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Interesting post from another protestant convert on the Church Fathers March 20, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Sacraments, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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I cannot agree more with what this former baptist is saying. I have studied the Church Fathers, and there is absolutely no question that the Catholic Church is the continuation of what the very earliest Christians – who called themselves Catholics, by the way! – believed.  The faith of the Apostles, given them by Jesus Christ, was handed on to the Fathers, and that Faith is present only in the Catholic Church, with the Orthodox retaining all of it as well, but refusing to submit to the Supremacy of the See of Peter (emphasis in original):gesu e maria 2009 xii

When I first read the works of the Church Fathers as a Protestant, it felt very odd. I didn’t know who any of them were, what they had done, or the context and times in which they had lived, but I did know that many of the things they taught bore little resemblance to my Protestant beliefs.

On doctrine after doctrine, their teachings aligned with the Catholic (and Orthodox) Churches rather than with Protestantism’s tenets. I knew that either something had gone horribly awry right from the beginning of Christianity or–gasp!–what the Fathers taught was what the Apostles had passed down from Christ.

I was reminded of this experience by reading Bryan Cross’ latest blog post at Called to Communion where he quotes St. Cyprian (3rd century) on the unity of the Church. For every one statement made by a Church Father than could possibly be construed as supportive of Protestant doctrines, fifty others incontrovertibly support Catholic teachings. So I am always amazed, even after ten years as a Catholic, when I read some Protestant apologist’s attempt to put the Fathers in their corner. There is just no way to do it without ignoring the Christ in Majesty_Romanesque Painterfifty statements that flatly contradict some Protestant doctrine and focusing on the one that could be construed as possibly supporting Protestantism’s ideas……….

……..As a Baptist, I knew the center couldn’t hold. Either Catholicism/Orthodoxy was true or the Church went into heresy right from the beginning. No way around it, much to my dismay (at the time). I would have liked nothing better than to remain a Baptist with strong Christian friends, vibrant churches, great music, strong preaching off [their understanding of] the Bible, and so on. Instead, I became Catholic and endured tepid preaching, lukewarm Christians, banal music, lackluster liturgy, widespread ignorance of the Faith, and horrendous architecture. “Welcome home!” I might have thought, but truly it was home, for Christ was there in the fullness of the truth and with the fullness of the means of salvation. The Eucharist alone is enough to become Catholic, even if everything else is in shambles.

This writer makes a very important point that is so frequently overlooked. Many of us converts to the Faith from protestantism are gravely disturbed by what we find when we enter the Church – as he mentions, horrid liturgies, worse architecture, and so many Catholics that treat their faith like a little trinket they take out on Sundays, wear for a bit, and then put away until the next week.  If they even do that much.  Many of us frankly experienced a big step down from the liturgies, church architecture, music, etc., when we joined the Church.  I remember very distinctly thinking, when I would accompany my wife to Mass before I converted, that the Mass was exactly like what the Episcopals offered – I mean, down to the very word! – so, why could I not remain Episcopal?  But nobody talks about this, the fact that the very dumbed down liturgies we have today, which in so many respects ape protestant practice, may, contrary to theirLazio_Roma_SSusanna1_tango7174 intended practice of being welcoming to protestants, may actually work to DETER conversion.  That’s what I felt, anyway.  That was a sticking point for quite a while.

Once I began to figure out what the Church really believed, I was increasingly dismayed by what I found in parish after parish.  I was growing in the Faith, reading and studying and praying and really trying to live the life Christ has told us we should live in His Church, but I felt stymied to a degree by the environment I was stuck in.  Then, a friend recommended to me first a very reverent Novus Ordo Latin Mass, and that was the first positive step. I began to see that the Mass could be beautiful, that it could have transcendent elements, that it could really speak to me and go beyond the mundane, pseudo-protestant liturgies I had hitherto experienced.  Then, I decided to make the leap to the Traditional Latin Mass, the Mass of all Ages, the Mass virtually every Catholic experienced from at least AD 300 (with much of it, like the Canon, going back likely well before that) until 1970.  Wow!  I was blown away, and still am!  Instead of feeling like I am in a Liturgy that is indistinguishable from the liturgies of my former Episcopal church (and, frankly, was in many ways a step down from some of the episcopal liturgies, especially in terms of music), I feel I am exposed to a treasure not made with human hands, something divine, totally beyond me, wherein I continue to find new and more glorious treasures as I experience it more and more, like a fabulous Faberge egg, but nested like a Russian doll, each succeeding discovery more amazing than the last!  I can’t tell you the difference such experience has made in my life.  Florencia+5

But, exposure to a TLM community – and I stress how important a community focused solely on the TLM is – has also been critical.  For there is so very much of the Faith that has been lost in the last 50 years – not just the Liturgy, but huge swaths of theology and practice, and not just that, but an entire Catholic culture, carefully cultivated and developed over centuries, was cast aside in favor for an embrace of this fallen world. Even in TLM communities like the FSSP, I know we are only getting portions of what used to be commonplace.  It’s like we’re trying to dig through the past and piece together those fragmetns that were scattered all over the floor of a very, very big room when the gorgeous statue of Faith was purposefully dropped from a great height.  We find pieces – or, our priests help us to see them – we look at them, glory in their beauty, marvel that they could have ever been cast aside, cherish them, and then try to find still more. I’m sorry to turn this into more tub-thumping for the TLM, but I can’t help it. I cannot describe both how beautiful it is, or how much it has affected me.

Lord, I pray, I pray I pray I pray that this slow, painstaking reconstitution, or, really, restoration, of Your Church may continue!  I pray Your Will may be that my children will know a great Church and culture that is so very pleasing to you!


Lord, I pray for the conversion of my family.  Please, find a way to touch their hearts……

The scandal – Biden, Pelosi receive Blessed Sacrament at Pope’s installation Mass March 20, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, contraception, disaster, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, horror, sadness, sanctity, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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How could this not be stopped?  Pope Francis himself has stated that politicians who support abortion should not receive the Blessed Sacrament. But when a soul is so lost as to justify the killing of the most innocent, plaintive exhortations have little effect. They must be actively denied Communion.  How could this scandal occur in the very bosom of the Church, St. Peters?

Vice President Joe Biden and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi  received communion during a Mass marking the installation of Pope  Francis in Rome Tuesday, setting off a storm of controversy about  whether they should have been denied communion because of their  pro-choice stand on abortion.

Some Catholic leaders say Catholic politicians who break with the  church on abortion should be denied the sacrament. The Rev. Frank  Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, a Catholic anti-abortion group  based in the U.S., says, “Vice President Biden and Nancy Pelosi should  certainly not receive communion, either at the papal installation or  anywhere else.

“Communion means ‘union,’ and they are not in union with  the church on the most fundamental moral issue of the right to life.”

But wait, it gets worse, at least as far as how incredibly uninformed so many Catholics are:

In a torrent of comments on the web, Catholics  and others began a fiery debate on the issue and related themes. Some  said anti-abortion Catholics are being hypocritical if they do not also  favor denying communion to Catholic leaders who support the death  penalty; capital punishment also goes against church teaching. [B as in B, S as in S.  The Church has always maintained the state has the power of the sword.  The Church has never declared that capital punishment is contrary to the Faith. We have had some hemming and hawing by the last two pontiffs, but those were not doctrinal statements. There are, however, numerous doctrinal statements prior to VII that defend the use of capital punishment. And since Doctrine can never change…….What this all comes down to is, progressives who are frequently apostates from the Faith (by supporting true manifest evils, like abortion) try to make a totally false equivalence between their sacred shibboleth of “a woman’s right to choose” and the state’s power of the sword. There is no equivalence – one is the taking of an innocent life, always and every where evil, and the other is a power rightfully held by the state to judge certain acts so heinous as to deny the perpetrator to continue in his earthly existence, certain equivocation by recent pontiffs notwithstanding, as their equivocations were not doctrinal statements. I note that capital punishment is actually instrumental to the formation of the Catholic Faith. Christ never decried his punishment as unjust.]

How could they receive even tacit approval from the Pope himself to receive?  These people are well known, even outside the United States, it would not have taken muich effort to insure they did not blaspheme the Blessed Sacrament through their unworthy reception, eating and drinking the very worst possible condemnation on themselves. Where is the concern for souls?  Where is the faith that is strong enough to trump the opinion of men?

I am not surprised, in the least, that this occurred. But I am saddened and scandalized beyond measure.

There is a very good commentary here.

Pope Francis as Cardinal Bergoglio supported same sex unions? March 20, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, error, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
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It has been reported on various traditional-oriented sites that during the foisting on the Argentine people by the modern day Peron’s running the place of state recognition of so-called same sex marriage, that Cardinal Bergoglio wasn’t very strong in opposing that effort, at least at the beginning (he did, very late, when it was too late to make much difference, lash out with great invective against the Peronist government plot to inflict this recognition on Argentina). Now come reports from the NYT and other sites that then Cardinal Bergoglio, in a private meeting of the Argentine episcopal conference, advocated for same sex civil unions as an alternative:

This will cause a stir. The New York Times reports that, in a private meeting with bishops in 2010, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio endorsed the idea of civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriage.

The suggestion came in the context of debate over legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina. Although Cardinal Bergoglio vehemently and publicly opposed the law, the Times reports, at a private meeting of the Catholic bishops conference he supported civil unions as a compromise–”the lesser of two evils,” according to the cardinal’s authorized biographer. According to the Times, this suggestion “inflamed” the meeting, and the conference voted down the suggestion. Argentina eventually legalized same-sex marriage.

The Times argues that “Cardinal Bergoglio’s readiness to reach out across the ideological spectrum and acknowledge civil unions for gay people could raise expectations that he would do the same as pope,” but concedes that Pope Francis may have less need, and ability, to compromise on the issue. Anyway, in political terms, civil unions seems to be an idea whose time has passed–it’s doubtful that gay rights supporters would settle for anything less than marriage at this point.

Well, who knows if it is really true.  Perhaps we’ll know more, later.  But it seems of a piece with the many dark hints of a progressive outlook on the part of the new Pope.  We shall see, I suppose.  But, I must hasted to add, the office has in the past changed the man, and our prayers and penance are surely an essential part of that potential transformation.

How many things can be totally wrong in one sentence? March 20, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Liturgy, Papa, scandals, self-serving, sickness.
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Commenter Dan posted a link to this article from a publication I’ve not heard of before. The article is incredibly disturbing for all that it gets wrong in just the first sentence. It does not get any better from there, and is as indicative of a mentality of rupture as anything I’ve read in quite some time. It reminds me that those who view, or try to view, Vatican II in continuity with the preceding Magisterium are likely a very small minority in the Church.  This, from some publication for expat Filipinos (first para, my emphasis and comments):

In his first Mass as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis showed  a striking liturgical difference [mostly in vestments so far, Benedict ad orientemI wouldn’t say the differences are terribly striking, yet] with his predecessor by facing the people, not  turning his back, [Pope Benedict offered Mass Ad Orientem only rarely, principally (or entirely) in the Sistine Chapel. What Pope Benedict did the vast majority of the time was to offer Mass facing the people but with his “Benedictine” altar arrangement]as the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did in his controversial attempt [attempt? The hundreds of TLMs around the world every day are an “attempt.”  And to whom was it controversial?  I know many Catholics who remain eminently grateful] to fully restore the Latin Mass banished by the Second Vatican Council. [That’s the really disturbing, totally incorrect statement. VatII said nothing, absolutely nothing, about “banishing” the Traditional Latin Mass.  If the progressives at VII had tried to push that point, their entire conciliar project would have come screeching to a halt. In fact, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the VII document dealing with the “reform” of the Liturgy, says nothing whatsoever about abrogating the Mass of St. Pius V and even maintains that Latin should retain pride of place.  How incredibly poorly formed this individual is…..or, perhaps they are a progressive trying to drive opinion in their favored direction. It is, quite frankly, illicit (but not invalid) even for a pontiff to try to abrogate an aspect of Sacred Tradition and praxis – especially the Liturgy, the very core of the Faith! – that is 1700 years old!]

Some more troublesome quotes:Pope Benedict XVI Mass Sistine Chapel

Benedict, even when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the doctrinal watchdog of  Pope John Paul II, had opposed the popular [popular?] liturgical reforms of the Second  Vatican Council, calling them excessive and a misreading of the Sacroscanctum  Concilium….[uh…..because they manifestly were?]

But Ratzinger said the innovations were a misreading of the Constitution on  Liturgy.  He said that the priest in the old Latin rite was facing the altar  because as priest, he was leading, with the people, the memorial to Jesus  Christ’s last supper. [Is this writer a protestant?  They sure talk like it.  No, the priest faces the Lord in the tabernacle (not the altar, the priest offering versus poplum is “facing” the altar) in order to lead the people in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, one of which secondary – secondary – aspects is the memorial of the Lord’s Supper.  But the “memorial of the Lord’s Supper” is precisely the terminology used by protestant heretics in the 16th century, especially Anglicans, to denigrate the Mass and institute thier deficient, non-sacrificial, no Real Presence church services]He added that for the priest to face the people  would be tantamount to making the Mass a congregation[I think the writer is a progressive ideologue, they are trying to gin up hatred for the reforms Pope Benedict instituted – not that they were followed hardly at all.  What Pope Benedict very rightly said Pope Francis celebrates mass at the Sistine Chapel on 14 March 2013.was that having the priest facing the people tended to cause the congregation at Mass to turn in on itself, to exclude the Divine and Sacrificial aspects of the Mass and make it a purely human event] or worse, a concert, which  missed the “Eucharistic import” of the liturgy. [Pope Benedict merely called a spade, a spade]

Folks, we cannot have this.  We cannot have these wild swings from one pontificate to another. It is one thing for Pope Benedict to very rightly point out that there were excesses – grave excesses – in the implementation of the liturgical reform in the wake of the 2nd Vatican Council. Even what changes he made were quite mild – some candles on the altar, and a crucifix.  It is another thing entirely to now ditch that “reform of the reform” and wildly swing back to the previous era.  It makes the Church look ridiculous, and it highlights how fatally undermined people’s understanding of the Faith is.  The Church was not intended to, and never has before the last several decades, swing wildly from one practice to another.  For way more than a millenia, the Faith was a constant in people’s lives. Now, it seems many in the Church see the Faith as variable as the man elected pontiff wants it to be.

I’m not saying that Pope Francis is going to make severe alterations  (although he has already made some changes), I’m just saying generally, all this is incredibly problematic. The Church is still very, very sick. It desperately needs a recovery period. It doesn’t need one pontificate pitted against another.