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Young single men, you should move to Italy May 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Alot of people have a fantasy of quitting the world and starting over in some quiet, faraway place.  While alot of people may think of a tropical paradise for such a fantasy, others might find a tranquil mountain setting equally ideal.  Have I got a place for you!  How about Norcia, Italy, the town where both St. Benedict and his sister, St. Scholastica were born?!?

All kidding aside, some Benedictines have re-instituted the Monastery that once existed in this well known Catholic town.  After a 200 year absence, there is now a growing and vibrant community here.  And, a young man from the diocese is presently a monk there.  What a holy calling.  Yes, many of us are called to the vocation of marriage, and still others need to work in the world, but the world and the Church need people who are dedicated completly to a life of prayerful service to Christ, a life completly turned over to the the contemplation of Him.  And, they have a wonderful and increasingly capable Chant choir, and have Vespers and Mass online daily! 

Check out the video below.  We  must pray for many more vocations from totally dedicated young men – the Church and the world are in desparate need of them.

h/t The Anchoress

Unmarried women 6x more likely to have abortions May 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, General Catholic.
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The pro-abort Guttmacher Institute, which I won’t link to, has released a study on the characteristics of women who receive abortions.  85% of abortions are had by women who are unmarried – about half by women living with a man outside of marriage, and about half of those who aren’t living with someone.   I don’t think this is a big surprise – women who become pregnant and who have no solid relationship with a man are far more likely to have their babies killed.  Yet another piece of evidence for supporting traditional Christian morality, and yet another sign of the utter disaster that our modernist, sexually promiscuous culture has become. 

One of the greatest heartbreaks I have in life, however, is to see married women go into an abortion clinic.  Even worse, I have on a number of occasions seen couples go into abortion mills, like the seedy Routh Street, with a baby seat and a toddler in the car.  I cannot fathom this action.  Before having any children, I was pro-life, but somewhat ambivalent about it.  Once I experienced pregnancy and seeing my first child born, even as a man, without the woman’s  feelings of connection to the life inside her, I became completely, irrevocably pro-life.  How some mothers are able to cut themselves off from the life within them I will never understand.

This survey underscores the need for further evangelization and apologetics within our Church.  For abortion is linked inextricably with the general culture of sexual decadence and selfish pleasure which so dominates, and eats away at, Western culture today.  We must continue to press our priests for forceful sermons that explain the Church’s doctrine on issues such as contraception, the sacred nature of each life, divorce, and many other things.  Many of these topics have been ignored by priests for fear of ‘making people mad’ or ‘driving them away from the Church.’   I am sorry to say, but this is a copout – it’s a fig leaf for an abrogation of one of the most serious priestly responsibilities – regularly reinforcing key tenets of the Faith in the laity.  While many priests are willing to talk about the Church’s doctrine regarding abortion, none in my experience will talk about artificial contraception.  Yet contraception and abortion are inextricably linked – almost 70% of abortions are procured due to contraception failure.   The contraceptive mentality is also a factor in divorce, divorces which Catholics engage in at a rate higher than our fellow Christians.  The reduction of the marital act to an act of ‘unity’ has been a dismal failure in practice.  It tends towards selfishness and one’s own pleasure, and underscores the faulty nature of many Catholic marriages.   But, in the absence of priests willing to take this subject head on during Mass, it is not surprising that so few Catholics abide by binding Church doctrine.

If anyone of my readers agree, it might be worthwhile to contact your pastor or priests to try to encourage them in tackling these admittedly difficult subjects.  There is no doubt that doing so might make many people mad, but they may find that, in spite of the initial reception, many may come back with a greater respect and appreciation for the clear doctrine of the Church.  We must all pray that our priests will have the fortitude to engage these topics regularly.  Especially our younger priests, many of whom are well disposed to try to encourage the faithful to live out all the doctrine of the Faith more fully.

And pray for our bishops, that they will not only allow priests in their diocese to talk on these subjects, but will encourage them to do so.

Congratulations to Guadalupe Radio! May 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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Guadalupe Radio Network, which operates all the EWTN radio stations in Texas, has just branched out very significantly – they now have a major, 50,000 watt station in Washington DC that will reach 5,000,000 potential listeners.  This will be GRNs largest market for EWTN radio outside the top-5 market of DFW.  Comically, GRN will now have affiliates in locations as diverse as San Antonio, Washington, DC, and Van Horn and Kermit, TX.  That’s awesome. Whenever we drive down to the Hill Country, which is frequently, we always listen in on KBMD 88.5 in Marble Falls.

Congratulations to Toya Hall and all the GRN staff on this achievement.  May God continue to abundantly bless your apostolate.

Did Humanae Vitae unintentionally undermine the Authority of the Church? May 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, General Catholic.
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Last week, my friend Steve B. sent me a rather remarkable article, written by John Galvin, which appeared in one form or another in Latin Mass Magazine.  The document, which is linked below, was a critique of Humanae Vitae from a traditional Catholic perspective.  Apparently, when first published in 2002, this article caused quite a stir, and not where you would think – it was essentially ignored by heterodox publications, but was attacked vociferously in The Wanderer.  The article also attracted criticism from the likes of Dr. Janet Smith, the Theology of the Body theologian formerly of the University of Dallas and a serious proponent of natural family planning. 

Why the strong reaction?  Well, the article is very long, and a bit hard to condense (I’ve been struggling with how to present all the arguments in the article for a week), but the essential argument is this: Humanae Vitae, while reaffirming the traditional Christian prohibition against artificial birth control, fatally undermined the moral authority of the Church because of the way this teaching was presented.  Gone were the references to Church Tradition which had been so key an element in previous encyclicals such as Casti Connubi, and gone was the emphasis on the procreative nature of the marital act (which I had argued in a previous post was a deficiency in the arguments of NFP proponents), to be replaced by an acceptance of the ‘problems’ of overpopulation and the ‘burdens’ of having children.  Mr. Galvin argues that all of Humanae Vitae was an acceptance of the then prevalent arguments in favor of artificial contraception, sounding very much like birth control supporter’s tract on the subject, until the very end, where Pope Paul VI stated that the Church still could not countenance the use of artificial means to limit the number of births and called for the use of NFP instead.  Mr. Galvin argues that this fatally undermines Church authority, as this is a seeming change from the procreative emphasis of the past to a unitive one, and at the same time by accepting all the arguments of the pro-birth control side prima facie, encouraged many priests, bishops, and theologians to follow the logic therein and recommend that faithful couples could, indeed, use artificial contraception (after properly ‘forming’ their consicences). 

To try to summarize the text, here are the conclusions from the Galvin article:

1.  For the past 35 years, the Church has failed to convince even its own bishops and priests using the line of thinking contained in the encyclical.  As far as convincing the faithful, she has barely even tried [ED – I don’t totally agree with this statement].  The actual prohibition against birth control  has been ignored and relegated to irrelevancy because it is clearly not in harmony with the ultimate destination of the line of thought expounded….Humanae Vitae.

2. For the teaching of the Church to be faithful to tradition and effective in instructing the laity, it must do much more than say, “Don’t use artificial contraception.”  It msut present an entire Catholic way of life.  God did not say “Thous shalt not use artificial contraception,” He said, “Be fruitful and multiply.”  In the last year of his pontificate (1958), Pope Pius XII delivered a beautiful “Address to Large Families” which extols a genuinely Catholic family life.  Thus we see an unbroken line of teaching lasting from Adam right up to our own lifetimes, a line which was not continued in Humanae Vitae

3.  The Church possesses an intellectual inheritance consisting of a coherent philosophy based on a solid foundation in Natural Law, a foundation whose removal threatens every aspect of the Church’s teaching.  Liberal critics claimed with reason that the encyclical bypassed appeals to Scripture and Tradition while attempting to establish its teachings on a natural law basis, yet it did not offer coherent natural law arguments.  Although these criticisms may have sometimes had less than sincere motives, in justice we msut admit that they are valid.  We have seen in actual practice the way in which the loss of credibility on this issue has undermined the Church’s credibility on every issue.  That historical fact is not in dispute.  But the often-noted exterior and visible loss of faith in the authority of the Church is in reality the outward manifestation of a philosophical crisis [ED – and a crisis of Faith].

4. “The salvation of souls is the ultimate rule.”  When we see hundreds of millions of Catholics rejecting this teaching of the Church and falling into a state of mortal sin that leads to eternal damnation, how can our hearts not burn within us with zeal to save these unfortunate souls?  When millions of Catholics stand upone the edge of a precipice ready to fall over into perdition, something must be done to save them; we cannot claim to be satisfied with the status quo.  Although we say that the circumstances demand drastic action, hey can never demand anything immoral or un-Catholic, no matter what outcome we desire.  But could there possibly be anything immoral or un-Catholic about returning to Tradition?  Could it be immoral or un-Catholic to teach what St. Paul taught, what St. Augustine taught, what St. Thomas Acquinas taught, what Pope Pius XI taught?  Would not, in fact, a return to Tradition be the only moral and Catholic course of action, and the only course of action with any hope of success for the salvation of souls?

It’s hard to understand what it was about Mr. Galvin’s article that caused such a firestorm of criticism from other, frequently orthodox, Catholics.  In all of the rebuttals of Mr. Galvin, most of them contained ad hominems galore and those that did not answered with this: so what?  So what if Humanae Vitae minimizes Tradition and Scripture for personalist and consequentialist arguments?  Mr. Galvin argues that the results are plain to see – the Authority of the Church has been fatally undermined.

I pray some folks will take the time to read the article, it’s linked at the bottom of this post.  I hope Steve B. will offer some comments.  Having spent some time having read Mr. Galvin’s articles, some of his other work, and the criticisms of his arguments, I think he’s got a strong point.  Something happened in the Church around that 1960’s timeframe.  In 1965, the average Catholic family had 5.5 kids – now, it’s 2.1.  Sunday Mass attendance in the 60’s was about 80% – now it’s about 15-20% in the US, and much lower in Europe.  Heck about 30% of Catholics don’t even believe in the Ressurection (which begs the question – why are you Catholic?).  And as the recent survey of religious attitudes revealed, less than half of Catholics feel their religion is important to them. Yes some other Churches have seen similar declines, but other churches, especially Bible-based evangelical churches, have seen tremendous growth during the same time frame. 

I will likely post more on this in ensuing days – this post is already long enough.  This is a complex subject, dealing with core areas of the Authority of the Church – Scripture, Tradition, and the consist philosophy that should derive from that. 

Please comment.  I think this is a subject that deserves more discussion in the Church.

Article below: