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Some follow-up on the barefooted sack-cloth penitent at St. Peters during the Conclave March 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, foolishness, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Papa, sadness, sanctity, scandals, Society.
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I found an article that had some additional information regarding that barefooted penitent praying in St. Peters I blogged on last week.  It turns out “she” is a he and is attached to a Franciscan group in Assisi.  The person in the photo in my previous post is the same barefooted pilgrim described below.  There was only one, in all of St. Peters. Perhaps, perhaps, there should have been more (I add emphasis and comments):1peregrinofrentemario-cameraterra

Well, folks, I’ve written, un-written, re-written, and now I’ve finally decided I can’t give this guy props. He belongs to a sect called Families of Bethlehem that was declared heretical and its leaders excommunicated in 1994. Somehow, they were declared OK by the Bishop of Assisi in 2006. While I think his dedication to penance admirable (and this man has been doing so now for nearly 20 years – since 1994 – most or all the members of this little movement (about 15 souls) go around barefoot and in rags) and while he said some good things in the interview I linked to above, I think this group is problematic, and this guy likely is, too.  I am not judging his soul, simply the materials he apparently constantly distributing, which focus on the private revelations of a man now long deceased who had “prophetic visions” and prompted the formation of this group.  There is quite a bit of hippy in these guys – while this man wears their “habit” of 100 patches of material sown together in a rather drab, brown form, others wore “a coat of many colors” and went around with guitars, tamborines, and all that.  I can’t find what they really believe, other than that this “prophet” ostensibly predicted an earthquake and the present economic troubles in Italy and around the world.  Since I can’t identify what they believe, I’m just going to put a couple of pics and leave it at that.



This man, Massimo Coppo, sleeps in the portico of the Basilica in Assisi and also near a public restroom.  Of course, the barefoot penance and very early Franciscan type “habit” arouses strong sympathy with me, but prudence dictates I not print the limited commentary he gave in the interview.

If I may impugn on your charity once more….. March 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, sanctity.
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……my father had a nasty fall today and had to go to the emergency room.  It is nothing life-threatening, but he is getting up in years and he injured one leg pretty badly.  Would you, in your charity, please say a prayer for his recovery and in thanksgiving that he was not hurt worse (he easily could have been)?  Or, if you have a list of sick/injured people you pray for, perhaps you could add him to that.

If you felt motivated to throw in some prayers for my parents conversion to the Faith, that, too, would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much for your spiritual work of mercy!

Another sermon for you – on modesty and the TLM March 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, sanctity, Virtue.
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A different priest this time, I think.


This sermon has a bit of a personal angle. This Lent, my wife and another local woman decided that they would cover their heads – wear a veil, of sorts – for the entirety of Lent.  Well, pretty much, except when sleeping, showering, etc.  But definitely when in public.  My girls have, for the most part, joined in.  This is also in conjunction with the Marymyway effort, where my wife has responded to requests for veils from women she knows.  She is designing and making more and more veils, and the site is taking off.  My wife is coming to believe that there may be many women out there at least contemplating veiling more than when at Mass.

Along they way, my wife has learned a great deal about this practice, it’s history, and the reasons why Catholic women for a very, very long time – many centuries – almost always covered their heads in public.  Especially in traditionally Catholic countries. I won’t go into that now, except to say that there is a depth of theology there that really surprised me, and it is all tied in with the Mass, Sacrifice, the Fall……it really ties into a huge segment of Catholic belief.  I am very, very proud of my wife for doing this, and no, I had nothing to do with it, I was quite surprised when she told me what she planned for Lent.  But, then again, she has always been the one dragging me to sanctity, not the other way around.  My wife is, if I may say so, an amazing woman.

If you’re looking for a chapel veil or a veil for daily wear, please do consider marymyway.  If you don’t, I’ll stop blogging!



“More Catholic than the pope” shaming indicative of ultramontanism run rampant in the Church March 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, true leadership.
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I have seen, over the past several days, several uses of the phrase “more Catholic than the Pope” to shame and discredit some blogger or other Catholic writer/speaker who makes some critical comments regarding our new Pope Francis. Now, there have been some very over the top, apoplectic reactions to the election of Pope Francis among some Catholics attracted to Tradition, especially in comboxes, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about this phrase being used as an one-size-fits-all argument-ender against certain concerned Catholics who note some concerns about the direction the papacy of Pope Francis is taking.  Such concerns  may include mild comments regarding his ditching of a number of traditional accoutrements of his office, or regarding the liturgy, or regarding his very populist approach to his papacy.  While these comments may have varying degrees of merit or accuracy, and while they may be reasonable or not given the fact that Pope Francis has been in office less than one week, they are all about prudential issues about which Catholics should be able to disagree and discuss.  And before I go to far, I will state for the record that of course we must have the very highest respect for both the person and the office of the pope, and must accept with a divine and religious assent any doctrinal formulations developed by a pope, and treat with respect, within the bounds of reason and virtue, even the prudential actions or statements of any pontiff. But, all those prudential actions do not have to be accepted with fawning admiration and total obeisance.

Unfortunately, I have been amazed to see a truly violent rhetorical reaction against even a perception of criticism of Pope Francis.  This occurred over the weekend to Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report, who got pummelled because some people saw, in his very appropriate criticism of Cardinal Mahony’s idiotic and frankly destructive tweets, a stealth attack on the new pope.  Archbold did not directly address Pope Francis at all.  I read the post and did not detect even an implication of criticism of Pope Francis.  But when I read the comments, I was startled to find that because Archbold defended a more traditional practice of the Liturgy against Mahony’s blatantly modernist, minimalist approach, that was taken as an implied criticism of Pope Francis and he was savagely attacked.

Even worse, I am afraid, is the very tired, very unthinking cliche “more Catholic than the Pope.” This statement, like a leftist shouting racist to an argument he cannot rebutt, is aimed not at engaging the points raised but at immediately shutting down debate, shaming the target into silence.  I have seen this phrase used with grim abandon over the past several days.  And while I think it is frequently simply a lazy way to attack an argument one does not like, I think it is also indicative of a truly grave and widespread problem in the Church.

Before I get to the problem, however, I think it best to point out that, given the history of the papacy, there have been many, many times when there were many Catholics, lay and otherwise, who have, indeed, been more Catholic, more holy, more devout than the pope.  The Church has had some truly awful popes, popes so awful it beggars the imagination that people actually claim that the cardinal-electors lose their free will at a conclave and the Holy Spirit directs the entire operation.  Anyone with a fair knowledge of the history of the papacy and the individual popes knows that being elected pontiff is no guarantee of personal holiness, of particular devotion, or even of doctrinal integrity.  The “infallibility of the pope” formally defined at Vatican I applies only – ONLY – to protecting the Holy Father from defining error when speaking Ex Cathedra from the Chair of Peter.  It assures us that any such definitions are, indeed, infallible.  But, outside that, popes are as fallible as anyone else.  But, sadly, many Catholics have the following understanding of papal infallibility, which I got from a comment at CMR:

“So you understand the dogma of papal infallibility?”
“Oh yes Father.”
“Suppose the pope says that it’s going to rain tomorrow. Does that mean it will rain?”
“Oh yes Father.”
“But supposing it doesn’t rain, what then?”
“Well… Uh… I guess it would be, ah, spiritually raining. Only… We were too sinful to see it!”

That is, they misunderstand the proper limits of papal infallibility and attribute to the reigning pontiff inpeccability, that is, complete perferction in all actions and statements that must be obeyed in spite of evidence to the contrary or even basic reason.  I once saw some “conservative Catholic” on a secular news show being asked what papal infallibility meant, and he gave an answer that was essentially one of papal impeccability.  When asked what he would do if the pope suddenly declared 2+2=5, the commentator hemmed a bit and then he said he would accept it, even if he didn’t have the ability to understand the pope’s reasoning at that time.  That is absurd!

But, sadly, it is incredibly widespread.  It is also very, very dangerous, and quite contrary to the tradition of the Church.  St. Robert Bellarmine noted:

Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who aggresses the body, it is also
licit to resist the one who aggresses the souls or who disturbs civil order, or,
above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist
him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed; it
is not licit, however, to judge, punish or depose him, since these are acts
proper to a superior.

St. Thomas Aquinas also stated quite plainly that if a pope, for whatever reason, takes actions that are harmful to faith and morals he must be resisted.  During the history of the Church, there have been many instances of bishops, Saints, even laity challenging the prudential actions of pontiffs and arguing violently with them over matters of doctrine – of course, before any solemn definitions occurred. There is great danger in the great people of God behaving as sheep before the pontiff, blindly accepting whatever changes he may see fit to implement.  And, of course, there have been large numbers of very faithful, pious souls who have lamented that such blind obedience to sudden changes in the Faith was responsible for the terrible destruction we have seen in the Faith in the past several decades.

As Catholics, we are required to be totally obedient to the Doctrine of the Faith, and the pope when he formulates such Doctrine, absolutely.  But we are called to use our faith and reason when discerning all other aspects of the Faith, and, traditionally, Catholics always had great deference to the Faith that was practiced by their forebears, the Faith handed down by the Apostles and the early Church Fathers.  That does not mean we just reject wholesale whatever we don’t like, but we can and should argue and point out problems, very respectfully, should our sensus fidei – formed by the faith of our fathers, Scripture, Tradition, etc – indicate that some action or statement could be harmful to the Faith as a whole or to individual souls.  This is not the same as left-liberal wholesale rejection of Doctrines of the Faith, in fact it is the opposite, for in the case of faithful, or traditional criticism, adherence to said Doctrine must be the foundation point.

A final quick note: we have seen more and more cults of personality develop around the reigning pontiff in the past several decades.  This was hugely prevalent with JPII, whose cult remains very active today.  Again, this is dangerous and suspect of virtue, as such cults tend to be based more on emotion and human satisfaction than on faith and right praxis. A pope should not be adored as a rock star.  He must be respected and loved, but having rapturous emotions and the kind of wild sentiments that develop around secular “stars” is difficult to reconcile as a good practice of the Faith.

I am out of time.  Off to St. Joseph! I may revise some of last bits above, I wrote this in a rush.