple of outliers to this trend.  One, referenced in this article, is the Greek Orthodox Church, whose membership among the young is rising.  The other area of increased involvement of the young is in traditional, orthodox Catholic Churches, particularly those communities associated with the Extraordinary Form Mass, but also those where the Novus Ordo is celebrated in Latin and/or in a very reverent manner. 

The youth recognize sincerity and honesty.  They like having something expected of them – a challenge.  Traditional liturgies, whether they are Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic, offer a great deal to the youth of any era.  They are challenging, they are most definitely NOT dumbed down, and they are constant – a huge factor in today’s world of instant change  and daily fads.  This constancy is incredibly important – it serves as a focal point for the fact that truth is being spoken, and that truth is something that doesn’t change – you can count on it yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

From personal experience, I know that children, even young children, find much to like in traditional liturgical churches.  While some may dismiss it as “smells and bells,” those that think on the liturgy and its relation to Scripture and Sacred Tradition know that it is far, far more than that.  It is timelessness, and it is reverence, and it is love.

Marian apparitions in Egypt December 22, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
comments closed

There have been ongoing Marian apparitions in Egypt for the last few weeks.  Unexplainable lights have been appearing over a Coptic Orthodox Church.  There have been similar events previously, such as in the late 1960s and the 1980s.  Some of the apparitions in the past were truly amazing, with a distinct profile of Mary with her arms outstretched.  In the past, these apparitions have appeared prior to some significant event, such as the Six Day War between Israel and Arab nations in 1967.  I don’t know what to make of this, yet, but interesting.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!

Pius XII, JPII named ‘venerable’ December 21, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
comments closed

Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity, announced over the weekend that his predecessors Pius XII and John Paul II have been named ‘venerable,’ a further move toward canonization.   Naturally, it today’s world, someone has to be offended, and despite the fact that the Vatican, and Pope Pius XII in particular, did more to save more Jews members of specific groups targeted by facsist opression than any 10 other groups combined during WWII, the professionally aggrieved classes insist that he did not do enough, a few people have politely inquired as to whether he could have possibly, in a perfect world, done more. 

 So, of course, they are doing their usual act, they have made very low key mention, without any publicity, of their concerns.   That’s just what this is – these groups know better, but since JPII, in one of the biggest mistakes of his papacy, apologized for the bad treatment Christians had given Jews (the Jews have at various times given just as bad treatment, if not worse, to Christians) in the past, certain elements are constantly on the lookout for cheap shots with which to score points on the Church.  Which, being so low-key and reasonable, should be accepted by the Church as wonderfully genuine and not in any way politically motivated, or intended to cause a false, negative image of the Church to be perpetuated. 

And thus were all made happy.

While we’re on Anglicanism – how horrid December 18, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
comments closed

Fair warning, you may not want to click the link below.

While we’re on the topic of Anglicanism, a heretical “Anglican archdeacon” in New Zealand decided it would be fun this Christmas to go out and be as offensive as possible.   This is unbelievable.  This archdeacon has created a billboard that reduces the incarnation into some kind of Biblical invitro-fertilization, or worse, and has managed to commit heresy by violating the teachings of his own church and insult millions of devout Christians of all denominations.   I would post a picture of the billboard here, but I don’t want to sully this site with something so horrid.  I do not understand the mentality of someone who would deliberately do this. 

I don’t know if the archdeacon is desperate for attention, if he loves provoking people, or if he is simply a heretic so far gone from the teachings of the church that he doesn’t even care about the reaction people are going to have something like this.  Unfortunately, there are a number of Anglicans/Episcopalians for whom reverence to God is nothing but a joke, and the Anglican church nothing more than a nice club where they can discuss their ideas on wrecking liturgy and spreading leftist social dogma.   With an emphasis on the latter.  For these people, causing scandal is a preferred  means of making their leftist social commentary, I suppose. 

Yes, those are strong statements, but something like this, at Christ’s Mass, no less, is completely beyond the pale.   And it’s not the first time.

Creative Minority Report has more.

Women’s ordination December 18, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
comments closed

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a very intelligent post regarding women’s ordination in particular and the different views of Anglicans and Catholics in general.  I think his analysis of the Anglican view of theology, as being oriented towards the subjective and of an ever-changing nature, not something based in bedrock Truth, is spot on. 

I highly encourage you to read it, even if you don’t agree with Fr. Longenecker’s stance on women’s ordination and why it is a complete impossibility in the Catholic Church, his thoughts on the nature of theology in the two religions are well worth your consideration.

New Mass translation December 18, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
comments closed

If you’re tired of the dumbed down ICEL English translation of the Mass that’s been in use since 1970, and want a far more uplifting, liturgically-correct, and accurate translation of the Mass, make your voice heard!  Sign the petition here.

The new translation is pending and should be introduced in a year or two at most, but there are still some opposed to it.

A bishop (to be) stands strong December 17, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
comments closed

Patrick Madrid has  a post discussing the soon to be Bishop of Milwaukee’s strong defense of the Church’s teachings on contraception.  There are certain self-described ‘Catholics’ who love to spread confusion and doubt regarding the Faith.  Most of their efforts are in the areas of abortion and contraception.  The Bishop has reiterated the Church’s strong and clear teachings – contraception use is not in line with the doctrine of the Faith.  This is an especially hard issue for many Catholics, mainly those in N. America and western Europe who have grown accustomed to serving themselves instead of God in the area of the number of children they have.  Even many otherwise ‘devout’ Catholics use contraception (and I include the long term use of NFP in this). 

Use of contraception fundamentally comes down to the issues of selfishness and control.  I know this is a hard thing, especially in modern American culture.  There are incredible pressures to use contraception and to limit the number of children to two, or less.  I struggled with this issue for years before finally accepting God’s will and coming to understand it.  The pressures to contracept are illusory and only serve to separate oneself from God.  I may offend some with my view, for that, I do not apologize, but only say that I do not intend to offend and that I pray you would reconsider your viewpoint.  Having large families is not about ‘helping the Church grow,’ or making money for the Church.  Those are cynical, simpleton criticisms.  Not using contraception or aborting is about being open to God’s will in a very fundamental, powerful way.  There is no question that having a large family is a huge burden.  It is a large cross to bear at times.  But saying to God, yes, I’ll obey you here, here, and here, but not with THAT, is fundamentally selfish, and separates a person from God on a very basic level.  It says to God that you do not trust him, and that you will not have your life, as you envision it, inconvenienced by too many children.  It also says that you think you know better.  God loves life….that’s why he made all of us.  There is nothing in authentic Christian doctrine that indicates that anyone should artificially limit the number of children they have. 

And, the joys of having a large family are innumerable.  It is incredible how different, unique, and special each child is.  If you have only two kids, say a son and daughter, you are missing out on so much!  The interaction of the kids in a large family is amazing.  They learn so much from each other, about how to act and live in a world, to give and to share.  Yes, at times you want to pull your hair out, and there are always financial issues (if you only have the number of kids you feel you can afford, you likely won’t have any), but the ups outweigh the downs by huge amounts. 

I pray anyone reading this of  a different mindset will ignore the initial tendency to dismiss what I say and think on it.  I am very open to a reasonable debate on this subject.

Bad News December 17, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Uncategorized.
comments closed

Yesterday, I reported what I thought was good news regarding the women’s retreat at SEAS parish in Plano.  I had been told that the Bishop was very aware of the problems many people had with Sr. Rupp hosting the retreat, and that the retreat was ‘under review.’  This seemed like good news, andI felt that I/we had had some success in getting our concerns heard.  I did, however, ask that the parishes involved in this conference stop advertising the retreat and accepting the fees for it, as, it being under review, that seemed a sensible thing to do.

Well, I’ve been told now by the pastor at SEAS that they will not stop advertising or signing people up for the conference, as they ‘have not been told to do so.’  I do not understand why they would need to be told to do so, or who would do the telling.  Given the lack of information, I am rather suspicious.  I am told that the Bishop is ‘reviewing’ Sr. Rupp’s work.  This ‘review’ has ostensibly been going on for weeks, since I first raised concerns around the third week of November.  I think anyone who looks around Sr. Rupp’s website won’t need long to figure out that she draws very heavily on ‘new age’ practices in her seminars, that she is strongly influenced by eastern religions and pop-protestant theology, and that her theology is hardly what one can call Catholic.  In an interview on her website, Sr. Rupp describes the Catholic Church as being ‘envious’ of the New Age movement, and she says that New Age practices are ‘valuable.’  Bear in mind, Sr. Rupp has a degree in ‘transpersonal psychology,’ from a ‘new age institute,’ and uses New Age terminology and practices throughout almost all her published works. 

The Church warned against delving into New Age practices in “Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age,” released by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue in 2003.  New Age focuses on the self , cosmic energy, and the cosmos as an organic whole – if you read through Sr. Rupp’s online catalogue, you’ll find that she does, too. 

It didn’t take much looking to determine that Sr. Rupp was problematic, at best.  Since I have researched her writings more, I am convinced that she is not in communion with the Magisterium of the Church and that her views represent a grave danger to Catholics.  I’m just a lay dude with 6 kids and a job and generally a lot going on in my life.  If I can figure out that Sr. Rupp is a problem in a few hours, why does it take the Bishop weeks?

If I were cynical, I would say that’s because the ‘review’ is a sham and an effort to buy time, to get to a point where they’ll say, ‘oh, we agree with you, she’s probably not a good speaker, but it’s too late to cancel the retreat now.’

I’ll know more tomorrow.  Look for more updates.

Catholic Health Association – evidence of serious conflict of interest regarding ‘health care reform’ December 17, 2009

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Society.
comments closed

I came across this study of the Catholic Health Association, CHA, via American Papist.   This report seems to indicate a serious conflict of interest regarding the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and its lobbying efforts in favor of a massive expansion of the US government into the health care industry.  The chief lobbyist is the head of CHA, Sr. Carol Keehan, has sent very mixed messages regarding the legislation pending in Congress.  At times, CHA and Sr. Keehan have seemed to promote the legislation regardless of whether it massively expands abortion, such as in July when CHA, St. Vincent de Paul, and Catholic Charities sent out ‘action notices’ to their members to lobby Congress in favor of the health care legislation then pending, ALL OF WHICH contained a massive amount of federal funding for abortion.  After a very strong reaction from the pro-life community, Sr. Keehan appeared on the EWTN program “The World Over Live” with Raymond Arroyo, and appeared to try to walk back CHA’s previous unlimited support for the pending health care legislation.  Since then, the mixed signals have continued.  These mixed signals by CHA, St. Vincent de Paul, some priests and a few bishops, cause serious confusion among Catholics over whether or not it is appropriate to support the health care legislation as presently promulgated. 

In a simple word, the answer is NO, the legislation should not be supported, because any amendments added to the legislation in the Senate or House that purportedly prevent massively increased federal funding for abortion will be taken out during the conference committee where the two separate Senate and House versions are reconciled.  The Democrats themselves have said this – they intend to use this ‘health care reform’ as a vehicle to massively expand federal funding for abortion and to essentially enshrine abortion as a permanent, fundamental ‘right.’

I do not believe that any Catholic in good conscience can support any of the health care legislation – due to abortion, due to issues of subsidiarity, and due to the rationing that will inevitably result in the denial of care to the elderly and greatly increased pressure to expand legalized euthanasia.

More on why Catholics cannot support health care legislation as proposed here.