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More Roman eye candy May 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass.
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As commenter Kathi Bee pointed out, there has been some good Traditional eye candy coming out of Rome lately.  I found some more, this time at the 3rd Annual conference on Summorum Pontificum and true liturgical remewal held in Rome.  New Liturgical Movement was there, and snapped the following pics:

One word – tonsure!  I’m confused – I think that’s a Dominican habit, or is it Cistercian? 

Fr. Cassian Folsom, prior of the Benedictines of Norcia as well as a professor at the Pontifical Liturgical Instituted, giving a talk on adhering to the rubrics of Mass, among other subjects.  A young man from Greenville is presently with the Benedictines at Norcia, and I have seen Fr. Folsom in person on one occasion.  He rocks out with Benedictine charisma and spirituality. 


There was a heavy presence of Franciscans of the Immaculate at the conference.  Bishop Schneider elevating our Lord during Adoration. 

I really like pictures like this and pray for more!

Sad – methodists embrace abortion May 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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For the first part of my life, I was a methodist.  We went to a methodist church in Plano that is now a mosque!  Yikes!  Irrespective, from the esteemable Fr. Larry Adamcyzk comes word that the united methodist church has determined that, garsh darn it, some babies are just too inconvenient and must die:

From the united methodist website:

Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection.

Fr. Adamcyzk then goes on to point out statistics that show that well being of the mother is a canard – women are 3 times as likely to die having an abortion than they are from delivering a baby.  They are twice as likely to die from abortion as they are from carrying a baby to term and giving birth. 

Fr. Adamcyzk also rightly points out that the prohibition against killing is one of the most stark, most clear cut in the Bible.  It is present repeatedly in both the New Testament and the Old.  There are no codiciles.  There are no statements of “well, if a baby is really inconvenient, then, go ahead, kill away!”  The prohibitions are total and final – thou shalt not kill another innocent human being.  Babies are the most innocent among us.

And Fr. Adamcyzk, in a post that really needs no addition, reminds of the fall that has necessitated the most awesome Sacrifice in history, the same kind of fall to overweening pride and thinking we know better than God:

It sounds to me like that have listened to the devil and have decided for themselves what is right and wrong: Genesis 3: 4-5
But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!  No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”

God does not create, he does not breathe life into an embryo through the union of egg and sperm, just so that life can be destroyed a few weeks later.  That makes no sense, it is counter to reason – why would He be in support of doing that?  I don’t understand how religious sects can come to support abortion at any time.  It must reflect a profound confusion at a very deep level about the nature of God and man.  I think their priorities are horribly upside down.

Bishops oppose law enforcement? May 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, Immigration, North Deanery, scandals, Society.
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There is currently a bill making its way through the state legislature that would forbid cities from either declaring themselves ‘sanctuary’ zones, where immigration laws are not enforced, or to instruct their law enforcement agencies not to enforce immigration laws.  There was an article about this in our diocesan newspaper, Texas Catholic, but, as usual, it’s not online, but fortunately the Diocese of Beaumont is not so parsimonious with their posting and has the exact same article, apparently produced by the Texas Catholic Conference (because every geographical region MUST have a conference of bishops, the better to play at politics!), online.  Essentially, the bishops, at least as expressed by the Texas Catholic Conference, oppose having local law enforcement check on the immigration status of those arrested or stopped for various potential crimes:

We oppose legislation that allow or require local or state entities to evaluate an individual’s immigration status,” said Bishop Daniel Flores, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, at a press conference on the advocacy day. “Requiring law enforcement to investigate immigration status every time they make an arrest is burdensome and a threat to public safety. It will divert scarce resources away from investigating and pursuing serious criminals. The use of police officers to enforce immigration laws will likely undermine the relationship between the local police and the communities they serve.”

I have been told that Bishop Flores is a good man, a good priest.  So I am disappointed to see the rhetorical game played above, where the law which says nothing but that cities may not PREVENT local law enforcement from checking on the immigration status of various law offenders is misrepresented to indicate that it REQUIRES local law enforcement to check on immigration status.  It does nothing of the sort.  That’s a bit of rhetorical trick that I think is beneath the dignity of a bishop of Christ’s Church.

The general view of the ‘Texas bishops conference’ towards immigration is presented as follows:

The Texas Bishops support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to permanent residency [also known as amnesty], emphasizes family unity [more amnesty], and addresses the root causes of migration in sending countries [see below]. The Texas Bishops’ immigration-related legislative priorities also include opposing the enforcement of federal law by local and state law enforcement, [as I said in the lede, the bishops oppose law enforcement?] as well as opposition to a Texas-Mexico border fence [please explain how immigration can be controlled, and national security remain in place, in the absence of some kind of barrier to prevent unconstrained immigration.  Barriers are known to work.  They are used around the world, and have been used for millenia.  No barrier is 100% effective, but they are far more effective than the hideously expensive and ineffective systems now in place] and any efforts to reduce access to education or health care for immigrants.

Oh, what a dangerous game to play!  Meddling with public policy on such a level, I don’t know…how are these bishops going to look if a terrorist attack perpetrated by individuals who come over the southern border kills thousands of Americans?  More substantially, how on earth do the bishops propose to address the ‘root causes of immigration’ in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatamela, etc?  Is this nothing more than a paean for more federal dollars we don’t have to go to foreign countries?  As blessed as it is, the United States is no longer so blessed as to be able to dramatically improve the living conditions that may drive immigration in these many countries to our south.  Actually, much of the overpopulation that is driving this immigration is going to dry up in the next 20-30 years as birthrates in these countries continue to plummet.  This burning issue may eventually become moot.

My sensus fidei tells me the bishops are playing with fire on this issue.  It is very easy to come away with the view that the bishops are acting out of a vested interest on this issue – bring in more Catholics over the border to make up for the collapse of the Faith among native born Catholics.  The problem is, just like as in socialism eventually you run out of other people’s money, with immigration you eventually run out of other nation’s Catholics, and the root problems (poor catechesis, protestantization, general lack of fire for the Faith, etc) remain.  I pray that’s not the motivation.

And what of justice for those who have spent the thousands of dollars and waited the years to come to the United States legally, most of whom are NOT hispanic or Catholic?  Tough luck for playing by the rules, suckers?

I like meat May 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, sadness, Society.
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No, this isn’t a post about my incredible BBQ, which, if you are really nice to me, I might let you have some day.  Fr. Z has a post up about a letter he received, asking if it would be inappropriate to ask a priest for more challenging catechesis in the sermons at Mass.  All I can say is, I like meat.  I like challenging sermons, more than a homily, I like sermons that make me look at my life and say “Wow, I need to do better,” or “Hmm….I didn’t know that.  I need to think about that.”  I like sermons that are more than just bland platitudes on the Faith.  There are some priests who consistently give more challenging sermons, and there are some who tend to be lighter.  I know that it’s always a difficult balance, that time is always short and that many people might get mad with a challenging sermon, but I don’t think it unfair to say that the catechesis of most Catholics today is in very poor shape.  A very large percentage of the faithful simply do not know the Faith, as evidence by numerous polls on subjects ranging from lack of understanding of the Real Presence to the always troublesome moral Doctrine of the Faith. 

I don’t know if many readers share this sentiment.  I pray over this issue every day.  I pray that we will be challenged in the Faith more and more by our priests, to live an authentically Catholic life in the great Tradition of the Church and distinguishable from the ways of the world.  If you do share this sentiment, it may be worthwhile, as Fr. Z suggests, to politely make your views known to your pastor or priest, in a spirit of the great virtue of Charity.  Done appropriately, I agree with Fr. Z that most priests would try to consider the request – and the more requests received, the more consideration they are likely to receive.  Short of that, perhaps we could say some prayers in support of our priests and better formation for all Catholics?  According to St. Augustine, obedience to the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church is the foundation of all Charity! 

God bless you!

Novena to St. Rita May 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, religious.
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From my ‘secret correspondent,’ who sends me so much gold!  God bless you!

And, yes, I know I’m late!  Do it anyway!

Say once a day for 9 days, Feast is May 22. St. Rita is the patron saint of impossible & desperate situations. 


O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, thou who shineth as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God’s grace, in patience and fortitude thou art a model of all the states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion thou didst daily contemplate. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and thine own graces and virtues, I ask thee to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as thou didst in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life. (Mention your intentions here)
Saint Rita, advocate of the impossible, pray for us.
Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us.

Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be three times.

For those who do not know, St. Rita received a horrible wound to her head that she bore as a suffering for Christ.  In fact, she received it after praying that the Lord would let her bear some of the same sufferings He did, and it was then that a mystical thorn, like the crown of thorns our Blessed Lord had to wear, inflicted the wound on her forehead. It became infected and fetid, and apparently smelled so awful her fellow religious would wretch in her presence.  When some major article of the Faith was being displayed in Rome, along with the potential to meet the Pope, St. Rita asked her superior if she could go.  Her superior said she could not cause scandal to the faithful by her horrid wound, and could not go unless she was healed.  St. Rita spent the night in prayer, and, miraculously, the next day the wound was healed.  She went on her pilgrimage, and when she returned, so did the wound. 

God is great!

Living in the Presence of God May 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, religious.
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I know at least a couple of readers avail themselves of the profundity of Carmelite spirituality that is the book Divine Intimacy.  But for those who don’t make reading this book a daily habit, there was a recent daily reading on the practice of living in the presence of God.  That is, finding God dwelling in the soul in a state of Grace, and also through others in such a state, while at the same time maintaining an awareness of this presence at all times, even through our daily work and activities.  It is something I stink at – even though I try to place God first in all I do, I know that my tendency is to have a big box labeled ‘Faith’ that I take out and open up and mess around with throughout the day, but I know I put the box back on its shelf for at least equal, if not greater, portions of the day, and conduct my affairs like the rest of the world.  But I am trying to get better.  Enough about me, Divine Intimacy, Day 162 Practice in the Presence of God:

  The practice of the presence of God really consists in making strong efforts to keep God always present in our mind and heart, even when we are engaged in our daily tasks.  We can do this in various ways: we can use external objects, such as an image or a crucifix which we wear or put on our worktable, the sight of which will often remind us of God. We also can use our imagination to picture “interiorly” the Lord near us.  For, if the humanity of Jesus is not physically present, it is nevertheless always exercising an influence over us – even a physcial one – in the communication of Grace……..We can also keep a very vivid remembrance of God by using some Truth of the Faith.  For example, I can cultivate the thought of the conintual presence of the Trinity within me, and try to perform all my actions in honor of my divine Guests; or else I can consisder my duties as so many manifestations of the Will of God, and so unite myself to this Divine Will as I perform them. Further, I can make it a practice to view all the cirucumstances of my life in the light of faith, and therefore, arranged by Divine Providence for my good. This will incline me to accept them and to repeat continually to my heavenly Father: “I am content with everything You do for me.”

The practice of the presence of God, especially recommended by St. Teresa of Jesus to souls aspirng to divine intimacy, aims at keeping the soul in close contact with God, present within it.  “We must retire within ourselves even during our ordinary occupations…..If I can recall the companionship I have within me for so much as a moment, that is of great utility!”

One might object that this method is more suitable for those who livein solitude than for those who are in constant contact with others; yet St. Teresa applies it, simply and practically, to the latter: “If one is speaking, he must try to remember that there is One within him to whom he can speak; if he is listening, let him remember that he can listen to One who is nearer to him than anyone else.  Finally, let him realize that, if he likes, he need never withdraw from this good companionship, and let him grieve when he has left his Father alone for so long, though his need of Him is so sore.” (Way of Perfection, 29)

Anyone who works, either mentally or manually, can adopt this method in all his relations with his neighbor.  Nothing can hinder him from using it even inversely, that is, by aplying it to the presence of God in the souls of others……

“If you become accustomed to having Him at your side,” says St. Teresa, “and if He sees that you love to have Him there and are always trying to please Him, you will never be able, as we put it, to send Him away” (Way of Perfection, 26)

Lord, may my motto be: Thou in me and I in Thee! How beautiful is our presence within me, in teh inmost sanctuary of my soul. May my continual occupation be to retire into myself, that I may lose myself in You, and live with You…….O Lord, let me live with You as a friend!  Help me to live win the awarenes of faith always, in order that I may be united to You no matter what happens. I bear Heaven in my soul, since You, who satiate the blessed in the Beatific Vision, give Yourself to me in faith and mystery…..” (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity)