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Some quotes from Church Fathers espousing Church Doctrine May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Saints, sanctity, scandals, Tradition.
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I have written on a number of occasions that knowledge of the beliefs and practice of the early Church is fatal to protestant belief.  For the early Church constantly put forth the same views, the same Doctrine, as the Catholic Church of today.  What they believed, we believe. What they practiced, we practice.

A trifecta of short quotes address some items of prime interest to Catholic-protestant relations.  The first deals with the Primacy of Peter. Protestants, starting with the former Father Luther, totally reject the idea of an authoritative Church on earth, with formal Doctrine coming down from both Sacred Tradition, and Scripture.  In fact, almost all protestant sects totally reject the idea that there could be ANY foundation to the Christian Faith outside the Bible. But this is ludicrous, it took about 300 years to determine which books actually make up the Bible (and protestants threw out many books, like 1-2 Maccabees, because they provided great support for Catholic beliefs that did not fit into Luther’s very strange belief system), so what guided the Church in those formative years, when much of the Bible was in doubt?  It was Tradition. We see the dread effects of the lack of Authority in the protestant sects today, with tens of thousands of competing groups, each believing slightly differently (or very differently) from the others, each claiming its own interpretation is sacrosanct, each, in effect, condemning the others, at least to one degree or other. It is this rejection of Authority, and the Truth that guides it, that is at the heart of our cultural collapse today, where almost all persons, including devout protestants, believe that “truth” is up to the individual reviewer of Scripture (this was in fact Luther’s original concept, but when people started getting too crazy even for him, he clamped down with very-Catholic like structured beliefs for his particular sect), and that each person’s inalienable “right” to determine their particular “truth” can never be criticized, much less condemned, by another.  thCAB3VSH3

Without Authority, there is NO unity. No unity of belief, and no unity in practice.  Thus, we have pro-abort evangelicals and pro-sodomite marriage anglicans, to name just two of hundreds or thousands of such deviations.  Sadly, the Catholic Church, in its recent attempts to be “ecumenically” appealing to the protestants, has imbibed and even informally espoused much the same mentality.

In the latter half of the 4th century, St. Optatus of Milevis wrote the following, regarding the Primacy of Peter:

You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chari was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head……of all the Apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all.  Neither do other Apostles proceed individually on their own; and anyone who would set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. [that is exactly what the protestants have done, in rejecting the Authority instituted by Christ for His Church in the person of the Pope] It was Peter, then, who first occupied that chair, the foremost of his endowed gifts…[St. Optatus then goes on to list all the successors of Peter to that point in time]……….I but ask you to recall the origins of your chair, you who whish to claim for yourselves the title of Holy Church.

Another huge area of difference between protestants and Catholics is the need for Sacramental Confession – confessing one’s sins to a priest, acting in persona Christi.  Protestants say they can just “confess their sins directly to God.” I wonder how many actually do this?  When I was a protestant, I may have sort of done this a little, but not with much thought, and never in so many words. God instituted the Sacrament of Confession in order to demonstrate the gravity of sin (it never being easy to tell someone else your failings), to show how seriously one must prepare for the Sacrament, to provide a very visible and salutary act of forgiveness for our sins, often stirring great spiritual advances, and to reinforce the priest’s role, through Christ, in the economy of salvation (among many other reasons).  Suffice it to say, knowledge of sin and repentance for same is very frequently glossed over in many protestant sects, if not totally ignored.  Once again, we have seen a protestantizing influence in the Church in the past several decades, with vast swaths of Catholics never availing themselves of this vital Sacrament.  The sacrilege these Catholics regularly engage in by receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin must be heartbreaking to Our Lord.

In the late 4th century, St. Pacian of Barcelona wrote the following:st-pacian-bishop-of-barcelona-4th-century

Certainly God never threatens the repentant; rather, He pardons the penitent. You will say that it is God alone who can do this. True enough; but it is likewise true that He does it thorugh His priests, who exercise His power. What else can it mean when He says to His Apostles: “Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven?” (Matt 16:19, Jn 20:23) [You can also add James 5:15-16]  Why should He say this if He were not permitting men to bind and to loose? Why, if He were permitting this to His Apostles alone? Were that the case, He would likewise be permitting them alone to baptize, them alone to Confer the Holy Spirit, them alone to cleanse the pagans of their sins; for all of these things are commissioned not to others but to the Apostles. But if the loosing of bonds and the power of the Sacrament is given to anyone in that place, either the whole is passed on to us from the form and power of the Apostles, or nothign of it can be imparted to us by whatever decrees…….If, then, the power of both Baptism and Confirmation, greater by far than charisms, [I hope protestants, and Neo-Catachumenal way and other “charismatic” Catholics, get this]  is passed on to the bishops, so too is the right of binding and of loosing.

The final subject I wanted to address in this post is that of works being meritorious of salvation.  This was something Luther totally, violently rejected. Father Luther held the deformed view that man is irredeemably corrupt, that we are so totally fallen and depraved by Original Sin that all our works, even done in cooperation with Grace in the state of Grace, are totally worthless. Only “faith” could save us, with the “grace” that comes from this “faith” being totally gratuitous and totally unrelated to any of our works. Luther used the analogy of snow covering a dunghill to show how this graciness worked.  James chapter 2 completely repudiates Luther’s view, so Luther wanted to eliminate that book from the New Testament, but his followers convinced him that was a step which would drive people away from him in vast droves, so he kept it. But, Luther did go so far as to modify Romans chapter 3 to support his view (adding the word alone to St. Paul’s phrase “we are saved by faith”).  This view of “saved by faith alone” has severely deformed Christianity, so that we have people who claim all one must do is make a one time act of faith to merit eternal salvation. Is it any wonder so many professing Christianity are so devoid of virtue?

Catholics, of course, have always believed that our works, if done in a system and the state of Grace, are meritorious of salvation. [I want to add that this does not mean that Catholics believe that our works alone can save us. But works are necessary for salvation.  They must be done in the state of Grace to be meritorious, which state requires reception of the Sacraments, avoidance of sin, and cooperation with God’s Will] This view is abundantly supported by Scripture and Tradition, and is simply sensible by reason.  But Luther also had no place for Thomist reasoning, which he detested. He in fact stated that sin was no big thing, provided one had faith to offset it. He even counseled to sin boldly, provided one also believed boldly. How one correlates this with Christ’s dictum not to sin, His constant mention of hell, and how Christ counseled to take up His Cross and follow Him, is rather difficult to explain. Even more, isn’t having faith a work of sorts?  Luther struggled with this final question, and the Calvinists rose up, partially, in response to it. They believed that faith was something that just happened to the very small number of the elect, the predestined. If there was every an ideology that taught people, in effect, notStAmbroseIII to give a damn, it’s Calvinism.

Repudiating the above, 1200 years before Luther was born, was St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, in a letter sent to Bishop Constantius in AD 379:

Each of our merits will hang in the balance, and it is often inclined to this side or that by the superior weight either of our good works or of our degenerate crimes. IF evil deeds turn the scale, alas for me! But if good, then pardon is at hand. No one is free of sin; but where good works prevail, sins are lightened, overshadowed, and covered up. On the day of judgment either our works will assist us or they will plunge us into the abyss, as if dragged down by a millstone.

I will try to post more quotes from Church Fathers related to various doctrinal matters as they come up.  I pray you found this at least a little edifying.

Silliness from the Prefect for Religious May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, asshatery, Basics, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, pr stunts, religious, scandals, self-serving, silliness.
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I saw this on Catholic Culture first, but I’d much rather give the love to Rorate. Plus, they make much the same analysis I was going to make.

Several years ago, under former Prefect for the Congregation for Religious Life Cardinal Franc Rode, instituted an investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), claiming they had, quite apparently, gone severely off the rails.  Unfortunately, good Cardinal Rode, known to appear around Rome in cappa magna, had to step down from the leadership of that congregation in 2011.  In two of his most baffling and troubling appointments, Pope Benedict named the Brazilian Cardinal Braz de Aviz as prefect and the American Bishop Joseph Tobin as secretary of the congregation.  These appointments were baffling, because both men immediately set to work undermining the badly needed investigation and, even more, the desperately needed reforms regarding American women religious. They have done little but apologize for the disastrously apostate views held by the LCWR, and claim they are poor, misunderstood women.  It has been bizaare to watch the curial infighting this has entailed, with the CDF still adamantly insisting that these, in many cases barely even Christian, let alone Catholic, women’s orders be thoroughly reformed from the top down, while the Congregation for Religious, which initiated the investigation under Cardinal Rode in the first place, has now set itself on being their very bestest of bestest friends.

Aziz has long been known to be hyper-liberal and marginally competent, at best. Rorate claims he apparently engaged in a shouting tirade against Secretary of State Bertone at this year’s conclave. Whether or not that occurred, and no matter how severe the infighting may be in the curia, it is very rare that a dispute would come out into the open like this.  But as Rorate notes much better than I:

Now, who would wish to submit the decision on matters of the protection of the integrity of the doctrine of the faith, violated every single day by the rebel nuns of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, to the head of dicastery who himself had tried to derail the appropriate investigation started in his own Congregation by his worthy predecessor, Cardinal Rodé?

So, it could be that this opposition is as much over hurt feelings and stepped toes than anything else. Which hurt feelings, among the ultra-progressive, I do not mind seeing. It seems Cardinal Aziz is upset that the CDF is infringing into “his territory.”  He doesn’t seem to understand it is his own intransigence in kow-towing to the LCWR types that has forced the CDF to act.  And it’s hardly like the CDF is off on a rogue mission here, evilly persecuting these poor, innocent, simple, retired, prayerful nuns (that is, when they are not being the Sisterhood of Perpetual Power, crushing the patriarchy and striking blows for lesbian feminism).  Cardinal Burke  and several other curial cardinals have opined that LCWR is in very apparent need of reform. Cardinal Burke went so far as to say they must be reformed, or suppressed.

It could be this Pope Francis – who has already confirmed the CDF’s findings regarding the LCWR and their need for near total reform – will not be the great friend the progressives think him to be.  His episcopal appointments must certainly be perplexing to the modernists, at least in the US.

It will be interesting to see if this truly develops into a standoff, or if this is just a progressive curial official breaking protocol and whining to the press. I would be very gratified to see Pope Francis publicly rebuke this man.

Pray for the Holy Father! May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Grace, Interior Life, North Deanery, Papa, Tradition, Virtue.
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We should always pray for our leaders in the Church, our shepherds, and especially for our chief pastor, the Holy Father Pope Francis.  I do pray for our pope, bishops, and priests every day, almost without exception.  But it is being widely reported, that Pope Francis implored the crowd at Mass last week for a very specific prayer intention – three Ave’s, and he used that word, Ave’s, for the Pope’s intentions.  In case you hadn’t seen that request, I wanted to make sure I took at least some small action to further the Holy Father’s request.

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Too often, I think present-day Catholics have the mentality that the Church exists to do things for them.  Provide Mass, provide community, provide social services, provide schools, etc, but not so often do we hear people talk about what they owe the Church.  And that is a very great deal. In addition to the 6 precepts of the Faith, the absolute bedrock bare minimum a professed Catholic must do, we must do so very much more over and above that for all those who serve the Church for us!  Religious, priests, bishops, the Pope, and yes laity, too, who all serve the Church in varying capacities, all need our prayers for their sanctification and the performance of their apostolates in accord with God’s Will.  In an increasingly self-centered society, we sometimes need reminders that the Church does exist for us, yes, but we also exist for the Church!  And our Holy Father with the bishops in union with him, is the very personification, if you will, of the Church!

None of this is to say that the Holy Father is beyond criticism or exists on some exalted, beyond human plane.  In fact, it is the fact that he is fallible in almost every circumstance and is a man just like us, that he needs our prayers all the more.

Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, Latin Mass, North Deanery, silliness.
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Same bat-time, same bat-channel. There may be a change to the Mass in a few weeks with the use of EP1, the closest to the Roman Canon, so pray for that, if you feel so moved. I have been.

St. Mark in Plano at 7pm

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Stolen from the always funny LarryD.

Check out Video Sancto! May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, contraception, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, priests, secularism, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Thanks to reader Terry C, I have been made aware of a sort of “video sancto,” the efforts of a Youtuber who has taken Audio Sancto sermons and added some photos to make a sort of video sancto.  I don’t know about you, but I do have a hard time sitting still and listening to a sermon in pure audio. I frequently will listen to sermons online while performing another task, but in that instance I frequently get absorbed in the task and tune out parts of the sermon. Either way, I wind up missing some.  In trying out this video sancto, it seems the video aspect helps keep my attention focused.  Whomever is doing this has put together many hundreds of videos, some of which are really video captures of sermons given of a priest speaking on camera, while others are like I just described, audio with relevant photos added.  They are to be commended for their efforts, putting these hundreds of videos together was not a trivial task.

Below is a great sermon by a priest you’ve heard here many times before, on holy purity.  We see in our very impure, unchaste culture how women and children have been tossed by the wayside – often willingly and happily by women themselves! – in the terrible culture of sexual license and all the nightmares it has engendered: contraception, divorce, multiple marriages, abortion, and now massive attempts to completely destroy marriage by redefining it into meaningless. The good priest in the sermon explains at great depth the virtue of purity and shows how it relates not merely to the sexual aspect of souls, but to how men and women relate to each other, the action of the Church in the Mass through the priest, and many, many others too comprehensive to describe.

When the priest in the sermon ties purity to the priest’s action at the Mass….wow.

It reminded me of a post Fr. Z had over the weekend, about a Mass where a religious sister pretends to offer it all the way up to the Offertory, with a priest then taking over. As the priest says “cheating on God, betraying his trust and blessing.”  And how.

This same priest gave a sermon at a beautiful nuptial Mass over the weekend that I pray goes up on AudioSancto. I so wish my family had been there to hear it, because the priest established clearly and by great logic the straight line our culture has taken from the former Fr. Luther’s revolt to the present state of abject moral degernacy and destitution that reigns in the culture today.  It is a sermon that should convert any soul reasonably open to Grace.  Given that half those in attendance were protestant (and who were reminded not to approach to receive the Blessed Sacrament, Deo Gratias), it was quite a bold act, a witness to Truth that left me both edified and ashamed of my own inaction in such opportunities to witness.

If I really believe that salvation outside the Church is all but impossible, in practical terms, then I really need to change how I approach many relations in my life.  I have behaved profoundly uncharitably in failing to effectively evangelize others, praying that God would work a miracle of Grace. But God needs vehicles, human vehicles, for that Grace!  And that has been my failure.

I pray you find the sermon moving. The “video sancto” channel is here.

Rogation days abstinence and penance begin today May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Liturgical Year, Tradition, Virtue.
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The Rogation days, days set aside to invoke God’s blessing on the productive farm fields and orchards of the world, and indeed all of creation, begin today and go through Wednesday.  These are also penitential days in preparation for the traditional Holy Day of Obligation of the Ascension of the Lord this Thursday.  Because Christ ascended 40 days after His Resurrection, and not 42. The_Ancient_Custom_of_Blessing_the_Fields_on_Rogation_Sunday_at_Hever,_Kent_-_geograph_org_uk_-_556094

You can learn more about the Rogation Days here and here. At one time, Eucharistic/Marian processions around village fields and ending in Benediction at the parish church were very common throughouth Christendom to honor these days.  These processions continued right up until the time of Vatican II, but are now almost totally forgotten.  One important aspect of the processions was to beg God to stay His mighty hand and calm creation, to prevent natural disasters from aflicting the various crops by which the vast majority of the people, in those days, made their livelihoods, and upon which entire regions depended for their sustenance. This was the days before worldwide commerce could ship grain (or other needed items) to one region afflicted by natural disasters from another not so afflicted, with hardly even an increase in price. Even at the turn of the 20th century, Giuseppe Sarto, the future Pope St. Pius X, struggled to keep his flock alive during bad harvests in northern Italy.  Such was mankind’s experience throughout most of our history, but today we are so spoiled and pampered by the technological marvel we’ve constructed, that many people view a constant, cheap food supply as a birthright.  But the system, while impressive, is also very fragile.  Thus, we still need much prayer and penance.

There are actually 4 Rogation days. The Major Rogation falls on the Friday before the week of Ascension Thursday.  But it wasn’t listed on my calendar!  The three days of fasting, abstinence, and penance, of this week are called Minor Rogation days.  A note about how much fasting or abstinence is to be observed:

Some sources suggest fasting on these days, but Abbot Gueranger notes that all out fasting might be out of keeping with the spirit of the Easter season, and was really never a widespread practice, even in Rome.  Abstinence, however has been a consistent rule.  Today is Friday anyway, but abstinence also applies to the three Rogation days next week (though there is no obligation to do so, even under the 1917 code of cannon law).

None of this is Church law anymore, but it is certainly meritorious of Grace to abstain from flesh meat, or fast, and of course always with regard to penance.

To some, these largely forgotten aspects of traditional Catholic life may seem strange.  But I think they were vital aspects of the whole liturgical year, which helped inculcate in faithful souls a feel for that year and the differing seasons, and helped focus all of life’s varying moments on God and consecrating them to Him.  I think much has been lost by their absence. I pray for the formal return of all these penitential seasons.

Which reminds me, the spring Ember days are the week after next.  Those ARE days of  fasting and abstinence, and are somewhat more well known than the Rogation days.

Breton_Blessing_of_the_Wheat_at_Artois_1857

Dallas Bishop Mark Seitz to El Paso May 6, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, persecution, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership.
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Dallas auxiliary Bishop Mark Seitz has been named by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of El Paso:

Today Pope Francis appointed Bishop Mark J. Seitz, an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Dallas, as head of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas. The El Paso see has been vacant since February 2012, when Bishop Armando Ochoa was installed as bishop of Fresno, California.

Bishop Seitz, who serves on the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs, will take over a diocese spanning 10 counties in West Texas, which includes some 650,000 Catholics, 80 percent of the area’s over-all population.

In a statement released by the Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Seitz said that he has cherished his time there: “Since I entered the seminary here in Dallas as a young 18-year old boy, I have loved Dallas and the Church of Dallas. You have become my family. Dallas has become my home. But when I presented myself for ordination as a deacon, I gave my life to God’s service and I promised to be at the disposal of the Church. I accept this call as a new opportunity to follow the Good Shepherd and, with His help, to be one.”

Congratulations to Bishop Seitz, and the people of El Paso, who may not have gotten their every wish but do, at least, have an Ordinary after a very long wait. I know there has been much prayer and sacrifice offered up for the new Bishop of El Paso.  There is a well of Grace there, waiting to be tapped. I pray it is.cc-100523BishGradAuxBishop

It will be interesting to see if Dallas gets another auxiliary bishop, or not.

I have read the installation Mass will be May 25!  That’s quick, and good, for El Paso has been without a shepherd for a year and a half.

Pope Francis has now appointed several American prelates. From what I have seen, they have all been pretty strongly on the orthodox/conservative side?  I think that is how Bishop Seitz is viewed. I know he has actually railed (ok, that’s probably too strong a word, but complained, certainly) against episcopal failures to be true shepherds, to always strive for the salvation of souls.  He knows how many in the episcopate are viewed, and I think he finds that both embarrassing and a personal challenge to be different.  We’ll see.

Bishop Seitz is by all accounts a very kind man.  I have a friend that was the director of youth ed at All Saints for a year or two while Bishop Seitz was still pastor there, and my friend thought quite highly of him.  There is the well known tale of his donating a kidney to a parishioner at All Saints who was in desperate need of that organ, and then Msgr. Seitz was a match.  That is an act of extreme charity, something which redounds immensely to his credit.

I pray he has some charity for Fr. Rodriguez.  Not that Fr. Rodriguez’ present situation is necessarily a negative one, for him personally, but it does limit how many souls he can serve.

If you have personal experience with Father/Bishop Seitz, provided it is relevant and not a personal issue, it might be beneficial to the souls in El Paso to share your experience with him in the comments.