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Remember to fast during Advent! December 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, Liturgy, North Deanery, Tradition, Virtue.
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Lent is not the only penitential time of the year! Advent has traditionally been a time of self-denial and joyful acceptance of penance as we prepare for the birth of Our Lord.  As pointed out on Rorate Caeli, traditionally, the day before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was a day of fasting and abstinence. 

In addition, the Ember Days of Dec. 14 and 17 are also days intended to involve additional prayer and penance.   For myself, I’ve been striving to do a mild fast every day this Advent (miss one meal a day), while also abstaining from all meat on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Finally, a fast on the 23rd and/or 24th before Christmas has also been traditionally observed.  The point is that Advent is not a time of Christmas parties and festivities, it should be a time of preparation  and purification – just like Lent.  Fr. Smith at St. Mark has cogently pointed this out for years.  The Feast will come at Christmas, and we should really get our feast on once the 25th comes.  But until then, it would do our souls good and be pleasing to God to purify our souls for the arrival of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Deo Gratias!

BTW – shouldn’t each of us have a room or corner especially dedicated to prayer, supplication, and thankgiving to Our Lord?  Donations of traditional Catholic art gratefully accepted by the blog owner!  The below is actually an orthodox “icon corner,” but………

St. Nicholas – model of episcopal propriety December 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, Tradition, Virtue.
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From Fr. Ray Blake, a discourse on St. Nicholas and his constant, steadfast defense of the Faith.  I especially like the prayer Fr. Blake included:

St Nicholas was imprisoned for beating up Arius, pulling his beard and punching him in the mouth. He heard the great heresiarch speak and couldn’t bear hearing his blasphemies, he pulled his beard and punching him in the mouth. The Emperor Constantine was horrified that he should break the peace of the Council and had him deposed.

During the night Christ himself accompanied by his mother appeared to him and asked, “Why are you here?” he answered, “Because I love you, Lord”. Christ gave him back the Gospels, the symbol of his teaching authority and his mother the omophorion (the eastern pallium) the symbol of his sacramental authority.
I love St Nicholas because he was so clear in his teaching, the other bishops sat around discussing subtleties and nuances. Holy Nicholas went to the heart of the matter recognising Arius as the enemy of Christ and his Church and indeed the whole of creation and risked all by attacking him.
Holy Nicholas, Bishop of Christ, pray for me a sinner.
Intercede for all the bishops and priests,
that they may recognise Christ and proclaim His Truth for the Salvation of the World.
Make them fearless in denouncing error and the contamination of heresy.
Give them courage, even in the face of the Princes of this World,
to risk all for love of Christ,
the True Bishop and High Priest, the Judge of Souls who will come in Glory.
Lord Jesus give us holy priests and even holier bishops.

Fr. Rodriguez asks for prayers and has my back! – UPDATED! December 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, persecution, priests, scandals, Tradition.
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Fr. Michael Rodriguez, the sadly ousted priest of San Juan Bautista parish in El Paso, now serving souls in the small towns of the Big Bend region of Texas, has an article in the Remnant newspaper regarding Bishop Ochoa’s moving on to Fresno!  He asks for prayers from faithful Catholics across the country for a new, holy, zealous shepherd for El Paso:

In light of the recent momentous events in the Diocese of El Paso, TX, I would like to present a special plea to faithful Roman Catholics from around the nation.  On December 1, 2011, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, appointed Bishop Armando X. Ochoa as the new bishop of Fresno, California.  Sursum corda!  Now is the time to lift up our hearts to almighty God and beg Him to have mercy on us, poor sinners that we are.  In order to protect and promote the precious Catholic religion, outside of which there is no salvation, [you can have your Barron, I’ll stay with Rodriguez] it is imperative that all of us storm heaven with fervent prayers, especially the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary, beggingGod to send El Paso a holy, zealous, and fearless new shepherd. [Sorry about the format below, I cannot fix it.  Remnant must use google.]

Unfortunately, the Diocese of El Paso continues to be plagued by very serious problems and grave sins against God and the Faith.  [many locales are similarly afflicted] We desperately need a spiritual leader who will address these issues with honesty, determination, perseverance, and absolute fidelity to Jesus Christ and Holy Mother Church. 

It is of utmost importance to draw attention to three areas in the life of the diocese that are particularly infested with the vermin of modernism:  (1) the Liturgy, or worship of God, (2) Catholic doctrine, or the teaching of the truths of the Faith, and (3) the priesthood.

………..I urge the faithful to implore the powerful aid of Sancta Dei Genetrix, the holy Mother of God, so that El Paso’s new bishop, obedient to the liturgical directives of Pope Benedict XVI, will be supportive of the 1962 Roman Liturgy, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass.  Hundreds of Catholics in El Paso are, at present, petitioning for the establishment of a traditional Catholic parish dedicated exclusively to the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Rite.  ………….

…………El Paso needs a new bishop and Successor to the Apostles, who will begin to take the necessary steps to correct the moral and spiritual disorder of watered-down, partial, false, and even heretical presentations of Catholic doctrine at our Catholic schools, Tepeyac Institute, and parish catechetical programsGrave sins against the Faith include belittling, ridiculing, or obstinately questioning the salvific teachings of Holy Mother Church, as well as intentionally ignoring or maintaining silence on certain doctrinal or moral truths.  We are in urgent need of a wise bishop who will make it clear that any form of dissent from Church teaching is unacceptable and inexcusable.  It is not “pastoral” or charitable to sidestep or veer away from proclaiming the truth[Preach it, brother!  It is false charity to confirm people in their sin.  It is false to claim or infer that numerous paths to salvation outside the Church exist, or are probable.  There are numerous areas of Doctrine that have been shunned, twisted, mocked, or outright denied.  Again, this massive scandal is not just limited to El Paso, it is present virtually everywhere in this country] If “love and compassion” are not grounded in the one truth taught by Jesus Christ and His Church, then “love” is a lie and “compassion” an illusion…………..

………The Diocese of El Paso needs a new bishop and spiritual father who will begin to take the necessary steps to correct the moral and spiritual disorder of rampant homosexuality within our presbyterate.  The abomination of actively homosexual priests is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance and is crippling our diocese.  El Paso needs a new shepherd who will demand of us priests what Christ demands:  obedience, celibacy, a profound life of prayer, simplicity of life, a spirit of continual conversion, pastoral charity marked by kenosis (death to self), sacrifice, service, and true holiness in our public and private conduct.  God willing, our new bishop will insist that we priests give priority to the spiritual dimension of our priestly life and ministry:  offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily, administering the sacrament of Confession, guiding the parish’s life of prayer, and instructing the faithful according to the full and authentic doctrine of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Good, pious, holy, and masculine priests are a priceless gift to Mother Church and the surest guarantee of success in fostering future vocations to the priesthood……………[These are some of the best sentences written on the Catholic priesthood in decades.  You cannot be subsumed in sin yourself and function as a good, holy priest.   The Catholic Faith is not a social service institute, or a bureau of ministries, it is the Body of Christ on earth whose prime function is to give praise and glory to God through the saving of souls.]

I’ve been praying for Fr. Rodriguez and the El Paso Diocese, and I will continue to do so, God willing.  How ’boutchu?

I know, I know, I’m really loading you up!  But it’s good for you!

Fr. Rodriguez’ vision of the priesthood is precisely mine, too.  I pray that we can return to a much more spiritually focused model of parish life and the priesthood.  All it takes is will and Grace.  No, not that terrible TV show, although, that did just make me think…………

UPDATE:  Fr. Longenecker has my back, too!  Well, not as explicitly, but he’s definitely against the univeralist, “let’s hope and believe that all will be saved” error. 

I like the company I keep…….at least by inference.

A good Advent activity – pray for Egypt’s Christians December 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, General Catholic, horror, persecution, sadness, sickness, Society, Tradition.
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Monophysites or not, the Copts are our Christian brethren in Egypt, and they are likely facing a steadily worsening storm of persecution as events continue to unfold in that country.  “Arab spring,” indeed.  The arabs seem to desire to overthrow secular dictatorships so they can be replaced with theocracy – just as in Iran 30 years ago.  And hasn’t it been nothing but good times since then?  Islamists will dominate the new Egyptian parliament, if the military allows it to form:

Churchmen in Egypt are expressing alarm over the strong showing of Islamist parties in the November 28 elections. According to provisional election results that vary depending upon the news source, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party received 35-45% of the vote in November 28 elections for the lower house of parliament, while the even more radical Salafis’ Al Nour Party received 20-24% of the vote.

“We were expecting the Muslim Brothers to do well, but we did not expect at all the success of the Salafists,” said Father Antoine Rafic Greiche, official spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt. “We were expecting the Muslim Brothers to do well, but we did not expect at all the success of the Salafists.”

The Salafists’ attitude to Christians is to say that they can get their passport to go to the USA, France, UK or somewhere else in the West,” he added.

The Egyptian Christian community is one of the oldest in the world.  It has been in continuous existence since just a few years after the Resurrection of Christ.  It has withstood breakdown of empire, conquest by the sword of islam (the only means by which islam has spread), and constant persecution since.  Islamists seek to drive Christianity completely from its ancestral home.  The ancient Christian community of Iraq has been shattered by persecution.  Christians once constituted a large part of the population of Asia Minor, and were leading citizens in Turkey, but persecution has driven that once thriving community back to Greece.  Everywhere the sword of islam has risen ascendent in this “Arab spring,” Christian communities have suffered terribly.  Egypt is likely next.

I think of the great desert fathers, St. Anthony and many others, who founded the concept of heremetical, monastic life in the Church.  I think of St. Phillip the Apostle converting the Ethiopian court figure in the Acts, baptising him in a desert wadi.  While suffering and martyrdom are great paths to sanctification, we should and must pray for our brethren that they may remain steadfast in the faith and resist and overcome this persecution.   We must pray that God’s Mercy may descend and protect these souls from the coming wrath. Perhaps a great groundswell of prayer, averting this possible disaster, may move the hearts and souls of the Copts back into unity with the Church Christ founded. 

There are many Novenas to pray during this great season of Advent.  Perhaps, in your charity, one of your intentions could be for the protection and preservation in the faith of this community so under threat?

Reason #147985 I’ve been out on Hollywood for years……. December 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, scandals, sickness, Society.
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…………, rampant, unconstrained, unpunished, pedophilia!

If a spate of recent allegations proves true, Hollywood may have a hideous epidemic on its hands. The past two weeks have brought three separate reports of alleged child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.

Martin Weiss, a 47-year-old Hollywood manager who represented child actors, was charged in Los Angeles on Dec. 1 with sexually abusing a former client. His accuser, who was under 12 years old during the time of the alleged abuse, reported to authorities that Weiss told him “what they were doing was common practice in the entertainment industry.” Weiss has pleaded not guilty.

On Nov. 21, Fernando Rivas, 59, an award-winning composer for “Sesame Street,” was arraigned on charges of coercing a child “to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in South Carolina. The Juilliard-trained composer was also charged with production and distribution of child pornography.

Registered sex offender Jason James Murphy, 35, worked as a casting agent in Hollywood for years before his past kidnapping and sexual abuse of a boy was revealed by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17. Murphy’s credits include placing young actors in kid-friendly fare like “Bad News Bears,” “The School of Rock,” “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and the forthcoming “Three Stooges.”

Revelations of this sort come as no surprise to former child star Corey Feldman

Feldman, 40, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, unflinchingly warned of the world of pedophiles who are drawn to the entertainment industry last August. “I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia,” Feldman told ABC’s Nightline. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry… It’s the big secret.”

I’m so glad we don’t have a TV anymore.  Even the college football I loved no longer carries much interest.  But I think we have to recognize that places like Hollywood are always going to have a very high potentiality for this kind of horrific abuse.  It starts with the whole cult of celebrity and the wanton pursuit of great fame and riches at any cost, and rapidly transmogrifies into sexual license through rampant divorce and remarriage, adultery, general sexual depravity, amoral business dealings, viciousness, and can catapult from there into any kind of other moral decay.  Hollywood is decadent – the whole cult of celebrity in this country is decadent, and it’s one of the more vigorous cancers devouring the culture of this nation – of the whole world, really. 

Getting rid of your TV,or at least using it very sparingly AND selectively, can be a tremendous benefit.  Watching college football was a near occasion of sin both because of the constant beer commercials, and also because of the cheerleader closeups and the other commercials for “male enhancement, etc.” that were generally so amoral that they just shouldn’t be presented to children.  But even more than that, just not being bombarded by the commercialism, the decadence, the constant drumbeat that things will make you happy, that you must compete with your neighbor with physical possessions, etc, is a very healthy thing.  I don’t shop much anymore other than online, and this year, when people talk about the commercialism of Christmas (which is very real), it seems kind of funny to  me, because I haven’t experienced it, aside from news stories about people attacking each other to insure they get that 70% off deal on a huge screen TV.  TV……..again.  The electronic opiate.  

I know, I’m ranting insensibly again.  At one time in my life, not very long ago, the thought of giving up TV was unthinkable.  How on earth could I get by without TV?  What would I do? (ha!)  And now I don’t miss it in the slightest.

We still have TVs.  Two of them.  But they only play DVDs or VHS.  It’s a treat for the kids, and for dad sometimes, too………I have a bunch of nerd videos on space exploration and military aviation, a sort of remnant attachment to my former life.   And there are good things to watch……generally older movies, when virtue was not a sick joke and when raising a family in a wholesome manner with the same two parents for life was reality for most people.  It’s amazing how good a movie can be with actual intelligent, adult dialogue, and no car chases, explosions, scantily clad women, etc.  And there is the rare good movie made nowadays, but you have to look for them – like that movie I linked yesterday. 

h/t culturewarnotes