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This is awesome! August 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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I love religious, but I really love nuns.  I don’t know why, but a contemplative nun just gives me goosebumps with their witness and lives of sacrifice.

h/t crescat

Why so many extraordinary eucharistic ministers August 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, silliness.
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A writer for the Daily Telegraph in Britain wants to know:

The thing I really noticed, though, was the sheer number of people who stand around giving out Holy Communion in some Catholic parishes. In the Church of England, they’re called “Eucharistic ministers”. Now Catholics seem to have adopted this term, and the practice as well.

What’s the point of all these assistants? The Catholic Church does allow for what it calls an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, in cases when the priest is not available. But there is absolutely no need to have five extra ministers, giving Holy Communion under both kinds, as I saw this morning in an ordinary parish church, two thirds full, with a perfectly capable parish priest.

I can’t help thinking all these ministers are there just to give the more assertive parishioners something to do – so that they feel as though they’re joining in. I should think the priest is often bullied into allowing it, and daren’t refuse. As for ordinary Catholics, most of them probably find the extra helpers irritating, but are too polite to say.

Parish priests should resist this expansion in ministers of Communion.

I have seen, at some local parishes, as many as 16 “extraordinary” ministers of Communion.  When the Vatican first allowed an indult for this practice, and still today, it saw it as an emergency (an extraordinary) provision for situations where there were either so many people that the priest (and deacons) could not provide Communion in a reasonable timeframe, or where the priest was unable for some reason to serve.  In virtually every parish in the United States today, however, the use of these “extraordinary ministers” has become ridiculously ordinary, to a point where people seem to insist they have a right to serve Communion, even if there are so many that half of them never hand over a single species of the Blessed Sacrament. 

A side issue to this: at daily Mass, would it be better to forego the Precious Blood rather than have extraordinary ministers serve it?  I guess what I’m getting at is, is this continued regular use of “extraordinary” ministers a good for the Church, long term?  What goodo does it provide?

In other news, CCHD still funding pro-abort, Marxist groups August 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, North Deanery, scandals.
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Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic has the scoop.  In addition to the 51 “problematic” groups found last year receiving funds from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the USCCB intended to promote “social justice,” 16 more new groups have been found that primarily support abortion, but also other things contrary to the Faith.  Most of these groups were present at something called US Social Forum 2010, where attendees were participating in numerous workshops promoting (what else!) Marxism, a radical view of homosexual rights, and abortion.  Some of the workshops included:

Maintaining abortion as a reproductive right for low-income women (think about that – a RIGHT)
Reproductive Justice 101
Why Capitalism is Orgainzed Crime and Socialism is the Alternative
Radical Queer Festivals
Queer Injustice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States
Young People and Sex Ed: Sexual Education Reproductive Justice (tell me they’re not targetting our kids – how many “educators in attendance?)

There is literally tons more at the link.  There are presently 62 problem groups funded by CCHD, taking  money from faithful Catholics during the Thanksgiving week collection and funneling it to organizations that routinely advocate for a culture directly antithetical to the Catholic Faith.  When I covered this last winter, I pretty much came to the conclusion that CCHD is fundamentally flawed in its design and intent and should be shut down.  This additional information only strengthens that belief.  In the current culture, Marxism (directly opposed by the Church) is wedded inexorably to those promoting “social justice.”  From its very inception by Saul Alinsky and others, the “social justice” movement has been a fringe, far-left wing movement oriented towards the creation of a Marxist socio-political system in this country.  The social justice movement is also inseparably wedded to the whole panoply of left wing social and moral “causes”, such as advancement of abortion as a right, enshrining rights for gay sex into law through marriage, etc,. very graphic and disturbing “sex education” for children intended to separate sex from any kind of moral viewpoint, and free condoms for all!   “Social justice” and marxism, abortion as a right, etc., are so inexorably linked that there is no way to separate them.  Thus, even if CCHD defunds all 67 of the “problem organizations” (they’ve defunded 5 so far), the problem will still remain.  The next  year, or the year after that, a whole new crop of “problem organizations” will show up. It’s less a problem of occasional screw ups, “accidentally” funding groups with agendas hostile to the Doctrine of the Faith – it’s a systemic problem that can never be eliminated with CCHD as presently construed.

This is why I continue to advocate that all faithful Catholics very prayerfully consider whether they can continue to support CCHD in any way.  Bear in mind, while there is a “CCHD collection” every year, monies for CCHD come from other sources as well, including diocesan “assessments” of local parish funds, Bishop’s annual appeals, and directly from operating budgets.   While the main goal of the “Reform CCHD Now” coalition is just that, reform, I do not see how reform can be successful without a virtual implosion of CCHD as presently constructed.  The “problems” are just too systemic to get around through a few changes here and there.

Am I being too harsh?  Should “social justice,” meaning advocating for empowerment of the poor through confiscatory taxation and redistribution of wealth, be the primary goal of a Catholic organization?  Can such an organization conduct this mission without engaging in activities that run counter to the Doctrine of the Faith?  And why is Bishop Gumbleton still taken seriously by anyone?!?

The Lord works in mysterious ways August 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, The Imitation of Christ.
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Serendipity?  I was reading about St. Catherine of Siena last night, and about some of the severe temptations she went through about midway through her life.  The serendipity comes in from a reading I did today, in My Daily Bread by Fr. Anthony Paone.   Interestingly enough, the reading was on just this subject.

Chapter 60  Evil Thoughts


1. My child, do not be troubled if you are visited by evil tendencies or strange imaginings.  Keep your resolutions firm and your intention clear before Me.  You are not suffering from illusions, even though at one moment you are full of spiritual desires and joy, and then shortly afterwards you are back in your foolish ways.  Some of your defects are to be borne patiently for My sake.  I will not hold them against you.  In fact, they bring  you great merit as long as you are truly displeased with them and refuse to consent to them. 

2. I premit the devil to wander over the earth.  He is continually trying to kill your desire for MeHe tries in many different ways to draw you away from every holy exercise.  He can hurt you only if you follow his suggestions.  In his attempts to draw you away from Me, he studies you to see where you are weakest.

3. Satan suggests evil thoughts to cause weariness or despair in you.  He would like to draw you away from all prayer, holy reading, or any good work.  He dreads seeing anyone make a humble confession.  If he could he would stop you from receiving Me in Holy Communion.  And yet, in spite of his frantic and constant efforts against you, he is helpless if you decide to stand by Me, with faith, hope, and love.

4. Despise the enemy, and fear him not.  Fix your attention on your daily occupations.  Follow My words in your daily life.  Seek grace and inspiration by prayer and meditation.  Think often of My life.  Honor My Saints.  Recall and detest your sins.  Watch over your desires, thoughts, and intentions.  Make your resolution, renew them often, and do your best to follow them.  Trust in My wisdom and love for the rest.


I need not think that I am less loyal to our Lord when I have lost that feeling of devotion which I desire to have toward God and His saints.  Holy feelings are a favor which God grants for a moment. They are a short foretaste of heaven.  They are not meant to be a permanent gift in this life. Therefore, I must not depend on them.  My true virtues and merit are best known when those feelings are not present. In everyday, hum-drum activities how well do I fulfill my duties?  What kind of resistance do I offer to my unreasoning tendencies and desires within me?  How devotedly do I try to please God in all things?  The devil has not a chance against me if I am realy doing my best.

So, that’s one thing.  But, then in my reading from The Imitation of Christ today, I was on page 240, and lo, there was a prayer against evil thoughts:

5. O Lord my God, be Thou not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me (Ps 70:12) for various evil thoughts have risen up against me, and great fears afflict my soul.

How shall I pass without hurt?  How shall I overcome them?

Christ: I will go before thee, says He, and will humble the great ones of the earth (Is 45:2).  I will open the gates of the prison and reveal to thee hidden secrets.

Do, Lord, as Thou sayest, and let all these wicked thoughts flee from me before Thy face. This is my hope and my only comfort: to fly to Thee in all tribulations, to confide in Thee, to call on Thee from my heart, and patiently to look for Thy consolations.

For Catherine of Siena, the devil afflicted her with thoughts that all the holy practices she had developed were offending God, and that everything she did was displeasing to Him.  The devil tried to tell her that she should not deny herself food, she should not live like a hermit in a room in her parents house, that she should not practice physical mortification (lashing herself), that all she did offended God, and that she should give up, wear fine clothes, find a man, marry, have children, etc.  The devil filled her mind with sensual images and tempted her to engage in sins of the flesh.  She could not even see her crucifix, the images were so intense.  Finally, she repeated the name of Jesus, and satan was gone.  She spoke with Jesus afterwards, and asked why she had been so tempted.  Jesus told her that he never left her – had he, should have surely failed in the temptations.  He was guarding her heart, and now that she had resisted temptation, He would be even more present in her life, protecting her more.

Why this long exposition, which, hopefully, someone will read?!  We are all tempted.  Some are tempted far more than others.  In many cases, as people draw closer to Christ and lead lives more pleasing to Him, the devil redoubles his efforts to separate those people from God.  That is why priests, bishops, and others in the Church need so many prayers.  They are closer to God, and are often under spiritual assault.  The devil knows that if he can separate a single priest or bishop from the Truth of Christ, he will have many more people in his grasp. 

Pray for your priests.  Pray for your bishop.  Pray that they will always remain steadfast and boldly proclaim the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church.  And “pray that you may not undergo the test. (Matt 26:41)”  If you do, cling to Jesus in all things.

And, I think God is trying to send me a message!  I pray I do His Will in all things.

Why doctrine is important – sin exists August 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, sadness.
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One of the really startling aspects of the post-modern culture that surrounds us is the complete rejection of sin.  I say it is startling because, while I’m sure a natural human impulse, it is so utterly divorced from traditional views of morality that had been extant in the world since some of the earliest civilizations.  I don’t think it is an exaggeration today to say that the vast majority of people in modern, Western-type cultures have only the vaguest notion of sin, and many reject any notion of sin outright.  Certainly, many of our cultural elites reject sin on the whole.  We even have many voices in the Church that seem to all but ignore sin, to pretend that it does not exist. 

This points towards why some view doctrine as being so pliable.  If sin does not really exist, if virtually everyone will be saved (after all, it’s not like I’ve killed anyone), then what matters doctrine?  If sin is just an ancient/medieval construct, then who cares what one believes about abortion, or contraception, or gay marriage, or the Real Presence – we’re all saved, Jesus was a good guy, whatevs.   But is this a realistic expectation?

New Theological Movement, a really good site dedicated to Thomist faith and reason, examines this question in light of this last Sunday’s (Ordinary Form) Gospel, Luke 13:22-30.  Quoting Luke:

Someone asked Jesus, ‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?’ He answered them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

New Liturgical Movement continues:

Today, it is the common opinion of the affluent countries of the west, that all (or nearly all) people will be saved. This view is, however, contrary to the estimation of the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Moreover, Christ himself tells us that only a few will be saved. Many will attempt to enter the gates of heaven, but will not. The way to heaven is narrow and few find it (cf. Mt 7:13-14). These words are difficult for the modern world to accept, precisely because the modern world refuses to admit the reality and gravity of sin. If there is no real sin (and no serious sin), then clearly there is no hell. But if sin is real and can be serious, then it can also be mortal, killing the soul by destroying charity, incurring the punishment of eternal damnation.

Regretfully, these words are not only difficult for our modern culture to accept, they are difficult for many Catholics (and Christians) to accept.  I was reading about St. John Eudes, a great Saint of the Church, and how lived in great terror that he would be found wanting and would spend eternity in hell.  This was a man who labored mightily for the Church and served as a priest, missionary, founder of religious orders, and author of Propers for the Mass and prayers of the Divine Office.  And, until a few minutes prior to his death, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, he lived in fear that he had lived a sinful life and would be damned.  Such was the common sense of sin among the faithful at that time. 

Some may ask why I strive to define the Doctrine of the Faith in such unyielding terms.  It is because sin exists.  Evil exists.  I have felt it, I have been held in sins cold grasp.  I have been spiritually dead, cut off from God’s Grace.  I fear mightily for those who may be cut off from God’s Grace through their sinful acts and not even know it, because of bad formation or those in the Church, who out of accomodation with the world or their own bad formation or a sentimental wish not to be “too hard,” have led them to believe that they can do or believe almost anything without offending God.  This is not how God has planned Salvation.  This view of the path to Salvation  is not my opinion.  I am not so bold as to think I could somehow state definitively what God Wills on a subject like this.  This is the opinion of the great Doctors and Saints of the Church, and has been the Doctrine of the Church from its inception. 

As New Liturgical Movement reminds in another great post – hell is forever.  We bear a responsibility to our fellow man to inform Him of the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church as fully and faithfully, even as stridently as we can, within the bounds of Charity. 

Hell is eternal on account of the grave offence which sin is against God. The gravity of punishment is not determined so much by the duration of the sin (most sins only last a moment, but hell is eternal), rather the punishment is determined by the malice in the soul of the sinner and the infinite good of the God who is offended. Thus, since mortal sin kills the soul by annihilating charity and offends God by completely severing any supernatural bond to him in love, such sin requires an eternal punishment. This punishment is the pains of hell (both the despair of the soul who has no hope and the physical pains of fire and ice).

You really should go read the rest. 

He’s talking about me! August 24, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic, silliness.
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Intolerant hate filled anti-semitic – yep, been called all three – and recently!  Yay me!

h/t CMR