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Weekend reading August 26, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Dr. Jeff Mirus wrote a longish piece at CatholicCulture regarding a letter to the editor in a modernist, heterodox Christian publication, which claimed that Pope Benedict’s proclamation of traditional Catholic Doctrine (immemorial, changeless Doctrine) was driven by misogyny and a hatred of homosexuals.  Dr. Mirus picks the argument apart, bit by bit, arguing that modernists can’t help conflating what they feel are the dominant cultural trends of the day with immemorial Truth.  His arguments are too long to effectively excerpt, but I recommend reading the whole thing.  Both the modernist claims, and the very effective defense of Church Doctrine, are highly illuminating. 

At core, modernists subvert allegiance to the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ for allegiance to ever changing cultural mores.  This betrays not only a fundamental illogic, but also a profound lack of understanding of history.  It also serves as a warning – what the modernist feels is most important today (gay rights, for instance), will be replaced by something even more distant from traditional Christian belief and practice tomorrow (for instance, pedophilia).  There has been a progression in modernist doctrine over the last 100 years or so, from desire for contraception to heterosexual sex out of wedlock to acceptance of homosexuality to “equality” for homosexuality to…….Each step has tended to bring only more and more societal calamity and moral degredation, on a culture-wide scale.  Modernism in theology is also closely aligned with left wing political movements of the past century or so.

In a word, it’s terribly destructive.

Factoid for the day – cohabitors have the highest rates of abortion August 26, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, disaster, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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And that’s according to a Guttmacher Institute (the abortion industry’s research arm) study, reported by Jill Stanek.  Those who live together but are unmarried have the highest rates of abortion of any group.   The report also showed that the percentage of pregnancies which are “unwanted,” is about 50%.  If contraception is so effective, why are almost half of all pregnancies unwanted or “unplanned,” when over 90% of the US population uses contraception, and 100% has incredibly ready access to same?  Could it be that contraception frequently fails? 

But back to the cohabitors – you have people who live together in order to have free and easy sex, but who don’t want to make the “commitment” of marriage.  Or at least one party to the couple does not desire marriage (meaning, in almost all cases, the man does not desire marriage).  And so when the contraception fails, which it does at a pretty high rate, and pregnancy results, the most likely alternative is abortion, because neither party likely wants a child to spoil their free and easy lifestyle.  That’s a generalization, but it is basically the case.

Several decades ago, the idea of a couple living together outside marriage would be scandalous.  Those who did were treated with a certain measure of derision (especially the female half of the couple).  And yet, today, cohabiting is generally tolerated, if not embraced, by the vast majority of society.  So many of these people think that cohabiting is either morally neutral or a positive good.  But these statistics show another side – there is a huge cost to society from cohabitation, in the form of those who abort their children.  There are many other costs as well – collapse of moral standards, damage to marriage as an institution (leading to falsities like “gay marriage), children born out of wedlock (where the father is more likely than not to depart the scene), higher use of social services and a greater tax burden, etc.  Cohabiting is actually one of those insidious practices that has become so commonplace it is virtually ignored, but that does not eliminate the profoundly negative impact the practice has on society.  And on a nation’s (or a transnational culture’s) soul.

REMINDER – Mass for Our Lady of Czestochowa at St. Peter’s tonight! August 26, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, Liturgy, Our Lady.
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That’s tonight, August 26 at 7pm.  All the details here

A good thing – public processions! August 26, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Saints.
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I love processions.  Eucharistic, Marian, in honor of a good and holy Saint – it doesn’t matter.  Processions are a wonderful public witness of our Faith, and often the sign of a vibrant Catholic identity.  Processions were once quite common in almost all areas with a substantial Catholic population, but now they are more rare.  I, for one, would like to see our Blessed Lord at the head of more processions for the Faith.  And I think our great and holy Mother Mary should head all March for Life processions!

Here is a video of a procession held a little while back, with Fr. Angelo Geiger of the Franciscans of the Immaculate taking part. 

I would love to see every parish have a procession or two every year, even if only around the parish grounds!

The baleful influence of Gramscian Communism on the Church August 26, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Antonio Gramsci was an Italian communist, who theorized that the great utopia all communists pine for could only be achieved, not through a violent overthrow of the capitalist overlords and their running dog lackeys, but by slow and steady penetration of the culture, gradually influencing major institutions like academia, the media, and especially the Church, until communism just sort of naturally happened.  In fact, he felt that the Catholic Church was the #1 opponent to the worker’s paradise, and felt that the Church, above all else, must be co-opted. His ideas have had tremendous influence – in fact, many would argue that most of the institutions Gramsci targeted have in fact been successfully co-opted. 

In the Church, there has been more resistance (than, say, in teacher’s unions or in the media).  Many Catholic recognize that communism and Catholicism are incompatible (Rerum Novarum), but, it would be wrong to say that Gramsci’s ideas have not had an influence on the Catholic Church (and Christianity at large).  At the Catholic Thing, George Marlin gives an overview:

Gramsci advised Marxists to achieve power by democratic means and then to use it to destroy Christian hegemony. “Gramsci’s principle,” French journalist Jean-François Revel pointed out, “was that [Marxists] must begin by influencing the culture, winning the intellectuals, the teachers, implanting itself in the press, the media, the publishing houses.” Somewhat surprisingly, Gramsci pointed to the Jesuits’ response to the Reformation as a model: Marxists had to create a cultura capillare (“capillary culture”) that would infuse itself into every nook and cranny of the body politic.

Radical leftists in the United States, Europe, and Latin America have adopted Gramsci’s methods and have made a point of infiltrating churches, universities, and media outlets.Ecumenical movements and peace and justice commissions have grown and have marginalized basic Catholic doctrine. [this is key, and I don’t think an exaggeration.  Many ecumenical movements in the Church seem far more grounded in modernist indifferntism than in proclaiming the Faith] University curricula teach that all cultures must be equally respected – even the ones that directly contradict Christian values. In the name of human rights, secular humanist organizations have promoted policies that have eliminated Judeo-Christian moral restraints.

Liberation theology based on Marxist doctrines and cloaked in Christian vocabulary became a force in many third-world nations.  Though it retreated somewhat after the fall of the Soviet Union, it remains the basic social template among radicals. Malachi Martin observed that “Liberation theology was a perfectly faithful exercise of Gramsci’s principles. . . . It stripped . . . any attachment to Christian transcendence.  It locked both the individual and his culture in the close embrace of a goal that was totally immanent: the class struggle for socio-political liberation.”  [that is, a focus on a “worldly paradise” rather than the eternal paradise for which we should all strive, and which is a far more spiritual than temporal effort]

Today, Catholics are witnessing the effects of Gramsci’s “anything goes” strategy. In Europe, Catholic Churches are empty on Sundays.  Fewer than 10 percent of baptized Catholics attend Mass. In 2009, 37.4 percent of all European children were born out of wedlock [the percentage is shockingly and depressingly higher in the US – around 40%] – up from 17.4 percent in 1990. The number of births is significantly below the replacement rate. In fifty years the majority of the populations in the heart of old Catholic Europe – Italy, France, and Spain – may well be Muslim. Crime is also rampant. Between 2002 and 2008, violent crime rose in France by 15 percent, in Italy by 38 percent. 

Pope Benedict XVI has wisely warned that the replacement of the West’s Christian roots with moral relativism has ushered in a “confused ideology of liberty [that] leads to a dogmatism that is proving ever more hostile to real liberty.” Because Gramsci’s heirs have “developed a culture that in a manner hitherto unknown to mankind excludes God from public awareness,” the Holy Father fears that the West may be entering a new Dark Age in which man exists solely for the benefit of a divinized state and will be stripped of his God-given human dignity.

Communism, and it’s socialist waypoint, is perhaps the most devilish and insidious ideology ever to take hold.  It is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths (including abortion, a fundamental component of communism).  Communism can brook no competition, temporal or spiritual.  The state is and must be all under communism (and, to varying degrees, under socialism).  Wherever these allied systems reign, the Church suffers, and greatly (and so do untold millions of precious souls – the aspect that really matters).

Whither the USCCB?  To what extent has the USCCB been penetrated by Gramscian influences?  And the broader Church?  Is there a correlation between the collapse of so many markers of the Faith (Mass attendance, reception of the other Sacraments, vocations, etc.), and the apparent Gramscian influence over much of the USCCB and other leadership of the Church?  Is this criticism unfair, or is it painfuly revealing?

For  myself, I pray every day that the Holy Father will have Canon Law changed to do away with national and other conferences.