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Caritas supports UN fund for contraception, abortion September 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, General Catholic, scandals.
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Sheesh, it’s getting harder and harder to find a decent Catholic charity to support (not really).  Caritas has announced a major effort to support the United Nations Millenium Develpment Goals.  What do those goals include?  Well, two are problematic – the promotion of the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS (which doesn’t work), and “universal access to reproductive health,” including expanding the use of contraceptives and increasing funding for “family planning.”  If you’ve been involved in pro-life work for any amount of time, you know that “family planning” is a euphemism for abortion. 

Sorry to say, but the UN is completely dominated by the left, generally the far left.  Leftism and contraception/abortion are inseparable to an extent that the terms are virtually oxymoronic.  Virtually any program allied with the UN will include support for these sacred shibolleths of the left. Caritas, I am quite certain in a genuine desire to do good, has overlooked or chosen to ignore that they will be aiding an effort that seeks to spend member state funds (including your tax dollars, and mine), as well as individual donations on efforts contrary to the Doctrine of the Church.  Once again, we see a Catholic charity, likely from very good motives, taking an action at odds with what the Church teaches on moral issues. 

Note, the above applies to Caritas International.  I am not certain how Caritas shares funding, so donations to your local Caritas may not go to this kind of effort, but I would carefully review your local Caritas website or any other information you can find if you do not want any of your donation, even a small amount, going to fund abortion and/or contraception.

Some sharp looking priests! September 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery.
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Check out these videos from FSSP!  Fr. Longua and Fr. Wolfe at Mater Dei in Dallas are FSSP priests, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.  They celebrate Mass according to the Extraordinary Form.  What a bunch of sharp looking young men! 

How about all those cassocks!  I’m giddy!  Jump rope and baseball in a cassock!  See, you can do just about anything in clerics, real, awesome clerics like a cassock! 

I repeat my standing offer to any priest to purchase them cassock/biretta whenever desired.

The forbidden subject? September 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals.
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I’ve blogged before that there seem to be certain subjects that just aren’t talked about in the Church anymore.  In the past, I’ve listed contraception, divorce and remarriage, and the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality as some of those subjects.  Recently, I’ve been heartened by one priest in the diocese that has addressed all of these subjects boldly and clearly.  There is another subject, however, that I think is even more taboo, that is almost embarrassing for many priests, and bishops, to discuss.  Even the Holy Father has addressed the subject only sparingly in his Pontificate.  That subject is judgement and hell.  No one likes to think about it, but we are doing ourselves a disservice trying to ignore it and pretend it does not exist.  From the periodical Les Femmes- The Truth:

The failure of our shepherds to preach about hell is ironic since Jesus talked about it so often. A word count is tough because he used so many different ways to address the subject. He referred to Gehenna and the place of “unquenchable fire.” In the sermon on the mount Jesus warns against actions that make one “liable to judgment” who “risks the fires of Gehenna. He told them to pluck out the eye and hand that sins rather than enter hell with a whole body. He warned that the “gate that leads to damnation is wide and the road is clear, and many choose to travel it.” Chapter 5 and 6 of Matthew’s Gospel are filled with the discussion of hell and the sins that lead one there along with exhortations to choose the “narrow path” that leads to eternal life.

In the parable of Dives and Lazarus, Jesus used a conversation between Father Abraham and the rich man to illustrate the chasm between heaven and hell. Dives begs for relief because he is “tortured in these flames…a place of torment.” But Abraham refuses. There is no relief from the unquenchable fire.

Over and over throughout the Gospels Jesus speaks of hell. He used the image of Gehenna as a grapic representation. Gehenna was a valley near Jerusalem where followers of Baal and Molech performed their grisly human sacrifices. Later it was the city inferno where

corpses and garbage were burnt. It was a place of horror and death. Jesus, an expert at drawing graphic images to touch the heart offered Gehenna as one of them.

The Blessed Mother also speaks of hell often during her apparitions. She told Jacinta, one of the three little shepherd children of Fatima, that “More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” She also showed the children a vision of sinners “falling into hell like snowflakes…………”

The problem is many people don’t believe it. They’ve bought the lie of universal salvation and believe God offers cheap grace: sin with no punishment, heaven without repentance. It’s up to the shepherds to correct this false idea and instill their people with a healthy “fear of the Lord,” the beginning of wisdom.

Hell is real.  Evil is real.  Both my wife and I have had real experiences with evil that is beyond the realm of what is natural or can be accounted by human reason.  I know that while I was still mired in active addiction, I was bound for hell, and I have a pretty strong fear of hell on an ongoing basis.  The more I read the great saints of the Church, the more I realize how real hell is, and how strenuously so many saints strived to avoid it, and to warn others to change their lives and seek Christ above all things. 

This life is illusory.  We think all this crude matter which surrounds us is so real, and while it is to our limited human faculties,  that which we cannot see is far, far more real, and it is eternal.  Providentially, Fr. Larry Adamcyzk has touched on the subject of judgement recently, and I suggest you read what he wrote here and here.  New Theological Movement discusses it here and here I beg priests to speak regularly on the subject of the four last things: death, judgement, heaven, and hell.  As St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church, said, we should hear on this subject regularly, at least several times a year.  Far too many Catholics lead lives mired in great sin, and more troublingly reject whole swaths of the declared doctrine of the Faith.  The Catechism states that hell is real and is eternal.  This is not a “debatable” point of Church theology. 

Jesus said that many choose the seemingly easier path towards hell and damnation.  He said few make it through the Gates of Heaven.  So many in the Church today seem to think that is not the case, they seem to think that Jesus is a really cool guy, he’s your bud, and you’ll get by no matter what you do.  After all, it’s not like you’ve killed anyone, right? 

The saints lives make such a lie of that kind of thinking.  I pray I am leading a life at least somewhat pleasing to God, and I am very confident that my best option is a very long time in Purgatory.  I know I could do much better.  I pray God gives me more time to grow in love for Him.

Adult Faith Formation classes at St. Mark September 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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Want to grow in your faith?  Want to learn more?  St. Mark in Plano has Adult Faith Formation classes starting up on Sunday, Sept. 12.  There are three different classes available:

Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith, in the parish library at 9:00 am on Sundays, taught by Danny and Elizabeth Muzyka

This class will use the Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith book by John Salza for source material.

The Catechism for Adults, same time I believe, not sure on teachers

The Biblical Basis for the Eucharist – the class you REALLY want to be in, taught by Steve Boor and Larry Roach, 7 pm Sundays in library

Seriously, this class will be really good.  Steve and I have been in the class or teaching it for two years, and it’s alot of fun.  You will learn tons.  We’re using the John Salza book ‘Biblical Basis for the Eucharist’.  Class format is to read some of the book during the week, answer questions put together by Steve and I, and then to meet and discuss.  It’s alot of fun, especially for us instructors!

There is also a great deal of adult Bible study going on at St. Mark.  If I may make a suggestion, attend the Catholic Scripture Study group that meets in the ‘Upper Room’ on Thursday evenings from 7-9 (starting on the 10th) and Fridays at 9:30 (on the 11th).  My wife has been in this group for a while and it has been fantastic.  It’s a pretty in-depth study of Scripture.  This year they are covering Revelation and the Prophets! 

All of the above classes have a small fee for the books.  That is all.  Contact Debbie Betz at 972-423-4715 to sign up.  You do not need to be a St. Mark parishioner to attend these classes.

For more details, read the St. Mark weekly bulletin here.

Mary as Co-Redemptrix September 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic.
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As a former protestant, one of the areas of Catholic theology I’ve struggled with is the area of Mariology.  Since my conversion, I’ve come to completely accept the Incarnation, Assumption, Coronation – every defined dogma regarding Mary.  However, there have been some theologies regarding Mary that are not dogmas that I’ve hard a hard time wrapping my head around.  It took me some time to understand Mary’s role as Mediatrix.  But one aspect of Mariology I’ve never understood or been able to accept is the idea of Mary as Co-Redemptrix.   Thanks to St. Lawrence of Brindisi, that may be beginning to change.  St. Lawrence’s amazingly deep and advanced theology (written 400 years ago) develops the idea of Mary as the New Eve to it’s logical conclusion, and insists that since our relationship with God was broken by Eve’s first sin, there had to be a feminine component to Redemption. From St. Lawrence’s Mariale:

Through the first woman and the first man the world was condemned; through the second Man and the second woman is was saved. Thus the principle of our reparation corresponds wonderfuly with the principle of our ruin.  As then a demon in the bodily form of a serpent was sent by the devil to lead Eve astray, who was at that time both a virgin and espoused to a man, so an angel was sent by God in bodily guise to Mary, likewise a virgin and spouse. And as Eve, by giving ear to the serpent, became the origin of our fall, so Mary – by believing the angel- became the origin of our restoration.  The former inaugurated sin and death; the latter inaugurated grace and life. Through the former we lost the earthly paradise; through the latter, we gained the heavenly paradise.

This is an approach I can get my head around.  I’ll have to ruminate on this more, but St. Lawrence’s analysis is a means for me to understand this view of Co-Redemption.  I know very many Catholics support this notion of Mary as Co-Redemptrix, but the Church has been hesitant to define Mary as such due to ecumenical objections.  That’s a silly reason not to define a dogma, and it reveals to me a shocking lack of Faith – if Mary is Co-Redemptrix, it is the Church’s duty to proclaim her such.  But, then, I know the Church moves very slowly in these areas, and perhaps they were just giving me a chance to catch up – hah!

One little note – I love Mary, I pray the Rosary daily, I say prayers for her intercession very regularly, but for some reason I do not have the ‘connection’ with Her that I do with St. Joseph.  St. Joseph has been huge for me – he helped me out of addiction, he has continued to aid me tremendously in spiritual growth, and I feel a very tangible closeness with him.  That may sound odd, I don’t know, but perhaps because I’m a man, husband, and father, I just feel a closeness with good St. Joseph that I feel I should have with Mary but I’m not sure I do.  Anyway…..just one of those random observations I’m so fond of.


An indication of the trouble we’re headed for – UPDATED! September 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, Society.
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In many respects, Britain has been and remains a “cultural leader” for the United States.  While we certainly cast off the shackles of a distant monarchy long ago, Britain in many respects continues to serve as a sort of sneak peek of where the United States is headed, culturally.  I don’t want to take the analogy too far, but I think there is some merit in looking at Britain for a view of what the future of the United States could likely be.  Especially in terms of the growing power of centralized government and the devolvement of a free society into one of government over-reach in all areas of life, but especially in the areas of socialist politico-economic policies and invasion of privacy.  In addition to this, of course, is the slow slide of a country away from faith in God and towards a slouching paganism. 

Naturally, I have a case in point.  Via Fr. Z, comes a story from the socialist Guardian reporting comments by an aid to the Archbishop of Westminster, the lead bishop in England, decrying the current culture in Britain. 

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster has distanced himself from an aide who said gay rights and the commercialisation of sex had turned Britain into a “selfish, hedonistic wasteland” and “the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death”.

The comments from Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs at the diocese of Westminster and an adviser to the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, have angered gay rights and secularists groups and provoked embarrassment among the Catholic hierarchy weeks before the pope visits Britain.

Senior figures, including Lord Patten of Barnes, have been keen to stress that the UK, while secular, is not anti-Catholic and that the pope is not flying into hostile territory.

Adamus told the Catholic news agency Zenit there was an “aggressive anti-Catholic bias towards the church and the pontiff” in this country that exceeded even countries that violently persecuted Christians.

“Historically, and continuing right now, Britain, and in particular, London, has been and is the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death.

“Our laws and lawmakers for over 50 years or more have been the most permissively anti-life and progressively anti-family and marriage, in essence one of the most anti-Catholic landscapes, culturally speaking, than even those places where Catholics suffer open persecution.”

He also talked about marriage and the role of men and women, urging Catholics to “exhibit counter-cultural signals against the selfish, hedonistic wasteland that is the objectification of women for sexual gratification.”

“Britain in particular, with its ever-increasing commercialisation of sex, not to mention its permissive laws advancing the ‘gay’ agenda, is such a wasteland.”

A spokesman for Nichols said the views expressed by Adamus “did not reflect the archbishop’s opinions”.

Ben Summerskill, from the gay rights group Stonewall, said the comments were “gratuitously offensive”.

He told the Independent: “The gratuitously offensive comments being made by the archbishop’s adviser are hardly likely to promote sensitive debate about respect for religion in the 21st century. You would think that, given its present status, the Roman Catholic church in Britain would be slightly more sensitive about wagging its finger at other people.

I don’t think anyone with a serious practice of the Christian faith can disagree with the aide’s comments.  I’ve been to Britain in the last several years, and it’s so sad as to be pathetic.  Huge, glorious churches are all but empty, even on Sunday.  We were in Britain for the Feast of the Visitation and there were about 25 people in the Brompton Oratory, one of the most famous Catholic Churches in Britain, for Mass that day.  Almost all the great churches operate more as museums than as places of worship, requiring fees for admittance and serving far more to gawking tourists than to the practice of the Faith. 

I find that last comment very troubling.  It’s not just that the practice of the Christian faith has been completley abandoned by the large majority of Britons – it is that they are coming to view the practice of the Faith as something strange and dangerous, something not to be tolerated.  That is, the view of this admittedly very secular person is such that the views of the world are all that matter, secular society has utterly won, and you churchy people better be careful or we’re not even going to allow you to go in their to have a very quiet service on Sunday.  I think there is a very strong probability that this country is headed in a similar direction, just lagging a few decades of decay behind.  With the gay “marriage” issue, once the courts over-ride the popular will (and even this will is fading), and as “hate crimes” legislation continues to spread and affect the judicial system through precedence, it will become more and more difficult to lead a public faith.  In Canada, until the Orwellian “human rights commisions” were finally defeated in the courts, a pastor could not publically denounce any kind of behavior that some favored group might enjoy.  Of course, that was not until a number of Christian’s lives had been utterly ruined, and the public practice of the faith in Canada was knocked back about 10 notches.  Heads they win, tails we lose. 

Then there’s the entire issue of Archbishop Nichols of Westminster (the primate, if you will, of England), not just saying that the aide speaks for himself and not for the diocese, but stating that he disagrees with what the aide said.  How he disagrees, we don’t know, but I would find it far more reassuring, heck, inspiring, to hear an Archbishop speak like that aide did, instead of throwing him under the bus and trying to keep his elite liberal credentials intact.

UPDATE: Think I’m exaggerating with the state of the culture in Britain?  A professor there just advocated forced sterilization of the “morally and mentally ‘unfit.'”  Wow, look at the wondrously benevolent nature of the secular culture!  Isn’t that great?  And forced sterilization has such a lovely precendent, doesn’t it?

Blessed Clemens von Galen, descendent of a great Teutonic Knight, pray for us!