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Michael Voris on what’s wrong with the Church December 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, true leadership.
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The latest Vortex video looks at what is wrong with the Church.  Voris and the Church Militant TV staff interviewed the laity, priests, religious, and bishops to get their responses with what is wrong with the Church. While agree with all of the below, I think it misses or understates the two biggest problems.

So, the list is:

  1. false ecumenism
  2. liberal social justice agenda
  3. rebellion among clergy
  4. secular relativism
  5. cafeteria catholycs
  6. abuse of Novus Ordo Mass
  7. lack of zeal by bishops
  8. unwillingness/cowardice in confronting dissent
  9. the homosexual clergy network
  10. poor formation

Again, I agree that all of the above are huge problems.  But I would put before any of these the huge disasters of contraceptive use and the massive episcopal conference/bureaucratic structure.  While contraceptive use could and does fall under cafeteria Catholics, this is THE issue that both begat mass apostasy and continues to peal the vast majority of Catholics away from Holy Mother Church.  Likewise, lack of zeal, cowardice, leftist social justice efforts and poor formation are all directly related to the episcopal conference structure and the revolutionary bureaucracy it has bred.  I would also argue that rebellion among the clergy is related to both contraception and the episcopal conferences, as contraception is what led many priests to apostasize or dissent, while the episcopal conference structure has created an environment where those priests will never be punished for preaching/spreading error.

Michael is asking people to rank these issues here.  If it were my list, I would have contraception and the episcopal conference structure pinned at 1 and 2, respectively.  I don’t think there is any sin or error eating away at the Church like contraception does.  And I fear we won’t see the type of leadership the faithful so desperately need from bishops until the current conference construct is either destroyed, or radically neutered.

It is interesting that a reader and friend suggested that I do a poll on some similar issues on this blog.  I may still do so, but for now I’ll just point at the Church Militant site.

The Barque of Peter will not be righted…… December 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness.
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…..and steered on a much safer, holier course, saving countless souls in the process, until the Church abandons the nightmare of regional and especially national episcopal conferences, and in a related matter, until all shepherds  begin to preach loudly and frequently (several times a year) on the evil of contraception.  For the latter, this matter must be addressed as it is the core moral evil of our time and is the largest single sin that separates what should be faithful Catholics from the Body of Christ. For the former, I am in good company as both Fr. Ray Blake and Mr. William Oddie have noted glaring problems with episcopal conferences in recent days.

The problem, in Fr. Blake’s mind, is that episcopal conferences, as they have developed, seem to be a focus not for action, but for inaction, and have usurped many functions which should be reserved to individual bishops – such as speaking out on various moral and faith-related issues of our day.  This has led to enormous bureaucratic inertia where the bishops seem to have difficulty acting at all, and when they do, it is generally in a very watered-down, “design by committee” manner that is often unedifying and sometimes even worse. We just don’t have the type of leadership that has been seen in the past from thousands of holy bishops.  Some of Fr. BlMany of our Bishops are holy and all are good men but I am convinced it is the
Episcopal Conference structure that keeps them from giving any leadership to the
Church and the country. However if the problem is not the Conference then we do
need to ask serious questions of our Bishops but they are not questions I can
ask publicly as a priest.

A Curial Bishop once told me that a few
Episcopal Conferences in the world give leadership but most frustrate it. In our
case the Bishop’s Conference certainly frustrates the accountability of
individual Bishops to their Presbyterates and their people, an accountability
which was in the vision of Vatican II, in its strengthening of the bond between
a Bishop and his diocese. The principle of subsidiarity meant that Bishops spoke
collectively only when really necessary and for “pastoral good”. However what we
have is that every action or more often inaction is based on collective
responsibility, which means no Bishop takes responsibility for much more than
minor administrative tasks in his own diocese. Little is their responsibility,
all is the collective responsibility of the Bishops Conference or particular
Commissions of the Bishops Conference.ake’s comments:

This is a very widespread phenomenon, and is in fact not only NOT what the Council intended, it is a direct assault on the normal role of the bishop as chief shepherd of his diocese.  In point of fact, the massive Church bureaucracies associated with all these conferences was set up by revolutionaries in the days after Vatican II, and has been used by those same revolutionaries since then as vehicles to further their radical agenda.  As I have noted in other posts, collegiality, far from empowering bishops, has actually stripped them of their power, influence, and leadeship ability far more than the most draconian of curial cardinals prior to Vatican II.

William Oddie emphasizes the fact the episcopal conferences are a total fabrication that appeared after Vatican II, have no root in Scripture or Tradition, and could be ignored by individual bishops at any time should they choose to do so:

What’s interesting here is Fr Blake’s analysis of exactly why this is so, which is one I have more than once argued myself: it’s the existence of the bishops’ conference as a bureaucratic entity (rather than as a spiritual body). It’s the bureaucratisation of our hierarchy — so that only the official episcopal spokesman in a particular area, as chairman of some board or other run from Eccleston Square, [equivalent of USCCB]  with its own lay secretary (probably an ex-priest or laicised nun), or on the other hand the archbishops speaking collectively (an extreme rarity) — may speak for the other bishops: this means that individual bishops have their own prophetic voice if not silenced then severely weakened……

……The fact is, however, that since episcopal conferences have no theological basis, individual bishops could still say exactly what they want to say at any time, whether the conference bureaucrats like it or not: and one or two have actually started to do just that….

Mr. Oddie then goes on to discuss a Bishop Davies who has led on the issue of gay marriage in England, where the Prime Minister seems set to ram this down the throats of the country and Church.  We’ve had bishops in the US that have spoken out on various issues in manners that have probably discomfited a number of their brother bishops, possibly even most of them.  Bishops Bruskewitz and Burke come to mind.

But Oddie establishes a critical distinction – if the bishops have been emasculated by episcopal conferences, that is because they have chosen to be.  Any bishop can at any time repudiate any ill-advised, watered down statement from the USCCB or any other conference they belong to.  That may make them unpopular, it may harm their “career,” but it can always be done, a local bishop has not only the right and the authority to proclaim the faith and morals of the Church, but he has a positive duty to do so. Far too many bishops have abrogated this responsibility and the results have been catastrophic.

If you don’t pray for your own bishop and many others every day, please do so.  Offer up Rosaries, Novenas, mortifications, Mass intentions, everything you can think of for your bishop.  They are under constant spiritual attack.  They desperately need our help by our prayers, and I think the laity must bear much responsibility for the lack of leadership in the Church, as the prayer life of so many Catholics is weak to nonexistent.  Please pray!


Be careful which Liguori books you buy December 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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I’ve been posting a fair bit lately from St. Alphonsus Liguori.  This great Saint was a most prolific writer.  In his Ascetical series alone are over 30 volumes.  When I first started reading Liguori, totally by accident – I picked up a copy of The Holy Eucharist at Half Price Books – I didn’t know what I had.  But I knew the translation was amazing and the content seemed unusually heavy hitting for a modern-day Saint book.  So, I’ve investigated and what I’ve found is that you really want a book that contains an unabridged version of the translations done by the incredibly dedicated Fr. Eugene Grimm CSSR in the mid-late 1800s.  As I’ve mentioned in another post, these translations by Grimm from Latin/Italian were his life’s work. They are extremely accurate and are what you really want when you’re reading Liguori, unless you can read the original Latin or Italian.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of modern, crummy, abridged and severely redacted versions around. These constitute the vast 31Hl8A71d3L__SL500_AA300_majority of what you will see in bookstores and online.  You have to dig deep to find Grimm.  On Amazon, I search the books by typing in “liguori grimm.”  That does the trick pretty well, although I’m missing many volumes, yet.  For instance, Vol. 1 of the Ascetical Works, Preparation for Death. This is a seminal work, and the modern copies in print just don’t do it justice.  You really want this version, of which only one copy is on sale at Amazon for almost $60.  I’ll hold off spending $60 on a 40 year old mass market paperback, hoping a much cheaper copy comes up for sale.

There are two versions of these Liguori books translated by Grimm – there are hardback copies produced in the 20s and 30s by the Redemptorist Fathers, and another batch of paperbacks produced in the 70s, primarily, by the same group, which is just a cheaper, paperback version of the books printed in the 20s and 30s.  These books contain ALL the text by Grimm and have no removals, excisions, redactions, anything.  To illustrate the difference between these preferred copies and the modern ones, Vol. 1 (Preparation for Death) in the Grimm version contains 457 pages, while Vol. 1 in the modern versions contain 130-150 pages.  I don’t know what these modern, abridged versions are missing, and I don’t want to find out.  But I can imagine all the careful admonitions about death, judgment, and hell are largely removed, plus Liguori’s very flowing, almost poetic prose is probably butchered.51o+0uNoJnL__SL500_AA300_

Another thing to avoid is “publish on demand” books that purport to be the Grimm version but, from what I have read, have severe problems of quality and content.  Some reviewers claimed these books are almost unreadable the editing is so bad.  Those look like the figure on right.

Below are some of the much preferred, Grimm versions with a link to their page on Amazon.  Not all the links mean there is a book available, you’ll have to check.  I pray this information proves useful to you!  Perhaps you could load up a loved one with some awesome spirituality from the Moral Doctor this Christmas!
















That’s all Amazon has for now.  Most are not too expensive.  That last volume is actually not part of the ascetical works, but I’d certainly recommend it all the same, good St. Alphonsus had a terrific devotion to Our Lady!  And She, of course, was very good to him. As She is to all of us!

A good thing for Catholics to do is to build up a library of good, holy books!  I pray these recommendations of books by St. Alphonsus helps you build yours!


Sin as it dishonors God December 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, religious, Saints, Tradition, Virtue.
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From Vol. II of The Ascetical Works of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, The Way of Salvation and Perfection, meditation II, Sin as it Dishonors God:

1. By transgression of the law thou dishonorest God (Rom 2:23).

When the sinner deliberates whether he shall give or refuse his consent to sin, he takes the balance into his hands to decide which is of most value – the favor of God, some passion, some worldly interest or pleasure. When he yields to temptation, what does he do? He decides that some wretched gratification is more desirable than the favor of God. Thus it is that he dishonors God, declaring, by his consent, that a miserable pleasure is preferable to the Divine friendship.

Thus, then, O God! have I so many times dishonored Thee, by esteeming Thee less than my miserable passions.

2. Of this the Almighty complains by the prophet Ezekiel, when he says: They violated Me among My people, for a handful of barley and a piece of bread (Ez 13:19). If the sinner should exchange God for a treasure of jewels, or for a kingdom, it would indeed be doing a great evil, because God is of infinitely more value than all the treasures and kingdoms of the earth.  But for what do so many exchange him? for a vapor, for a little dirt, for a poisoned pleasure, which is no sooner tasted than it vanishes. [Lord, do I know this so well. Why do I continue to do this Lord, even when I know better?  Why do I exchange your Kingdom for a mouthful of ashes?]

O God! how could I have had the heart for such vile things, so often to despise Thee, who hast shown so much love for me? But behold, my Redeemer, how I now love Thee above all things; and because I love Thee, I feel more regret for having lost Thee, my God, than if I had lost all other goods, and even my life. Have pity on me, and forgive me. I will never more incur Thy displeasure. Grant that I may rather die than offend Thee any more. [please give us the Grace to choose death to even the smallest, deliberate, venial sin……]

3. Lord, who is like to Thee (Ps 34:10)?

And what good things, O God!, can be comparable to Thee, O Infinite Goodness? But how could I have turned my back upon Thee, to give myself to those vile things which sin held out to me? O Jesus, Thy precious blood is my hope. Thou hast promised to hear him who prays to Thee. I ask Thee not for the goods of this world: I ask Thee for the pardon of those sins which I have committed against Thee, and for which I am sorry above every other evil. I ask Thee for perserverance in Thy Grace until the end of my life. I ask Thee for the gift of Thy Holy Love; my soul is enamored of Thy goodness; hear me, O Lord! Only grant that I may love Thee both here and hereafter, and to all things else do with me as Thou pleasest. My Lord, and my only good, suffer me not to be any more separated from Thee! Mary, Mother of God, do thou also listen to me, and obtain for me that I may ever belong to God, and that God may be my inheritance forever.

———————-End Quote———————–

These books from Liguori, the Moral Doctor, are pure gold. But it’s critical to buy the right one. A little later, I pray, I will do a post on which books to get, because modern versions are abridged, truncated, and shorn of much critical text.  It makes all the difference in the value of these books.

Bishop Morlino bans two new age sisters December 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, contraception, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, scandals, Spiritual Warfare, true leadership.
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The very reason I started this blog, is because a local parish invited a certain, rather notorious new age sister by the name of Joyce Rupp to give a Lenten retreat.  Later that same Lent, the extremely progressive and heterodox theologian Dr. Rick Gaillardetz gave a retreat at the same parish, St. Mark.  In subsequent years, the high profile of the Lenten speakers has been toned down, but there is a new age, ummm……..aura……… about all of them, still.

My efforts to stop the Joyce Rupp retreat were illuminative, to say the least.  Silly naive me, I thought the bishop would actually take some action to stop this, and perhaps he has taken some to tone down the profile of the speakers, but I really don’t know. Certainly nothing was done to stop Rupp from coming, her retreat went off without a hitch.  What I learned at that time is that, ostensibly, in the topsy turvey world of “collegiality” that reigns in the Church since Vatican II,  the bishop where the retreat is given normally won’t do anything to stop a heterodox speaker from coming in, unless the bishop from that individual’s home diocese has taken some action to remove them from the very secret list of the Catholic Approved Speakers Guild.

It’s a really neat game, where Diocese X, the destination for the heterodox speaker, can point to the speaker’s home diocese of Y, and blame them for not putting some prohibition on the speaker.  Meanwhile, Diocese Y can point to Diocese X and say that if the bishop there really has a problem with the speaker, he could stop the conference.  Multiply by 1 billion, and you have the framework by which error and highly problematic “spirituality” has been given virtual free reign in the Church over the past 50 years – the revolutionaries who took control of the Church after Vatican II constructed a nearly flawless system of plausible deniability, where they can do whatever they dang well please, and never be held to account, always giving the bishops plenty of “outs.”

So, it is refreshing to see a bishop finally take some action to stop these kinds of erroneous, destructive programs.  Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison has banned two women religious and two lay women from giving talks, holding spirituality seminars, etc., due to what he describes as a very prevalent new age sentiment and religious indifferentism:

Two longtime Madison nuns who lead an interfaith spirituality center have  been banned by Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino from holding workshops or  providing spiritual direction or guidance at any Catholic churches in the  11-county diocese. [these kinds of interfaith centers are legion around the country, frequently led by or having female religious attached, and they have a very strong propensity to promote new age practices like enneagrams, “crystals,” reiki, etc]

Sisters Maureen McDonnell and Lynn Lisbeth, both Sinsinawa Dominicans, have diverged too far from Catholic teaching, according to a confidential memo sent Nov. 27 to priests on behalf of Morlino. A copy of the memo was leaked to the State Journal. [the Sinsinawa Dominicans are infamous for having a pro-abort “clinic escort” among their ranks, and have had more than one]

Two other women connected to the interfaith center, called Wisdom’s Well,  also have been banned as part of the same action. [I perused the website for this group, and the spirituality described is heavy in its reliance on new age terminology.  Thomas Merton is featured heavily, which rings warning bells for me. While some of his writings are OK, in practical terms over the past 40 years, and especially in the methodologies of fellow Trappist Thomas Keating, “Merton” has meant “new age.”]

The memo says Morlino has “grave concerns” about the women’s teachings,  specifically that they “espouse certain views” flowing from such movements as  “New Ageism” and “indifferentism.” The latter, according to the memo, is “the  belief that no one religion or philosophy is superior to another.”

The women “may not share an authentic view of the Catholic Church’s approach  to interreligious dialogue,” the memo said.

Brent King, a spokesman for the diocese, said three other potential parish  guest speakers, all male, have been banned “in recent years.” The women are not  prohibited from attending Mass or, if Catholic, from receiving communion, King  said. Asked whether they could contribute to parish life in other ways, such as  reading Bible passages from the pulpit or chairing a church committee, King said  that would be up to individual priests.

I find this last segment a bit disappointing.  If these women have been teaching error, leading people away from the Church in pursuit of an aberrant spirituality, it would seem to follow that they themselves hold beliefs which are not consonant with the Faith.  Depending on the matter, this could place them outside the Communion of the Church.  Each individual case would have to be carefully reviewed, but I find a blanket statement that they can receive the Blessed Sacrament a bit unsettling.  If the spirituality is so erroneous as to remove their right to teach in the Church, can they really be in a state to receive the Blessed Sacrament?  Possibly…….

It is critical to remember that any denial of Communion would be for the good of the person’s soul, not as “punishment” for bad acting.  It would be a last-ditch attempt to get them to shake off whatever error they profess.