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Do you agree with this? April 26, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, scandals.
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What do you think of this?  Are baby boomers most responsible for the illusory ‘spirit of Vatican II’ that I, and many others, think has damaged the Church greatly?

I don’t agree with Mr. Voris.  Yes, there was and is a ‘spirit of Vatican II’ crowd, but I don’t think it’s primarily due to the baby boomers.  I don’t think it’s a generational thing, I think it’s more of a faithfulness thing, and certainly ego-related.

Many of the most egregious excesses were committed not by baby boomers, but by the preceding generation.  The baby boomers were mostly children or very young adults at the time of the 2nd Vatican Council – they did not shape it.

The ‘spirit of Vatican II’ crowd does seem most associated with older generations, but not with one specifically.  And, mercifully, it does appear that the influene of this ‘spirit’ is waning steadily – not fast enough, but it is gradually going away.  The hermeneutic of rupture is giving way to the hermeneutic of continuity.  This is critical, because the Church is based strongly on Tradition, and anything that breaks dramatically with that Tradition cannot be Authentic (especially according to St. Pius X). 

Dominus vobiscum!

Want to go to Heaven? Practice Charity April 26, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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I’m not saying it……..the patron saint of priests, St. John Vianney, did!   A priest in the Diocese of Fall River in Massachussetts recently based a sermon on St. John Vianney’s comments on charity – both in the more modern sense of being generous financially, and in the classic sense of having love for our fellow man.  The Cure’ of Ars:

“All of our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions, and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God,” he declared emphatically, “unless we have universal charity for everyone, for the good and for the bad, for the poor people as well as for the rich, for all those who do us harm as much as those who do us good.”

“The obligation we have to love our neighbor is so important that Jesus Christ put it into a commandment that he placed immediately after that by which he commands us to love him with all our hearts. He tells us that all the law and the prophets are included in this commandment to love our neighbor. Yes, my dear brethren, we must regard this obligation as the most universal, the most necessary and the most essential to religion and to our salvation. In fulfilling this commandment, we are fulfilling all the others.” 

“Dear Lord, how many Christians are damned through lack of charity! No, no, my dear brethren, even if you could perform miracles, you will never be saved if you do not have love. Not to have charity is not to know your religion. It is to have a religion of whim, mood and inclination. … Without charity, you will never see God. You will never go to heaven!”

“When we give alms, we should think that it’s to the Lord and not to the poor that we’re giving.”

Truer words are rarely spoken.  We are all called as Catholics to be very charitable.  In the past, the Church, based on Scripture, encouraged tithing (giving 10% of one’s gross income).  This is not as common in the Catholic Church anymore, but I think there are many blessings to be had were one to do so.  I think in this area, my family generally does very well, although we could always give more to the poor, and this reading encourages me to try to do more.  In the other sense of charity, having love for one’s neighbor, this can be difficult at times.  I am sure there are many who feel I lack this virtue – and perhaps I do.  I can definitely see room for improvement in my charity for others, although I must add that all charity must be grounded in Truth, and St. Paul and Jesus reserved strong words for those who were sinful.  But, I recognize that I fail in charity far too often. 

One thing is clear – we should all strive to be as charitable as possible in every meaning of the word.  This is the ultimate path to salvation – Caritas in Veritate.

Survey of religious beliefs is bad news for Catholics April 26, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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The Rasmussen polling organization has conducted a survey of the religious attitudes of Americans.  The survey results are interesting.  80% of Americans feel that religious faith is at least somewhat important in their lives – which is good, but a decrease over previous surveys.  18% of Americans now feel that religious faith is not at all or not very important to them. 

57% of Americans say that their religious faith is very important in their daily living.  Breaking this down, 82% of evangelicals describe their faith this way, while 65% of general protestants do the same, 46% of Catholics, and 37% of those of other beliefs.  63% of adults say they pray every day. 

What are we, as Catholics, to make of this?  How is it that, of believers in the Faith that Christ established, that possesses the fullness of Truth and is the best vehicle for salvation, only 46% of Catholics say their faith is important in their daily lives?  And how does this square with the fact that only 15-20% of Catholics attend Mass every Sunday? 

Apparently, there are a significant number of Catholics who don’t take their Faith terribly seriously, by their own admission.  I would very much like to see further analysis done on this, to determine why it is that so many Catholics do not take their faith seriously.  My guess is that it primarily comes down to poor formation, and a poor sense of Catholic identity.  Catholics simply do not know their faith well enough to appreciate the immense, endlessly rich treasury that is the Catholic faith.  I think the loss of the sense of Authority and Truth in the Church, especially in developed countries, is also a substantial factor.  There is absolutely no reason that as many or more Catholics should feel their faith is as important as do evangelical protestants.  There have been many negative trends in the Church in the last 40 years or so, but this is the worst.  Huge numbers of Catholics have, for all practical purposes, lost their faith.

The fact that 46% of Catholics claim their faith is very important in their lives, but that 2/3 of that number can’t be bothered to celebrate Mass every week illustrates that, even among those who possess some sense of faith, they have not been sufficiently well formed to understand why celebrating Mass is not a burden but an incalculably great gift. 

What is amazing to me is that, even as many of the mainline protestant Churches seemingly fall apart, their membership expresses a greater sense of faith than most Catholics.  Perhaps the Catholic Church is in much worse shape than I thought. 

How do we address this?  Well, for one, we can start by insisting that homilies briefly expanding on the readings become more challenging and explain how Scripture relates to our faith.  This includes regular discourse on those ‘difficult’ subjects that so many priests and bishops avoid – abortion, contraception, divorce, the all-male priesthood, and the recognition of active homosexuality as disordered and a grave sin. 

We can start insisting on better formation in our schools, in our CCD programs, and most of all, in our homes.  We must insist that all catechists meet very high standards and do not harbor doubts (or, even worse, heresy) about certain aspects of Catholic dogma.  We must insist on more beautiful and transcendant churches.  We must support and encourage our priests to add more distinctive elements to Catholic worship, from adhering strictly to the rubrics of Mass to other practices that strengthen Catholic identity such as regular, 24 hour Adoration, devotions, novenas, Eucharistic and Marian processions, etc. 

And, we can all pray, much more.  We must pray for our Church and for those who have lost their way.  We must pray for our priests that they will be inspired to provide solid catechesis at every Mass and will resist those who like to mix in elements of other faiths into our Catholic faith (i.e.,  Joyce Rupp).  And we must pray for a great return of Authority and Truth in God’s Church, and no more of this soft sentimality masquerading as ‘charity.’  There are places in the Church, in this country, that are experiencing growth in attendance, growth in giving, growth in vocations, all the things that indicate a great surge in Faith.  That those places are almost invariably orthodox in nature is a way God has of communicating to His Church.  The Truth will always win out.

But, we must pray for the souls of those who either never learned, or no longer believe, that Truth that is present in the Catholic Church.  We must pray for their conversion, and we must pray for ourselves that we will remain instruments of God’s Will.

Fasting and prayer for our nation April 26, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic.
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Many Americans are very disconcerted about the direction our nation has taken of late.  It seems that our political leadership is governing in ways diametrically opposed to the will of the people, and the culture grows more and more hostile to people of faith.  We could just sit around and mope, hoping that someone will do something about it.  Or, we can do what Americans have always done, which is to refuse to acquiesce and to get engaged.  I, for one, will not go silently into that good night. 

I’m not alone.  On Saturday, May 1, at the Discalced Carmelite Chapel in Dallas, there will be a time of fasting and prayer from 5 am till noon.  Mass will be celebrated at 7 am.  The point of all this is to atone for the many sins ongoing in this nation and to cry out to God for mercy.  The Discalced Carmelite Chapel is at 600 Flowers St. in Dallas.  

Prayer and fasting are two of our greatest weapons in the war for souls, and the war for the culture.  I pray that many will consider trying to participate in this sacrificial offering.  Even if you cannot attend in person, perhaps you would consider setting aside a time of prayer on this Saturday.  May 1, “May Day,” has long been associated with secularist and socialist causes.  What a fine way to combat these forces hostile to the Church by offering up our prayers and ourselves in atonement for our sins and those of many others. 

Would you consider joining us in this sacrificial offering?

Cassocks! April 26, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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Via Fr. Z, we see a photo of the rehearsals of the Pontifical High Mass honoring Pope Benedict’s 5th anniversary as Pope.  Witness the cassocks!

If there is one more thing our Church needs, it’s more young men wearing cassocks!  I still have an open offer to any priest to buy them a cassock and/or biretta, they only have to wear it!

Bishop Slattery gave an inspired sermon at the Pontifical High Mass.  He’s a very good bishop, who celebrates Mass Ad Orientem.