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We’re doomed February 23, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, horror, scandals, sickness, Society.
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We hear alot of talk about how terrible the debt situation is in the EU with the PIGS (Portugal, Italy (or Ireland), Greece, Spain).  But take a gander at this graph of the per capita debt put together by the Weekly Standard, and realize how doomed we are:

Anyone but Romney will have my fullest financial, physical, and moral support (I’ll even get behind the Totem Pole Romney if I have to).  We’ve got to get this guy out of office – we had debt problems before, but under him, it’s a nationwide economic death sentence.

REMINDER – Michael Voris conference March 4! February 23, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, fun, General Catholic, Interior Life, Lent, North Deanery, Tradition, Virtue.
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It’s cheap!  It’s local!  It’s awesome!  What more do you want?!?  We’ve even got a slick flier, finally!

MichaelVorisMarch42012 (2)

Get your tickets in advance to be assured of a seat, right here!  Or, $5 individual or $10 family at the door!

 

What constitutes mortal sin? February 23, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, Lent, Sacraments, scandals, Tradition, Virtue.
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Over at Catholic Culture, Dr. Jeff Mirus is expounding on the nature of mortal sin, and he’s taken a turn I think is imprudent, possibly even dangerous.  In two posts, he reviews a book wherein a character plans to commit adultery on his wife, but at the last minute backs out and doesn’t do it.  The first post claims that another reviewer of the book committed a heinous error when the reviewer claimed that the man had objectively committed a mortal sin.  In a second post, he goes on at extensive length positing his view of what constitutes a mortal sin.  I believe that Dr. Mirus is almost falling into the error of believing that mortal sins are exceedingly rare.  At the very least, he seems to have the view that we are entirely unqualified to determine whether a sin is mortal or not.  I must disagree on both counts. 

First, we need to define what mortal sin is.  It is a sin committed with full consent of the will on a grave matter.  Grave matter would be violations of the Decalogue, some of Christ’s prohibitions against sins, sins established through Tradition even if not explicitly present in Sacred Scripture (but all of which have evolved through understanding of the various Commandments, such as addiction to tobacco being a violation of the 5th Commandment).

I want to look at two statements by Mirus on which his claims really hinge (as I perceive it).  First, in the comments of the first post, he claims this:

It is possible that deliberate indulgence of a sinful pleasure in the mind and emotions could be mortal. But we would have to agree that a bad thought is “grave matter”, which in many (most?) cases will be too long a stretch.

WRONG.  Sorry, Dr. Mirus, but St. Alphonse Ligouri would vigorously disagree.  It is 100%, totally possible, and indeed very frequent, to commit a mortal sin of thought.  If I see a beautiful woman and lust after her and take pleasure in that thought, lingering on it (thus giving full consent of the will), I have committed a mortal sin.  If I get mad at someone and take pleasure in the thought of bashing their head in with a crowbar, I’ve committed a mortal sin.  This is the traditional definition – I know there are many priests today who would disagree, but such disagreement represents, to me, far more a great watering down of the understanding of the concept of sin, than it does reality.  Certainly, a traditional priest would adhere to the definition given above.  And I ask, which is the better case, to be more stringent in the definition of sin, thus insuring more penance and mortification and drawing near to the Lord, or a more loosey goosey interpretation?  I strongly advocate the former.

Mirus also offers the following breakdown of “grave matter:”

And the fourth perceptual problem is the line between mortal and venial sin with respect to grave matter. What is a grave offense for you might not be a grave offense for me, depending on our respective degrees of spiritual progress.[I disagree just about 100% here] But this is not what the Church means when she requires “grave matter” for a sin to be mortal. The requirement here is that the matter itself be objectively serious, on a scale of moral gravity. Murder is more serious than name-calling, adultery is more serious than private sexual sins, a sinful action is more serious than a sinful thought of the same kind,

I’ve got to disagree again here, especially with regard to the difference between actual adultery with another person and imagined adultery with the computer screen and………you know.  And with the idea that the thought is much worse than the act.  Both can be mortal.  I agree that there can be something of a difference between some sins of thought and sins of action, but with the case of adultery, pleasuring oneself while dreaming of your neighbor is just as mortal a sin as having actual sex with her.  While the latter may be somewhat worse, I guess, morally, in reality, they are both mortal sins.  Even just fantasizing about your neighbor, taking pleasure in those thoughts, has always been viewed as a mortal sin.

Mirus’ main point in his second post, that these things really need to be determined by a good confessor is very well taken, but that does not mean that we cannot assess these matters for ourselves.  Mortal sin is like a spiritual heart attack.  It needs to be dealt with immediately, for if you die in that state…………that’s it.  You’re finished.  We need to be able to determine whether we’ve committed an act that is, or is likely, a mortal sin, and get to Confession as soon as possible.  Mirus’ approach seems to me more lackadaisical – it might be a mortal sin, but probably isn’t so don’t worry yourself too much about it, and just ask when you go in next week or month or year or never for your next confession. I think his mentality is dangerous, as it plays to our modern habit of disbelieving in sin, or at the very least minimizing it, trivializing it and limiting it to monsters like Stalin and Pol Pot. 

Back to the original moral question that precipitated this – planning to commit a mortal sin is very nearly the same as committing one.  It requires thought, assent of the will, the agreement to do something sinful, at least internally.  That one later backs out is good, but does not remit the original sin committed. Tempting oneself, placing oneself in a near occasion of mortal sin willfully, is a mortal sin.  The original reviewer was right – this man is objectively in a state of mortal sin, because he has gone so far as to plan his mortal sin, where and when it will occur, etc.  It is a virtual certainty that he will or has fantasize about the conduct of that extramarital affair.  Even without the knowledge of that detail, he’s still in a very bad place, and needs Confession immediately. 

Another commenter at CatholicCulture put things better than I have:

There is no question that “planning” requires full advertence of the intellect, but does it equally require full consent of the will? I teach that it does. To plan is to focus, to concentrate, to turn away from other considerations. It is deliberate. There is no question as well that adultery is a grave moral evil. To willfully “plan” adultery, no matter what may in the end frustrate accomplishment of the physical act, is to already have crossed the line of sinning against chastity of the mind

It’s Lent – GO TO CONFESSION!

More money doesn’t mean better schools February 23, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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An article in the Dallas Morning News annoyed me today.  In it, the News repeatedly claims that Texas is essentially abusing its children because of a drop in school funding.  The original article I found is behind the pay wall, so you’ll have to take some of my word for it, but the general details are here:

Spending on public school students in Texas has dropped sharply this year and the already large gap between the state and the national average has widened, according to new comparisons by the National Education Association . Texas schools are spending $8,908 per student in the current school year, well under the national average of $11,463 and also below the estimate cited by Gov. Rick Perry– $10,000 – in an interview with The Dallas Morning News this week.

Preliminary NEA figures show that per pupil spending in the state actually dropped $538 from the 2010-11 school year, when Texas ranked 41st among the states with an average expenditure of $9,446. It is one of the few times in recent history that average spending on students has declined in the state. Nationwide, the average went up slightly, about $158 per pupil, as other states also dealt with tough economic circumstances. The decrease in Texas follows unprecedented funding cuts approved by the Legislature last year to balance the state budget. Funding for schools was slashed by $5.4 billion in the current biennium, with many North Texas districts facing their biggest reductions in the 2012-13 school year.

Average teacher salaries in Texas actually went up slightly this year to $49,017, an increase of $379 over last year, when the state ranked 31st in the NEA comparisons. But the Texas average is still $7,626 below the national average and the difference between Texas teachers and their counterparts across the country is growing. “We continue to fall further behind the national averages for both spending per student and teacher salaries because of the refusal of the governor and the legislative majority to adequately fund public schools,” said Clay Robison of the NEA-affiliated Texas State Teachers Association

To which I say, so what?  The fact is, spending per pupil in this country has trebled since the early 70s, when Big Government turned education into Big Education, but test scores have remained essentially flat, or even declined in some areas (especially science). 

Lamenting the fact that public schools – PUBLIC! – are spending ONLY $9000 per student in Texas, or $15k in New York or $12k in California – is a bit ridiculous.  Many private schools cost less than that per year, and turn out a much, much better educated student.  Throwing money at education has never been the solution.  In fact, basically unlimited funds often create more problems than they solve, in bloated administrations, more bureaucracies meaning more rules and regulations (including stupid, offensive things like “banning” Christmas), more political correctness, and more left wing agitprop.  Why the latter?  Because those of a left wing outlook tend to be far more attracted to government jobs, and the Education Industrial Complex is dominated by left wingers often hostile to traditional morality, especially at its highest levels.

But what really annoyed me was just the reflexive, automatic liberal response of “more money = better, less money = worse, or even negligently bad.”  It’s just absurd.  Yes, money has to be spent to educate children, but money does not equal performance, but there are far too many in the Education Complex who claim it does.

As an aside, you can homeschool your child for a few hundred dollars per year, and virtually every Catholic school at any level costs much less than $10k a year, and turn out kids with far, far better academic performance.

I believe the proper way to approach the data released by the NEA is, why are public schools so bloated, inefficient, and wasteful?

Join Carmelites for Stations of the Cross every Friday in Lent February 23, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Lent, religious.
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Oh, you can bet I’ll be there at least a couple of times (but not this week, sadly).

The Carmelite Monastery at 600 Flowers Ave, Dallas, 75211 will have Stations of the Cross, every Friday during Lent, starting at 6:30 PM, led by either Father Longua, FSSP or Father Wolfe, FSSP. 

Stations of the Cross start this Friday, Feb. 24

Reminder:

    *   All Night Vigil is First Friday, March 2.

    *   Devotions to The Holy Face and Benediction is Sunday, March 4.

Thanks to MJ for the heads up.

Sometimes it’s helpful to know what they really think February 22, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, North Deanery, persecution, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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Those demanding “tolerance” are ready to enforce their “tolerance” with the point of a gun.  A little girl speaking in defense of marriage had a statement read in the Maryland legislature.  I thought it was a pretty unoffensive:

“Hi, I’m Sarah Crank.  Today’s my 14th birthday, and it would be the best birthday present ever if you would vote ‘no’ on gay marriage. I really feel bad for the kids who have two parents of the same gender. Even though some kids think it’s fine, they have no idea what kind of wonderful experiences they miss out on. I don’t want more kids to get confused about what’s right and okay. I really don’t want to grow up in a world where marriage isn’t such a special thing anymore.

“It’s rather scary to think that when I grow up the legislature or the court can change the definition of any word they want. If they could change the definition of marriage then they could change the definition of any word. People have the choice to be gay, but I don’t want to be affected by their choice. People say that they were born that way, but I’ve met really nice adults who did change.  So please vote ‘no’ on gay marriage. Thank you.”

The reactions were more than just a little unhinged:

“And now everyone knows her name, so hopefully she will feel what its like to be harassed and bullied…” reads a comment posted on LGBTNation.com

From YouTube:  “My god I hate people like this. Most (not all) Americans are [expletive] retards.  If I ever see this girl, I will kill herThat’s a promise.”

Other entries:  “Her parents should be exterminated.”

“The [sic] is why abortion must stay legal – to prevent little bigots like this from being Born…”

“Kill this child and his [sic] parent, for my 11 birthday would be a wonderful gift, thanks.”

“Her belief is hurting other people.  I will attack her as much as I please.”

“Parents like hers should be sterilized…”

“I’m gonna kill ‘er!”

The closer they get to their goals, the more the true face of the radical gay lobby is revealed?  This case is not an exception.  If you read the comments on Youtube, or many news websites, you’ll see much of the same.  The girl in this case is 14 years old. 

When you are lost in sin, taking on a new sin, or going further down into the depths, is the most ‘natural’ thing in the world.  Thus, going from incendiary rhetoric and threats to acts may not be a big step for some of these people.

I’ve said it before and will say it again, this radical gay rights agenda and its total hatred for Christianity and traditional morality is going to be the torch that lights the fires of Christian martyrdom, should it come.  I pray I remain faithful.

Obama ignores Christian persecution worldwide, touts “hate crimes” agenda February 22, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, North Deanery, priests, sadness, scandals, Society.
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Is it not a “hate crime” to hate somebody simply on the basis of their religion?  Why is it that President Obama is always going on about how we shouldn’t mistreat muslims, how we should never generalize the terrorist acts of a small portion of the muslim population to the entire religion, etc, and yet he can’t find a spare moment to address Christian persecution around the world, since as the Christians strung up in Pakistan recently:

CatholicVote notes the great hypocrisy of the president, as he touts his gay lobby loving “hate crimes” agenda, while ignoring the thousands of Christians being martyred around the world.  But, then, I guess we knew he was the first muslim president.  Islam was deeply penetrated by left-think in the 60’s and 70s, the same as the rest of the world, so his embrace of the homosexuality so abhorrent to islam is not surprising.

Something else very good at CatholicVote, a post by Dr. Janet West Smith noting that, for the first time in decades, priests are speaking out against contraception.  How about hitting a host of other moral evils, like porn, drunkeness, materialism, gossip, fornication, sloth……?

Then there is the sort of cutesy video by this priest, but I’d note yet again that our right to the free practice of religion comes not from any enlightenment document but from God, a fact merely recognized by the Founding Fathers:

Receiving the Blessed Sacrament worthily February 22, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, religious, Saints, Virtue.
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I pray you got your Lent off to a good start, so far!  If not yet, now’s the time!

Blessed Henry Suso on the worthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament:

The Servant: Alas, God, how few men there are who thoroughly consider what they receive in it [The “Gift,” the Blessed Sacrament] .  They approach, as others are wont to do, in a bad, thoughtless way, and hence,, just as they arrive empty, they also leave without Grace; they do not masticate the food, or consider what they receive there.

Eternal Wisdom:  I am the living bread for those who are well prepared, the dry bread for those who are badly prepared, but to the wholly unprepared I am a temporal blow, a deadly fall, and an eternal curse.  The well prepared are the purified, the badly prepared those who are impeded, but the unprepared are the sinful, who are in mortal sin, by their will or their works.

The Servant: Lord, it seems to me this si one of the greatest things that all time can accomplish. Lord, who is there that lives on earth, who can prepare himself worthily enough for Thee?

Eternal Wisdom: That man was never born; and if a man had the natural spirituality of all the angels, the purity of all Saints, and the good works of all men, he would still be unworthy of Me. 

The Servant: Alas, beloved Lord, with what trembling should we worthless, graceless men draw near to Thee!

Eternal Widsom: If man does what is in his power, no more is demanded from him; for what is left  unaccomplished is completed by God. A sick man should cast aside all timidity, and approach his physician, whose aid is his healing.

The Servant: Beloved Lord, which is better: to receive Thee in the Sacrament often or rarely?

Eternal Wisdom: To those persons to whom Grace and devotion noticeably accrue threfrom, diligent, frequent appearance is helpful.

The Servant: Lord, what then, if a man, according to his understanding, makes no spiritual progress, or is often in great hardness?

Eternal Wisdom: A man should not abstain to a marked degree because of hardness, provided he does his part; becasue the savlation of his soul, which, by God’s permission, is in a state of hardness, is often perfected as nobly in the light of pure faith as in great sweetness. I am a Good that grows with use, and dies away if hoarded up. It is better to approach from lvoe than to desist from fear. It is better to approach earnestly once every week with a deep fund of true humility, than once a year with pride in one’s own righteousness.

———————–End Quote—————————-

Again, we can’t work ourselves to salvation.  Salvation comes through meek acceptance that we are humble sinners, knowing that whatever good we do is made possible through our cooperation with Grace, and that the bad we do is entirely our own.  Humble trust in Christ and His Church is the Way.  Trust in the Sacraments – avail yourself of them as often as you can!  Pray and meditate, examine your conscience!

I read too much February 22, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, Lent, Saints, Virtue.
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I had a Providential moment this morning, or, at least, I took it to be Providential.  I read a great deal.  I read books entirely related to the Faith.  I am at present reading about 15 books on the Faith simultaneously.  What I do is, I read through each book a little at a time.  I have done this for years now, since I got really serious about my practice of the faith, but I think it’s grown into an attachment. I think I have developed a secret pride regarding how much reading on the Faith I do.  It’s a good thing to learn about the Faith, to read books on Saints or spirituality or the Bible, but I was telling my wife this morning that I need to change my reading habits, and she rather energetically agreed.  She believes I  may be spending so much time on it that it’s cutting into my time that should be spent on other activities.  She is right.  I’m an addict, and those addictive behaviors love to surface in any way they can, and I think I’ve turned into a “Catholic book reading” addict.  I had sort of leveled out in my reading for a while, to a level that was manageable, but of late I’ve taken on several very large and deep volumes (The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Iota Unum, Haydock’s Douay Reims Bible), in addition to all the many books I was already reading, and it’s taking too much of my time.

So, I guess showing how hypocritical I am, right after we had this discussion, wherein I became annoyed when I shouldn’t have, I read(!!) this:

IN beautiful things St. Francis saw beauty itself, and through His vestiges imprinted on creation he followed his beloved everywhere, making from all things a ladder by which he could climb up and embrace Him who is utterly desirable.

If you desire to know…….ask Grace, not instruction; desire, not understanding: the groaning of prayer, not diligent readings; the Spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness, not clarity; not light, but the fire that totally inflames and carries us into God by ecstatic unctions and burning affections. ——St. Bonaventure

Then I read this (all in the same book on the same page, my oldest, most constant prayer book, but I’ve never read this part before):

Nothing but self-will can separate us from God.

There are certain souls who desire to arrive at perfection all at once, and this desire keeps them in constant disquiet. —-St. Alphonse Ligouri

I think that’s me, to an extent.  I think doing all this reading has become a habit of pride, an attempt to somehow study my way to holiness.  That won’t work.  It is very important to know the Faith, to read about the Saints, to learn Catholic spirituality, to learn from the example of those who have walked the narrow path successfully, but it’s also possible to get carried away and make an idol of intellectual pride out of excessive study.  And so I have something else to work on this Lent.  I think what I will do is, put down a couple of books, and as I finish a couple of others, I won’t pick up a replacement.  I’ll be mired in sinful ignorance forever! 

Not really.

I do surely need your prayers.  May God bless all of you so abundantly.

Historical-Critical Method condemned by Pope St. Pius X – still operative? February 21, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, Interior Life, Papa.
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The historical-critical method of Bible study was created by German protestants (they keep giving us sooo much!) working under the aegis of Otto von Bismarck during the persecution of the Church in Germany called the Kulturkampf.  von Bismarck desired to undermine the Authority of Scripture in order to oppose the temporal rights of the Church, and enlisted modernist protestant academics to pursue this goal.  From the historical-critical method derived such novelties as claiming that the Gospel of Mark was written historically first – this was important, because this claim was made to undermine the belief that the Gospel of Matthew – which establishes Christ’s Church in Chapter 16, when Christ gave the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter – came first.  It is claimed by the historical-critical academics – or, at least it was at one time, support for the thesis that St. Mark’s Gospel came first has waned – that all the synoptic Gospels are derivatives of St. Mark’s so-called “proto-gospel.”  There are many problems with the historical-critical method, some of which are outlined here by Msgr. Charles Pope.  Certainly, the historical-critical method has been used to try to undermine many core beliefs of the Church, and has even go so far as to “de-mystify” Christ, by claiming that the many miracles attributed to Him were merely allegorical, or tall tales told to convince the ignorant, wide-eyed pagans of the Roman Empire that Christ truly was Divine. 

There is no question that the historical-critical method is modernist – in fact, it is one of the core tenets of modernism. Modernist Catholics belief in the Divinity of Christ is a very fuzzy one, and entirely immanentist – meaning, Christ is “Divine” only insofar as we believe Him to be, and only so far as He represented, as it were, the “perfect man,” or perfect embodiment of the cultural zeitgeist (note the German term), or the needs and wants of the people of Israel at that particular moment in history, and thus, He is essentially human and not truly God and was not capable of actual miracles.  Obviously, this is an incredibly problematic view for a Catholic.  In fact, many of the most “progressive” exegetes are now rejecting many of the earlier, scientific “proofs” ostensibly established by the historical-critical method which discounted much of the history of Christ and the early Church as fantasy or allegory, and are now finding that what the Church always proclaimed was true, is, in fact, true.

As the historical-critical method is the essence of that modernism which is applied to religion, it was roundly condemned by Pope St. Pius X.  In Pascendi Gregis Dominici, the seminal encyclical condemning modernism as a heresy, Pope St. Pius X condemned the historical-critical method specifically:

We believe, then, that We have set forth with sufficient clarity the historical method of the modernists.  The philosopher leads the way, and then in due order come internal and textual criticism.  Since it is characteristic of the first cause to communicate its virtue to secondary causes, it is quite clear that the criticism We are concerned with is an agnostic, immanentist, and evolutionist criticism.  Anybody who embraces and employs it, makes profession thereby of the errors contained in it, and places himself in opposition to the Catholic Faith.

If you read all of Msgr. Pope’s post at the link above, you’ll find that both the Catechism written by Schoenborn and even Pope Benedict XVI seem to embrace, at least to some extent, the historical-critical method.  And there are probably areas where it may be used innocuously.  But that’s not the point.  While Papa Ratzinger may have numerous problems with the historical-critical method, he has always stated that it is an approach that should be used with regard to Scripture study.

How do we reconcile this?  Was there ever a magisterial statement that contradicted Pascendi Gregis Dominici?  Or was it just swept under the rug, like the very magisterial, but completely ignored, Veterum Sapientia?   If so, is the encyclical still operative, but just ignored?  Does the Catechism’s indirect but seeming tacit embrace of the historical-critical method “wipe out” the authority of Pope St. Pius X’s encyclical, written “all of” 100 years ago?  Does an interview of the Pope in a book, or even a book written by the Pope himself as a private theologian (please……..stop), somehow “counter-act” the previous encyclical?

Anybody know or care?