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On the radio tonight! – UPDATE! September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic.
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I will be on the radio again tonight at 8pm on 660am KSKY with Vicki and Jim Middleton.  We plan to discuss ongoing pro-life efforts and the Fr. Frank Pavone situation. 

I hope you are able to listen in!

UPDATE: So, I goofed up last night.  I said Obama endorsed jihad, when I meant to say he endorsed islam.  A caller wanted to tell me how stupid I was (I’m well aware!) but hung up over the break.  So, Jeff or Jeffrey, mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa!

More Providence in Action! September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, Our Lady.
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I’ve related some seeming episodes of Providence in Action in my spiritual life over the past year or so.  Today I had another significant event. What is today?  It is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  I have this book my daughter gave me, called My Meditation on the Gospel, which is a day by day reading of the Gospels.  The readings are random, they are not tied ot the Church’s Liturgical Year. You go through the book, you read different parts of the Gospels, from prior to the Incarnation to the Resurrection.  So what is the reading today, which is really rather random, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows?  John 19:25:

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. 

If that’s not Providential, I don’t know what is.  I better get ready for some mortification.

Why the SSPX ‘deal’ matters September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, North Deanery, priests, sadness, scandals.
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Many of my readers may have likely already seen some reports on the recent offer apparently extended by Pope Benedict XVI to the Society of St. Pius X.  The details of the exchanges that have occurred between the society and the Vatican over the past 2 years are lagubrious, but a good summation of the recent offer and what it may mean can be found here, at the helpful Franciscans of the Immaculate blog.  Michael Voris has some thoughts on the issues surrounding the formation of SSPX and the ongoing problems of unchecked dissent and heterodoxy running rampant in the Church:

Speaking of problematic views being taught in seminaries, I have become aware that seminarians of the Diocese of Dallas seem to be being formed in some idea of ‘universal salvation.’  That is to say, that our Blessed Lord is so infinitely merciful, and His Justice has been somehow so mollified, that virtually all are saved.  This ties in as well with a view regarding mortal sin I have heard expressed, that mortal sin cannot be committed without a specific intention to “kill” one’s relationship with God.  So, before committing an act of adultery, a man would have to intentionally also will to kill his relationship with God for it to constitute a mortal sin (I assume that all with even the slightest shred of morality know that adultery is contrary to God’s Law).  Theologically, both views are wrong, and are not the accepted Doctrine of the Faith.  Historically, the Church has held that it doesn’t know how many are saved, but, based on Jesus’ repeated statements in the Gospels (many are called, few are chosen, or wide is the path of destruction, but narrow, rocky and hard the path to salvation, etc), it fears it may not be that many.  Certainly, the types of our salvation from the Old Testament argue for a limited number of saved, as do the repeated warnings of too many Saints to count.  Practically, this view is disastrous – if you want to convince people that the practice of religion is of no great import in their lives, and to hence leave the Church in droves, tell them they are all saved no matter what they do.  Obviously, making mortal sin something that virtually no one would ever commit ties in with this notion of universal salvation, and is counter to all the practiced Tradition of the Church prior to about 1950. 

As Voris says, there is much work to be done.

Another proposal from NASA September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, foolishness, silliness, Society.
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Another year, another attempt by NASA to reinvent the wheel.  Witness the (hah!) $35 billion (it will cost at least twice that much) Space Launch System, deliberately painted to look like Saturn V (you can do anything with computer animation)! 

The plan is to use space shuttle main engines (those highly expensive, maxed out, temperamental engines) along with 2 space shuttle solid rocket boosters.  This to generate about the same level of thrust as a Saturn V in an initial version, and then grow it beyond that later.  Nice plan, if you can get funding, which in the present environment is highly unlikely.

This will be presented as the next big thing.  It’s nothing of the sort.  In fact, it’s a retread of a growth plan for the Saturn V put forward by Marshall Spaceflight Center in 1964-5, to grow the Saturn V from a mere 7.5 million lbst at takeoff to versions nearing 20 million.  If I were to hazard a guess, I’d bet it would be cheaper to take up that long cancelled development plan than to follow this latest ‘shuttle derived’ fantasy from NASA.  The upgrades would have worked like this:

  • ca. 1970 upgraded F-1A engines at 1.8 million lbst each enter service, along with upgraded J-2S engine for upper stages  – payload increases about 10-12%
  • grow F-1As to 2 million lbst each, replace J-2 engines on S-II stage with more powerful cryogenic engines (now there, in a new S-II, would be a good place for your SSME – oh, too bad they can’t be air-started, at least at present)
  • start adding solid rocket boosters of varying size, allowing launch thrust to levels of 20 million lbs thrust or more, and increasing earth payload all the way to 300 to 500 tons
  • Develop new engines and enlarge all stages – S-IC, S-II, and S-IVB, to increase thrust of the core rocket still further.  Potential to boost 1000 tons of payload to LEO

All this could have been done, if NASA hadn’t gone down the shuttle path.  Now, they want to reinvent the wheel, and try to stretch shuttle hardware into some kind of modernized Saturn V.   The Space Shuttle Main Engine, the Rocketdyne RS-25, is a very impressive engine, very technically advanced, but it is maxed out, it trembles on the threshold of the physically possible for a rocket of its design and size.  It requires onerous levels of maintenance. The F-1 was lower tech but way larger and incredibly robust.  It is man rated.  It has a huge deposit of flight data to draw from  (no F-1 engine ever failed in flight, the only large liquid fuel rocket engine to achieve that).  But, it’s Werher’s baby, and it is impolitic to have anything to do with Werhner von Braun nowadays. 

This new rocket will have 100,000 lbs less payload capacity than the Saturn V it is so plainly modeled on.  Again, I really, truly doubt it would cost $35 billion to return Saturn V to production.

But, then again, the Falcon Heavy from SpaceX will orbit almost as much payload for a tiny fraction of the cost – and the first one will fly late next year.

This is how it was done back in the day.  I can never get over the shock waves in the exhaust effluent at 0:22 – 0:37 in the video:

Justice and Religion September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, religious, Virtue.
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For my friend Steve B, who asked that I blog on this subject.  From Chapter 281 of Divine Intimacy, on the relation between Justice and Religion:

Justice leads us to render to each one what is his due.  But when it is a question of justice to God, we can never succeed in giving Him all that we owe Him, in making Him a suitable return for all His gifts, in paying Him the worship and homage which are due His infinite Majesty.  We can fulfill our obligations to others according to justice, but we cannot do so with regard to God. However much a man does, it will always be far les than what justice demands. Therefore, justice to God creates in us an urgent need to give ourselves to Him without reserve, without measure, in other words, to make a complete gift of ourselves to God, in an attempt to render Him all the homage of which He, by His grace, has made us capable. 

Because our justice is insufficient, we should have recourse to Jesus “who of God is made unto us……justice” (1 Cor 1:30), not only in the sense that He justified us from sin, but also in that He came upon earth to give the Father, in the name of all mankind, the worship worthy of Him. [Jesus’ Sacrifice, made once for all tiem and still mysteriously ongoing in Heaven, is the ONLY Sacrifice acceptable to the Father ] Therefore, we should seek in Jesus, in His wounds and His Precious Blood, all that will make up for our insufficiency, and pay our debt to God; and we shall find it superabundantly. Even though we have consecrated ourselves to the service and worship of God [well, some of us have], we are always useless servants, always His great debtors; this, however, should not discourage us, but should serve to stimulate us never to lessen, never to draw back in our dedication to God. At the same time, it ought to urge us to appeal with immense confidence to Jesus, our Savior and Mediator.

The virtue of religion makes us give to God the homage and worship which are His due; in this sense, it is related to the virtue of justice; however, it can never completley fulfill the requirements of justice, but it approaches these as closely as possible. Our religion can honor God worthily only when it becomes part of Christ’s religion, that is, insofar as it is united with the homage, adoration, praise, and offering which are continually rising up from the heart of Christ to His Heavenly Father.  [all our efforts at religion are useless without Christ – we must tie our religious practice with Christ’s Sacrifice, making it an acceptable offering to God the Father.  The essence of religion is obedience.  Think of the Graces that come down on us when we unite our prayers with the great Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  We should always have many intentions to offer at EVERY Mass]  Jesus was the perfect religious, in the sense that all His affections, His activity and His Will were so directed to the glory of the Father and to His service that His whole life was one continual act of worship and religion………yes, Jesus has shown us in what the true virtue of religion consists.  It is in interior worship, because “God is a spirit, and they that adore Him must adore Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24); but it is also exterior, because our whole being, including our bodies, must take part in the homage we render to God.  [Everything we do, every act, even every posture of the body, can be a prayer offered up to God.  St. Dominic used many movements of his body in various forms of prayer in order to tie his physical actions with his interior actions]

Religious who are wholly consecrated to the service of God by their vows practice the virtue of religion in the highest degree [since VII, some have tried to refute this, claiming it is a form of ‘clericalism,’ but I think that’s nonsense.  Those who are set apart to pray and specifically order their lives as an offering to God of course practice religion to a higher degree], provided they fulfill their obligations “in spirit and truth.” But even those who are not bound by vows should try in all their acts to have the intention of performing them for the glory, honor, and service of God; therefore, they should do them in such a way that they can be presented to Him as acts of homoage, offering, and sacrifice. Thus the virtue of religion is not confined to the hours of prayer; it embraces our whole life, transforming it into one continual act of homage to God, in imitation of the life fo Jesus and in union with it.

That last bolded part should be the essence of our lives.  Our practice of religion should embrace every moment of our lives, to the greatest extent we can.

Fr. Frank Pavone to seek incardination in another diocese September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Our Lady, sadness, scandals, sickness.
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Fr. Frank Pavone interviewed in Amarillo.  He claims to be seeking incardination in another diocese that will allow him to dedicate 100% of his efforts to fighting abortion.  I have seen Fr. Pavone on video many,  many times.  I don’t think there is any question that he is completely dedicated to fighting abortion.  Perhaps he is suffering from pride that has crept into his apostolate, that is a constant danger for ALL that try to serve God and His Church, but I don’t know, he seems very straightforward and upfront to me.  Obedience is a two edged sword – priests do make an oath of obedience to their ordinary, but bishops at the same time are required both to foster the development of their priest’s apostolates AND always do everything they can to foster, support, and defend the Faith.  Disagreements can certainly arise.  I don’t think there is any corruption on the part of Pavone.  I don’t think he’s living large off of donated monies.  I think Priest’s for Life will likely be found to be 100% financially regular.  I think this is an issue of control.  Bishop Zurek wants more control over PFL, and Fr. Pavone wants to keep his apostolate running as it has been – largely independently under his direction.  I don’t know how this will play out, but the Vatican almost always supports the bishop in questions like this.

I have met retired Bishop Yanta.  He presided over Confirmation for one of my nephews, for which I stood as sponsor.  Bishop Yanta was very, very committed to the pro-life effort.  Bishop Zurek has not been in Amarillo very long, but the ready willingness to support pro-life work has not been as apparent since he was ordained Bishop of Amarillo. 

It’s really all about control.  Bishop Zurek is entirely within his rights, but I believe he is making a very large prudential mistake, and that an extremely successful pro-life ministry will suffer as a result.

Secular humanism can brook no religious competition September 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, silliness, Society.
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At one time in this country, not very long ago, professing an active Christian faith was a prerequisite for holding public office.  While many politicians may have oversold their Christianity, or even very cynically simply lied and professed a faith that was not extant, the body politic demanded that candidates at least assure them that they had some kind of Christian ethos.  This was deemed vitally necessary to insure the candidate possessed a sufficient moral framework with which to make policy decisions.  Unfortunately, starting in the 60’s, an portion of the ‘elites’ and those with a progressive, secular humanist mindset, began to publicly reject the notion of Christianity as a guidestar for politicians.  This trend, and for many, especially among the left wing media and self annointed ‘elite’ of academia and politics, secular humanism is now a rival religion that can brook no competition from the brain dead rubes who stick with their intolerant, tribal Christianity.  Only, as Dr. Jeff Mirus points out, it is the ‘progressives’ who hold the tribal, intolerant beliefs:

It is interesting to see the media in a dither over the religious beliefs of the Republican candidates for President. Bill Keller wrote in the New York Times that the Republican candidates “belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans.” In the International Business Times, Maggie Astor opined that the “fire-and-brimstone” rhetoric of Michele Bachman and Rick Perry prove that they have no respect for the separation of church and state.

Though he is apparently near death, a still unrepentant Christopher Hitchins complained in Slate that Bachmann considered Hurricane Irene to be a message from God, and that Perry has (gasp!) called prayer meetings, quoted Scripture, and branded evolution an unproven theory. But not to worry: In the Washington Post, Kathleen Parker has pronounced that, with respect to religion, most Americans will not vote for “the kind of literal mindedness that leads straight to the dark ages.”

………..[much analysis intervenes]………………….

……in the modern West, the real danger of something very like theocracy clearly comes from the secular side. [A central tenet of ‘progressive,’ modernist secular humanism is the absolute certainty that they are in the right, and that those opposed are not just wrong, but evil.  To combat this ‘evil,’ progressives have no qualms forcing others to accept hteir beliefs, using their favorite weapon, the power of the state]  Most Christians know it is both wrong and counter-productive to impose their supernatural beliefs by force. But few secularists know that it is wrong for government to substitute human laws for the natural law and press citizens to change both their beliefs and their lives accordingly.[Witness the ‘gay marriage’ issue.  Not only will you ‘tolerate’ this attack on the most fundamental human institutino, but you will celebrate the new order and publicly claim how wrong you were to oppose it in the first place.  It’s Orwellian]  The modern secular state is very like a crackpot religion, with no reasonable claim to any sort of Revelation, that dreams up bizarre doctrines and imposes them on an entire culture by force. [That is a wonderful statement]

If this were not crystal clear in theory, the history of the West since the French Revolution proves the thesis beyond any reasonable doubt. Columnists who wish to motivate through political fear ought not to deal in bogeymen. They ought to have something both real and frightening in mind. Christianity may be challenging, but it is hardly scary, and it is also the origin of the distinction between Church and state. Truly, our pundits would be far wiser to fear the set of beliefs that devours everything. They ought to fear politicians who embrace contemporary secularism. [But to do that would be to violate everything the self-annointed hold dear.  And it would require a sacrifice of pride, absolutely unthinkable]

The ‘culturally acceptable’ practice of religion Christianity (for they have no problem with the full and active practice of other religions) is to not be very serious about it.  Barack Hussein Obama has mentioned his faith more times in 3 years in office that Bush did in 8, but that is no problem, because the secular humanists recognize one of their own when they see one, and they don’t take his claims of faith seriously.  Few do.  But when it comes to people who seem to really, in actuality, profess the Christian faith and practice it, the howls of horror and derision are endless.  I think this is due to more than just an obeisance to modernist secular paganism/humanism, but to something more profound.

For the law of God is written on every human’s heart.  There is a hunger in every human heart for a close relationship with the God that made them.  It is quite possible to disobey that law, and to try to fill that hunger with other things, but some bit of it always remains.  Those who try to avoid God’s gentle call attempt to insulate themselves, they try to perpetuate a system which results in their being surrounded by only those who hold like views, so they can drown out that call.  But I wonder, if when they are confronted by someone with a real, actual faith in Jesus Christ, however incomplete that understanding and practice of the faith may be, they react not only with revulsion because of an alien ideology that is inimicably hostile to their own dearly held progressive dreams, but because that faithful Christian reminds them of that hunger they have attempted to satisfy with the false glitter of the world?  Someone still in active addiction can’t stand to be around people who have gotten clean, it’s too painful a reminder of their own continuing sickness.  They seek their own kind.  I wonder if that does not play some part, perhaps a hidden but very significant part, in the great protestations against potential incursions against ‘church and state.’  Christianity is fine with these people, as long as it is false and worldy and ultimately………secular humanist.  But when it is real and lived, it is a terrible reminder of the only thing that is truly real – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and His Church.