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Readings from The Imitation of Christ April 19, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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A long time ago, I received a comment asking where the deep spirituality in the Church is.  Being an ignoramus, I was initially tongue tied, but quickly recalled The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  This nearly 1000 year old work was once the 2nd most popular book in the world after the Bible, but has fallen into disuse.   I’d like to excerpt certain parts of the book in the hopes that more Catholics will return to its use.  It is a wonderful, if challenging, spiritual guide.  It makes me realize how far so many standards of faith have fallen in our modern times.

“Vanity of Vanities, and all is vanity” [ECCLES. 1, 2] except to love God and serve Him alone.  This is the highest wisdom, by despising the world to tend to heavenly kingdoms.

It is vanity, therefore, to seek after riches which must perish and to trust in them.

It is vanity also to be ambitious of honors, and to raise one’s self t to a high station.

It is vanity to follow the lusts of the flesh and to desire that for which thout must afterwards be grievously punished.

It is vanity to wish for a long life and to take little care of leading a good life.

It is vanity to love that which passeth with all speed and not to hasten thither where ever-lasting joy remaineth.

Often remember that proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.” [ECCLES 1,8]

Study, therefore, to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things, and to turn thyself to things invisible.  For they that follow their sensuality defile their conscience and lose the grace of God.

If you’re like me and love the printed page, you can buy this treasure here.   I will try to continue posting excerpts periodically.

Psychiatrist – Priest abuse linked to sexual orientation April 19, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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A psychiatrist with deep experience treating priests with pedophilic predelicitions has stated that:

 “Cardinal Bertone’s comments [ED – linking homosexuality and priest abuse] are supported completely by the John Jay study report and by clinical experience,” Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons told CNA. “In fact, every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.”

The doctor goes on to list the results of the John Jay study, finding that of those  males who were abused:

 …..51 percent of whom were age 11-14, 27 percent were aged 15-17, 16 percent between 8-10, and 6 percent were under 7 years of age, emphasized Fitzgibbons.

Net result – 3/4, almost 75%, of those boys abused were 14 or younger.   81% of priest abuse in the United States is directed at males. 

The article also talks about how many of these priests were in open rebellion from the teachings of the Church, would refuse to confess or seek help for their problems, and would seek the support of like-minded individuals in the Church. 

There is an elephant in the room.  A huge, sick, stinking elephant.  We all know what it is.  No one wants to talk about it, for fear of being branded some epithet or, heaven forbid, “judging” someone.  And the abuse, though dramatically lessened, is still ongoing. 

As Paul VI said, “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church.”  Indeed.  When will the Church demand that the main root cause be removed, root and branch, from the ranks of clergy?  Should I hold my breath?

If you don’t know Fr. John Trigilio, you should April 19, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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My wife would tell you, I’m a geek.  I have some unusual tendencies.  I can tell you which ships took how many hits at the Battle of Jutland, but I also sit down and actually read the Catechism.  Yes, that really big book.  Another way in which I am a geek is that I have some very odd favorite TV shows.  I don’t watch TV much (although my wife, who wishes TV had never been invented, would say my half hour a day average is too much), but I always try to stop down and watch Web of Faith with Fr. Bob Levis and Fr. John Trigilio.  I love these two priests.  I don’t know what it is about them, but they are awesome individually and together.  And, they helped me have a very important revelation about the nature of sin just this past week. 

I think it safe to say that Fr. Trigilio is friendly with what some call traditional Catholicism.  Fr. Trigilio was recently interviewed by Matt Abbot on the resurgence of more traditional forms of Catholic worship and the cries of the progressives within the Church regarding this.   An excerpt:

‘How ironic that the same crowd which lambasted and chastised traditional Catholics for their affection for the ‘old’ Mass (the Traditional Latin Mass, or more accurately, the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite) these past 45 years are now themselves nostalgic for their beloved ‘folk’ Mass.

‘Yet, it is not nostalgia to reinvent, redefine or rewrite history. Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that the extraordinary form was never invalidated nor abolished. The ordinary form (alias Novus Ordo or Vatican II vernacular Mass) has been normative since 1970 but the Tridentine rite (or Traditional Latin Mass) has been, remains and will always be valid and licit for Catholic worship. The so-called ‘folk’ Masses, or what the author calls ‘alternative, progressive Masses,’ were never normative. Many were in fact illicit as they did not conform to the rubrics of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) of the ‘new’ Mass of 1970.

‘Liturgical abuses abounded prolifically when every Larry Liturgist decided he knew better than Rome or the USCCB and concocted their own aberrant worship services. It is almost reminiscent of former KGB spies and out of work Russian bureaucrats having nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ of the now defunct Soviet Union. The ‘progressive’ Catholics who chanted Kumbaya as often as a faithful Jew would the Shma’ Israel, romanticize the pre-John Paul II and Benedict XVI days when liturgical goons ran diocesan worship offices.

‘Hello, wake up and smell the coffee! There is a reason why the folk Mass crowd is getting older and fewer. Young and middle-aged faithful grew up under the pastoral leadership of Pope John Paul the Great. Latin was no longer a dead or secret language. Reverence is a key component to sacred liturgy. Pedestrian services cannot compete with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Whether ordinary form or extraordinary, both are equally valid and licit and both serve the spiritual needs of those who attend them. The ‘look at your neighbor’ theater-in-the-round modern monstrosities posing as churches are nothing more than banal self-serve ego worship. They emphasize the immanent while the authentic churches focus on the transcendent.

‘I often tell my parishioners that church is the embassy of heaven. When they cross the threshold and enter the House of God, they are on foreign soil. They have passed from the earthly Babylon into the heavenly Jerusalem. This is why stained glass depicting lives of the saints adorns the real churches while clear plain glass allows the alternate worship sites to gawk and glare at the secular world. Gymnasiums are fine for sports but not for divine worship. Sacred liturgy is about God not about man. Religion is required by the cardinal virtue of Justice. We owe God proper adoration and praise. When we pat ourselves on the back, however, it is not religion but entertainment.

Read the rest.  While a fairly short and obviously extemporaneous commentary, I find alot to agree with.  I am not one who feels that everything that came from Vatican II was bad for the Church.  I do, however, think there were a number of abuses committed in the name of an illusory ‘spirit of Vatican II.’  Liturgical abuses are just that, abuses, and one area where the Catholic Church has gone most severely off the rails is in the area of Church architecture (this trend started well before Vatican II).  We travel frequently to the Hill Country, and when we celebrate Mass in a Church like St. Mary’s in Frederickburg, or St. Louis in Castroville, there is a palpable sense of the transcendent, of mystery, and most importantly of orientation of the Mass towards God that is visibly present.  This can have a big impact on worship.  And, of course, I am personally drawn very strongly towards very reverent forms of worship, and have little use for ‘innovations’ in the Mass. 

I think the Church is definitely headed in a better direction now under the leadership of Pope Benedict, whose substance as a Pope has not been exceeded in living memory. 

St. Mary’s: