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If you want to send your kids to Catholic college…. September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, sickness.
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……scratch Georgetown off your list.   A Jesuit, which I’m beginning to wonder if that is still a Catholic order, priest, professor, and out n’ proud homosexual (how is he still a priest?) at Georgetown is one of the founders of the catholyc group “Catholycs for Equality.”

I have heard so many very bad things about the Jesuits over the past few years.  I know of only a very few good Jesuits.  In the history of the Church, orders have sometimes been abandoned because they lost their way.  Anything is possible for the Holy Spirit, but who will He find to do the work of reform?

Russian Orthodox playing games? September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, Society.
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I reported earlier that both the Vatican and representatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the symbolic head of the Orthodox Church were claiming that talks on reunification were going very well.  Today, the Russian Orthodox Church vehemently denied these claims, and completely made up the claim that for the first 1000 years of the Church, prior to the Great Schism of East and West, the Pope never, ever had any authority in the East.  From everything I have read on the early Church fathers, this is completely false and a ridiculous, unsupportable statement to make.  I am severely dismayed. 

The Russian Orthodox Church said on Tuesday there was no “breakthrough” at a Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue meeting in Vienna last week that ended with reports of promising progress on the thorny issue of the role of the Catholic pope. The statement may be more interesting for what it doesn’t say than what it does. It’s not clear which reports Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the “foreign minister” of the Moscow Patriarchate, was referring to when he said that “contrary to allegations in the press, the Orthodox-Catholic Commission meeting in Vienna has made no ‘breakthrough’ whatsoever.”

Did any media report a breakthrough? Not that I’ve seen. Is it possible that Hilarion was actually referring to the cautiously upbeat statements given at a final news conference by Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon and Archbishop Kurt Koch, the top Vatican official for Christian unity?

Hilarion was in Vienna last week but did not appear at the news conference. Metropolitan John, who spoke for the Orthodox side, is affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, the spiritual leader of all Orthodox which Moscow seems to compete with for a leadership role. Could this have played a part?

The issue was the role the pope played in the millennium before the Great Schism of 1054. At the 2007 dialogue meeting in Ravenna, the Orthodox confirmed that the pope, as the bishop of Rome, was traditionally the first of the five ancient patriarchs. At the news conference in Vienna, the two delegation heads said that Catholics and Orthodox could eventually come to see themselves as “sister churches” if they could agree to translate that traditional role of the pope into a modern understanding of how the churches related to each other.

In his statement, Hilarion said:  “For the Orthodox participants, it is clear that in the first millennium the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome was exercised only in the West, while in the East, the territories were divided between four Patriarchs – those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.”

“The bishop of Rome did not exercise any direct jurisdiction in the East in spite of the fact that in some cases Eastern hierarchs appealed to him as arbiter in theological disputes. These appeals were not systematic and can in no way be interpreted in the sense that the bishop of Rome was seen in the East as the supreme authority in the whole Universal Church. It is hoped that at the next meetings of the Commission, the Catholic side will agree with this position which is confirmed by numerous historical evidence.”

This statement is completely false.  The Pope was always viewed as the head of the Church, and although there were always attempts in the Greek church to usurp this role, for the first 1000 years of the Church the Primacy of the See of Peter was clear.  When the East repeatedly fell into heresy after about AD 350, it was the West, and, in particular, Rome, that would have to set things straight again.  Saying that the East just appealed to Rome occasionally to answer some questions is ridiculous – the entire Church, including the frequently wayward Greek Church, constantly referred to Rome on core issues of doctrine, recognizing the See of Peter as the final source of Authority in the Church.  I find this claim completely flabbergasting, and it calls into question both the integrity of Hilarion and the entire motives of the Russian Orthodox Church in these talks.  It’s like saying Peter wasn’t the head of the apostles, he was just a guy that Jesus talked with sometimes. 

I am forced to wonder if the Russian Church hasn’t simply been playing up the prospects of some ecumenical advance in order to wrangle from the Catholic Church more concessions on issues like whether many Churches in Russia should be returned to Catholic ownership, and how far Catholic evangelization efforts in countries like the Ukraine can advance.  It would be very disappointing to see that all this talk about a potential reunion wasn’t just a cynical exercise in realpolitick by the Russian Church.  But it would not be the first time.  There have been a half dozen or more occasions where the Eastern, and Russian church in particular, seemed to make overtures towards reunion, and they always collapsed.  Am I learning why?

A good night out – see Sarah Palin and raise money to stop abortion September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese.
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Whether you love her or hate her, there is no doubt that Sarah Palin is now one of the most influential personalities in American politics.  A group called Heroic Media is hosting Mrs. Palin in Dallas at the Majestic Theater on Wednesday, November 10 at 6 pm.  They have a range of ticket options – $50 for general admission, $100 for preferred seating, going up to $25,000 for a personal meet and greet, which is really more tempting than it should be for me.  I have no idea why that might be……

Here’s the Catholic angle – Heroic Media raises money to engage in pro-life advertising, specifically targeting women who may be contemplating abortion.  Billboards, magazine ads, etc.   So, even if you find Sarah Palin the most dangerous woman in America, you might still want to go just to help the pro-life cause.  Me, I think she’s pretty good, though she’s showed some questionable judgement at times regarding political endorsements.  But, I also recognize that she is a captivating speaker and someone who holds views that align pretty well with Catholic moral doctrine, especially that regarding life issues.  This isn’t my kind of gig, but I’d still consider going to see her speak and help out this pro-life media effort.  Anyone that can field dress a caribou on the Alaskan tundra deserves some respect, and not the weird violence tinged sexkitten fantasies projected on her by the left.

So, there you go.  I wonder if my wife would consider the $25,000 as an investment in my future political career…….

St. Augustine on sin September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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I’ve been reading St. Augustine’s Confessions.  St. Augustine was pretty hard on himself in that book…..I’m afraid my past makes his look pretty tame.  Seeing how his sins grieved him, even many years later, I should probably don sackcloth and ashes permanently.  Would it be wrong for me to wear a rough brown wool or burlap accoutrement like the Franciscans did/do?  Anyways, St. Augustine on different types of sin, from Book III Chapter 8:

Surely it is never wrong at any time or in any place for a man to love God with his whole heart and his whole soul and his hole mind and to love his neighbor as himself [Matt 22:37, 39]?  Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment wherever and whenever they are committed.  If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s Law, for our Maker did not prescirbe that we should use each other in that way.  In fact, the relationship which we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is the Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.

On the other hand, offenses against human codes of conduct vary according to differences of custom, so that no one, whether he is a native or a foreigner, may, to suit his own pleasure, violate the conventions established by the customary usage of the law of the community or the state…..But if God commands a nation to do something contrary to its customs or constitutions, it must be done even if it has never been doine in that country before. 

I find some obvious interest in the first paragraph, where St. Augustine establishes that sins against nature, such as homosexual acts or abortion or the use of contraception, are always and everywhere wrong, because they pervert the order of our human nature, given to us by the God who loved us into being.  God killed Onan for the sin of coitus interruptus, withdrawing rather than impregnating his deceased brother’s wife – the first Biblical prohibition against the use of contraception, because he perverted the nature of a human act, coitus, in order to avoid an outcome he did not like.  In our present culture, it is these sins that are most prevalent, and most tolerated, by the culture – we have essentially re-written the laws of man to be in violation of the laws of God in many cases.

St. Augustine’s decrying sodomy and other un-natural acts are interesting given the context of his times.  Roman culture borrowed much from ancient Greece, including a culture that at the least tolerated pederasty and other homosexual acts, most typically between men.  While a number of prominent individuals in Roman society from the time of the Republic until the Empire became overtly Chrisitan decried these homosexual acts, there was little headway made in curtailing them until Christianity spread and rose in influence.  St. Augustine is advocating the typical belief held by all Christian thinkers from Apostolic times, that sexual acts between males (and woman lying with woman) were always and everywhere wrong – no matter if the dominant partner (top?) was a very powerful person and the submissive (bottom?) was the lowest of slaves – status did not matter, custom did not matter, culture did not matter – these acts were always and everywhere wrong because they pervert human nature and violated God’s clearly written law.  Other early Doctors agree, including Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria.  Certainly, I think the very clear writings of the early Church fathers should weigh heavily in current day considerations with regard to homosexual activism.  There is nothing new under the sun.

What is most interesting to me, however, is the bit about countries changing their laws to conform to the Law of God.  I do not know that this has ever been achieved in practice – perhaps during the Carolingian Empire?  This gets back to Voris’ exhortation on truly Catholic government – which he identified as a very benevolent Catholic monarchy.  Can such a thing really exist in a world filled with incredibly sinful men like me?

More like this – Bishop leads Eucharistic Procession to abortion mill September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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We need much more like this.  This is the kind of bold, public exhibition of the Faith that can make a significant difference in the culture and immensely strengthen our identity as Catholics:

In time for the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota presided over an annual Mass and led a procession over 700 people to a local abortion clinic last Sunday, encountering oppositional protestors for the first time.The Diocese of Fargo estimated that on Sunday, 700 to 800 people from St. Mary’s Cathedral processed to the local Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion facility in downtown Fargo. Director of Communications for the diocese Tanya R. Watterud told CNA that Bishop Aquila led the procession several blocks, carrying a monstrance with Blessed Sacrament and also sprinkling the clinic with holy water amidst pro-abortion demonstrators.

During his homily at the Mass preceding the procession, Bishop Aquila stated that the purpose of the event was “to give witness to the gift of life and particularly the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

We currently have the 40 days for life ongoing in the Dallas Diocese.  This is one of the two biggest pro-life events of the year, the other being the very sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  There is going to be a priest, Fr. Alphonse Nazzarro out at 40 days for life today at noon (Wednesday, Sept. 29), and that is a great thing.  It could perhaps be even greater if we had Bishop Farrell leading a procession to an abortion mill, a Eucharistic or Marian Procession, during this event.  That is something I think many area Catholics would be very glad to participate in.  I think when we see priests, and especially bishops, leading these kinds of efforts, it shows to the faithful the very high priority we should place on the moral doctrine of the Faith, and gives witness to the role it should play in our lives.

I pray we see more priests, religious, and bishops involved in publically proclaiming the Faith through word and action.

h/t Abbey Roads