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Good religious orders to support – UPDATED! March 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, religious.
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I’ve argued many times in the past that, if you want things to change in your parish, starting with withholding the tithe is a necessary first step.  One can always go to another parish if so called, but if  you’re committed to a given parish, reducing or eliminating one’s contributions, with a note in the basket explaining why, can be a powerful tool to encourage reform.  But many ask – we’re still required to tithe, what shall we do with the money?  I have, for this reason, come up with a list of religious orders eminently worthy of your support.  These are listed in no real order, just more or less how they come to my mind:

Knights of the Holy Eucharist

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal – see the bottom for donations (Ft. Worth Friary)

Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word

Dominicans Sisters of St. Cecilia (Nashville Dominicans)

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (famous on Oprah)

Dominicans of Summit, NJ

My favorite – Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles (Missouri)  These beautiful ladies strongly support the Traditional Mass and make vestments for FSSP priests

Speaking of FSSP: Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri

Benedictine Nuns of Rio Grande City, TX (e-mail to donate)

Carmelite Monks of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Wyoming) – you may have drank their coffee – they have tonsures!

Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (Christoval, TX)  Original Carmelites, not Discalced

Discalced Carmelites of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Joseph (Dallas, TX)  Donations should be made in person at 600 Flowers Ave in Dallas or you can contact by fax at 214-623-1885.  Please help these good nuns.

Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Most Holy Trinity (Arlington, TX)

Cistercians of Our Lady of Dallas

Cistercians of Spring Bank

Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

Passionist Nuns of St. Joseph (Kentucky)

Fathers of Mercy

Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph (Tehachapi, CA – mail to donate)

Home of the Mother

Servants of the Lord and the Holy Mother of Matera

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration – Hanceville, AL – Donate via EWTN

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration – Canton, OH

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration – San Antonio

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration – Arizona

Poor Clares (Brenham, TX)

Franciscan Brothers Minor Our Lady of the Angels Friary  (Fort Wayne, IN)

School Sisters of St. Francis (Panhandle, TX – about 20 miles ENE of Amarillo)

Carthusian Monks of Vermont (only Carthusian monastery in the western hemisphere)

UPDATE:  I had forgotten about the cloistered Dominicans in Lufkin, but God, by His Infinite Providence, reminded me today during a visit with some Dominicans from Mina, Nuevo Leon!  You can e-mail the nuns about support with the e-mail address at the bottom of the page linked above.

I’m sure there are many more I’m missing, so please comment and I’ll add them to this list.  I also pray for all of these religious orders every night, so please make me aware of good ones I don’t know about!

Please consider supporting these orders, in your charity!

There’s a substantial gulf…… March 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic.
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………between Russian Orthodoxy and the Barque of Peter, there are substantial truths that don’t exist in that Church, but there is no doubting they know how to celebrate the Liturgy a penetential service (the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete):

Here’s a little excerpt:

Come, wretched soul!
Come with your flesh to the Creator of All!
Make confession to Him, and abstain henceforth from your past brutishness;
And offer to God tears of repentance!

— From the First Canticle

….and they know how to design a church!  I was sad when I tried to look around a local Orthodox church in Richardson at noon on a Thursday and I found it locked up tight.  Jesus should not be locked up and kept in a box all alone.

It’s good to see a pretty fair percentage of younger people at Mass in Moscow.

h/t New Liturgical Movement

Annulment Nation March 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
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There is a pretty good article at Catholic World Report on the very high rates of annulments given in the US compared to the rest of the world.  The ‘official’ reasons cited by Bishop Olmstead and others for this very high rate are really non-sequitirs – they seem to be reaching.   It’s a long article, so here is a little excerpt:

Despite this decline, the United States, with 5.9 percent of the world’s Catholics, still accounts for 60 percent of the Church’s 58,322 declarations of nullity (2007 statistics in the Vatican Secretariat of State’s Statistical Yearbook of the Church). Of the 35,009 declarations of nullity granted in the US, 79 percent were granted through the ordinary process, while 21 percent were granted through the documentary process.

The documentary (administrative) process is used for relatively black-and-white cases, such as those involving defect of form (which occurs when a Catholic is married outside the Church), consanguinity, marriage below the legal age, marriage to a person validly married to another, marriage (under certain circumstances) to one’s abductor or the murderer of one’s spouse, or marriage to clerics or religious not dispensed from their vows. Of the 7,355 declarations of nullity granted in the US by the documentary process, 74 percent were granted for reasons of defect of form.

The ordinary process, on the other hand, entails a trial that determines whether a valid marriage took place. Questions over the validity of consent and over perpetual and antecedent impotence are adjudicated in the ordinary process. On occasion, disputes over defect of form and other impediments to marriage are dealt with in the ordinary process. Of the 27,654 declarations of nullity granted in the US by the ordinary process, 99.6 percent were granted for reasons of defect of consent—the most oft-criticized grounds for annulment.

In the US, 6 percent of ordinary-process cases are renounced by those seeking an annulment, while an additional 6 percent are abated because the parties failed to follow through with the procedural acts necessary for a trial to take place. Of the remaining 88 percent of cases in which sentences are given, 96 percent of sentences are in favor of nullity.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  In any scenario with a 50-50, either/or outcome, results this skewed (96%) are statistically lock solid, incontrovertible evidence of serious bias within the system.  In this case, bias towards being ‘pastoral’ or ‘charitable’ and giving the poor people who have suffered through a divorce what they want, which is another marriage.  It is simply impossible for a truly unbiased system to produce results of this kind over years and years and years of data collection.  Even with some of the reasons cited in the article (US diocese are better equipped than foreign ones to handle annulments, American Catholics want to ‘do the right thing’ by seeking an annulment, the cases are filtered at the parish level so that only those truly meeting the requirements go to tribunal, etc.), it is still, statistically impossible to achieve results so skewed without there being a great bias built into the tribunal process. 

I maintain that it is extremely revealing that these same people who just had a marriage declared invalid based on some deep seated, psychological inability to give full consent to marriage, are allowed to turn right round and marry in the Church again.  That very fact, to me, undermines the credibility of the entire system.

Another poll, more terrible results – UPDATE – I was suckered! March 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, Society.
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Yet another in a seemingly endless parade of polls on gay marriage reveals more bad news for faithful Catholics and the Church as a whole – provided these polls are not being paid for by gay activists to push opinion in the ‘approved’ direction.   But, when repeated polls show the exact same trend, it becomes very difficult to ascribe the results to bias in the polling:

Only 31% of Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly oppose granting legal recognition to homosexual unions, according to a new report by the Public Religion Research Institute. 64% favor some sort of legal recognition of homosexual unions, with 26% favoring same-sex marriage and 38% favoring homosexual civil unions.

Overall, only 22% of Catholics oppose granting legal recognition to homosexual unions. 43% favor same-sex marriage, while 31% favor homosexual civil unions.

Latino Catholics are more likely to be faithful to Church teaching on this issue than are white Catholics. 30% of Latino Catholics oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions; only 19% of white Catholics do. In contrast, 58% of white evangelicals, 52% of black Protestants, and 33% of the general public oppose granting legal recognition to homosexual unions.

Despite the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s clear teaching on the “grave depravity” of homosexual acts, Catholics are less likely than other Americans to believe that homosexual activity is sinful. 56% of Catholics– compared to 46% of the general public– believe that homosexual activity is not a sin.

I have heard from many priests that the fact that Catholics either don’t know, or don’t accept or practice, Church Doctrine, is not their fault.  It is the fault of the culture they are fighting against, of people inundated in a culture of laissez faire sex and indoctrination by media and their cohort.  I believe this data shows that defense to be implausible.  It appears that evangelical Christians, black church pastors etc, are able to explain traditional morality (even with less weight necessarily than official Church Doctrine) in a way that gets far more of their people to accept that morality.  I think the main reason the Church fails at this is because very few priests are willing to engage on these topics.  Either they don’t address these issues at all, or they do so in a rather weak and timid manner, inconsistently, in such a way that fails to convince many to accept the Doctrine. 

It is an unbelievable scandal that the general populace has a firmer grasp on Christian morality than do the members of the Body of Christ.  That is utterly unacceptable, and points to another potential reason why so few Catholics accept this Doctrine – it is because thier priests do not themselves believe it, and so not only never endorse the Doctrine, but actively undermine it.  

Such is the state of the Church today, which we are told by some is a “new springtime” and full of a wonderful ‘spirit’ emanating from the most recent Council.  If there is a spirit prevalent in the Church today, it seems to be the spirit of the world. 

I know this is so very easy for me to say.  So pray for your priests, and pray for them.  And talk to them, and encourage them to speak on ALL issues of Catholic Doctrine.  And help them if they do, for they will surely be waylaid by many Catholics formed by the world and not by the Church.  We’re going to have to do a great deal of work to turn this mess around.  Praying is key, but so is active, concrete dialog with priests everywhere.

UPDATE 03/24/11 16:30: I noted at the beginning of this post that these latest polls might be “push” polls, that is, polls with significant in-built bias in order to create the impression of inevitability on a given issue.  The left has been using these kinds of polls increasingly of late.  Well, it turns out this was a push poll, that it was funded by a pro-gay lobby, and that the results were greatly misrepresented.  There is a still a problem with Catholics accepting Church Doctrine on homosexuality, but not as bad as it was made to appear.  Go to CatholicVote for all the details

These tactics have no place in a representative democracy – a republic.  This path will lead to tyranny of one kind or another.

My wife’s family is awesome March 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, General Catholic.
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There are many reasons why my wife’s family is awesome.  They generally all live in and around the Hill Country, so it gives me an excuse to go frequently to the best place on earth.  They are very good Catholics.  My father in law has 63 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren now.  And they are cuh-uh-uh-untry!  Which I am all about.  So my niece is in 4-H and she welded up an awesome fence gate.  She won first place in the Houston Stock Show:

Way to go, Brianne!

Potential disaster at Mass March 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
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So, I didn’t go to morning Mass at my usual church today.  Due to a family event, I went to a different parish, one that has a bishop for its pastor.  We actually used to go to this church before the new age pastor (not the current one) and my family had a little ‘incident.’  I hadn’t been there in many years.  It looks about the same.  Way better kneelers than at St. Mark, which have been killing my knees (they are way too short, so a biggish guy like me doesn’t fit on them).  Anyway, I got there way early so I could pray, and then I saw that this was going to be a ‘school’ Mass where the kids from school come once a week or however often for Mass (it should be every day, but, I digress). 

The first trouble sign was the three teenage altar girls walking up with some things for the Mass acting utterly irrereverent and like they were getting ready for a volleyball game.  OK…….they’re kids, it happens.  Press on.  The Mass itself, celebrated by one of the bishops of this Diocese, was OK, not my cup of tea, and less reverent overall I would say than St. Mark, but an improvement from what I had experienced years back.   But then, right before the Consecration, disaster may have struck.  One of the flippant altar girls dropped a bowl full of…….hosts?  Or just the bread?  I know at many parishes the hosts given to the laity are consecrated in advance.  I’m not sure if these were or not, my wife thinks not since the hosts were present on the altar during the actual Consecration, which she took to mean that they were being Consecrated on the spot, rather than before hand, but from the look on the Bishop’s face, which was one of dread and anger, I wasn’t sure.  Literally dozens spilled on the ground.  And for a while, it looked like two of them were just going to lie on the floor for an indeterminate amount of time until the server finally got them. 

If they were consecrated, what happens then?  Must they be consumed?  It’s the Body of the Lord, you can’t throw it in the trash, although there are many reports of such things happening, or dumping the Precious Blood down the drain.  I pray they weren’t consecrated.