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Some quick hits and news on this blog August 5, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Society, Tradition.
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Chad Arneson, who runs the Faithful Answers website I have mentioned previously, graciously asked if he could post a piece I did on Americanism several weeks ago on his site.  I happily agreed.  I don’t know if my work will appear there regularly, or not, as it will depend on whether Chad feels any particular post fills a need on his website, but I will happily colaborate again if asked.  I am thankful for the opportunity to reach more souls!  I will also note that a great deal of content has gone up on the Faithful Answers website since I mentioned it last, so you might want to check it out.

Also related to Catholic Culture, if you like chant, you can listen to the daily prayer of the Divine Office by the monks of Le Barroux here. You can also see many tonsures, which I highly recommend!  I love the tonsure!  That, and the cassock, just scream “Catholic!”  I’m always supportive of whatever reinforces our Catholic identity, individually or collectively!  Give your soul some peace and enjoy the Office!

Finally, in a historical vein, there is a report on a very large Crusader hospital that was operated in Jerusalem by the Knights of St. John, now known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The archeologists report the hospital could accomodate up to 2000 in times of crisis and was, in many ways, equal to modern hospitals in terms of sophistication of organization and operation.

But that report must be false, everyone “knows” that the Crusaders were after nothing but riches and rapine, and were motivated only by hatred for the eastern “other.” There was never a powerful motivation to defend Catholic pilgrims from muslim attack nor to recover the holiest sites in our religion from an invader, and certainly not the slightest motivation towards general charity!  Nope, not at all! None, nyet, nien, nada, nadie, nunca!


Pelagians, Pelagians everywhere! August 5, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Papa, persecution, Saints, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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As I pointed out in a post from some weeks back, there are many people in the Church today using a word, or name – Pelagian – and seeming, perhaps, to not know quite what it means. Or they are using it quite wrongly. I think the word they are searching for might be Pharasaical.  But, irrespective, a traditional Catholic priest in good standing with Rome wrote an article pointing out that, of all the people in the Church, it is really those who embrace Tradition strongly that are probably the LEAST suited to calling “Pelagian.”  Along the way, the priest does see who, in today’s Church, might be Pelagian.  I agree with his assessment completely.

Unfortunately, the original article posted to Rorate was very long.  Thankfully, P. Blosser at Pertinacious Papist has condensed the major points, which I cheerfully rip off and share with you, adding my own comments and emphases. The six points below are, in reality, how the large majority of Catholics today believe, and practice, the Faith:

  • Widespread nonchalance toward infant baptism betrays a Pelagian indifference toward grace in the view that unbaptized infants automatically go to heaven; [for that matter, so does the entire “universal salvation” belief set.  Universal salvation posits that pretty much everyone goes to Heaven, ergo, Grace is not necessary.  Even rather bad people go to Heaven, because God is so overwhelmingly merciful that His Justice barely exists.]
  • The common assumption that man is naturally good, that even atheists can do good works, etc., often betrays a pronounced Pelagian disregard for supernatural charity infused in the soul co-operating with an actual grace given by God for an action to be truly pleasing to God; [which is a point I made, that actual Pelagianism posits that people can work their way to Heaven via NATURAL practice of virtues like concern for fellow man (which may not be virtuous at all, in the eyes of God), while ignoring the need for supernatural virtue]
  • The frequently declared opinion that Jews need not convert but require no more than the Old Law to be saved represents a decidedly Pelagian disregard for the indispensable necessity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Atoning work of Christ; [Yep, the core of Pelagianism is that Original Sin did not so disfigure man that we are cut off from salvation absent Christ’s salvific action, and our participation in that through Grace. Ergo, people can be “good” on their own and “work their way to salvation.”]
  • The widespread acceptance of the view that death is natural to man (often along with belief in Darwinian Evolution) displays a quasi-Pelagian affirmation in the dispensability of the supernatural order of grace, according to which death is utterly unnatural and never intended by God, but only permitted as a consequence for sin; [again, this also points to universal salvation. If death is “natural,” a normal process of human biology which God intended, then Original Sin is dubious, at best, and we’re back to people working their way to Heaven independent of Grace]
  • The widespread indifference toward sacramental Confession betrays a pernicious Pelagian that we need no more than the good moral example of Jesus to elicit our innate natural goodness and that we have no need of sacramental grace to reconcile us to God; [boy, I think that’s huge, and, as the good priest said, truly pernicious.  So many in the Church seem to tacitly accept this.  I’ll also add, it was and has remained a fundamental tenet of enlightenment/modern liberal thought, that Christ must be reduced to simply a good moral example, at most, and not God Incarnate. This belief forms a fundamental aspect of enlightenment-liberal belief to achieve one of the most core ends of that disastrously erroneous philosophy: the severing of God from political-cultural life.  God is driven into the smallest of private spheres, to the extent He is tolerated at all. This was done, consciously, by the leading enlightenment deists (Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, etc), in order to subjugate the Church to the secular authority, the reverse of Christendom, in essence.]
  • The widespread indifference toward the social reign of Christ the King reveals a striking affinity for Pelagius’ denial that Christ Our Lord came to restore what Adam had lost but rather came merely to provide a good example. [And that is also a fundamental aspect of that englightenment belief I described above]

As the author of this post at Rorate and I both noted, the “overlap” between Pelagianism and some traditionalists (or how traditionalists are viewed, perhaps) is the idea of austerity in discipline, thinking that by doing the 4379 “requirements” of traditional Catholic orthodoxy/orthopraxis, one is automatically saved (I made that number up). I’ve seen just bare hints of that, at most, in my real-world experience, but more online in some of the more extreme traddy sites.  I think the perception that traditional Catholics are like that is much stronger than the reality.

But, overall, when you look at what Pelagianism really believed, it seemed to me 3 weeks ago, and this priest more recently, you’re more apt to find it in the local mainstream parish than in a traditional environment. I hear about Grace and our need for it (or to cooperate with it) nearly every Sunday.  That’s not to say every mainstream parish has strong Pelagian tendencies, but most do.  As the priest says in his conclusion: “It is clear to me that the modern Church in her membership has become more Pelagian than ever whereas Traditional minded Catholics are seeking to hold the line against this most pestiferous return of heresy… striving not to let the precious grace of God granted them be in vain!”

That’s certainly what I strive not to do: I strive not to let the precious Grace of God be in vain.


First official response from the Franciscans of the Immaculate dispells much disinformation August 5, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, martyrdom, persecution, priests, religious, sadness, scandals, self-serving, shocking, Tradition.
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Tancred at Eponymous Flower has translated the text of an Italian print article that discusses the Franciscans of the Immaculate’s first official response to the canonical sanctions imposed on their order. There is much Italish to fight through, but several aspects of this scandal are clarified – or, at least, the FFI’s official position is given – and some glaring errors rebutted. What appeared most interesting to me, is that the progressive wing in the FFIs got out ahead of this whole public debate, while the order did not officially respond until yesterday (Sun, Aug. 4, 2013). It also appears that a certain “spokesman” who claimed that a large majority of the FFIs wanted the investigation, felt the order had taken a bad direction, and implied ambivalence, at best, regarding the TLM, was not a valid or officially approved spokesman for the order, but was speaking for the progressive wing only. However, much of the coverage has claimed this spokesman is somehow official.

Tancred’s article is pretty long, so I will try to summarize what the latest releases from the FFI claim and/or refute:

  1. The only official “spokesman” for the FFIs continues to be Father General Alessandro Apollonio.  The other individual quoted in the media does not represent FFI as a whole or the leadership.
  2. The statements stress that no one in FFI leadership, and certainly not the founder Fr. Stefano Manelli was “forcing” any individual or group to offer only the TLM, and in fact Fr. Manelli himself continued to offer both.
  3. The statements refute bizaare interpretations of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae apparently being floated in Italy that claim that both documents only apply to former members of “schismatic” sects (SSPX), and not to the Church at large.  Thus, FFI really does not have “permission” to offer a perfectly valid Rite. The sources for these erroneous claims seem to be opponents of the TLM in the Italian clerical hierarchy.
  4. A major source of division in the order was a letter sent by the Secretary General of the order on behalf of its General Council to all branches, which indicated some guidelines regarding the TLM and Roman Breviary.  “Some brothers appaerntly alredy felt the possibility of celebration of the Old Rite went too far and were intriguing with Rome.”
  5. The unofficial, apparently unapproved “spokesman” for the FFIs widely quoted last week claimed that the large majority of members favored keeping the Novus Ordo as the “baseline” regular Mass for the order, rather than the TLM. There was never any poll done, and this is nothing but guesswork or a false appeal to numbers claim.
  6. Many thousands or tens of thousands of souls will now be deprived of the TLM and other aspects of the Liturgy they have become accustomed to with this “revocation” of the FFI’s ability to offer the TLM.
  7. The article translated from the Italian – but not, I think, the original, clarifying statements from the FFI themselves – claims that this whole imbroglio IS about the TLM and how much it will be available. It is not, as some have tried to claim, simply an internal matter for the order itself.  That is to say, the Italian author of this article feels it’s about the TLM and little else, while the FFI leadership is not claiming such.

Suffice it to say, the above is quite a bit different from what we’ve seen presented as “the facts of the case,” even from members of the FFIs here in the US, who have been very busy in blog comboxes over the past week.  Of course, in situations like this where there is a strong divergence of opinion and passions are inflamed, one man’s truth is another man’s damnable lie.  So, we’ll see.  Due to my experience and predelictions, I am more inclined to believe the above (especially since a fair amount of it coincides with what I’ve already surmised), but I don’t think the definitive account has been written, yet.

I do think, more than ever, that this case is about much more than just an internal debate within the Franciscans of the Immaculate. There has still never been an adequate explanation for why Summorum Pontificum had to be abrogated, at least in part, even if it is seen as a source of division.  That seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I don’t think it any question that there are powerful forces in Rome and elsewhere eager to “test the waters,” so to speak, to see if the TLM and all the great traditions of the Church will have as solid a supporter in the new Pope as they did in the former, still living Pope. It’s very possible those forces have played a role in this present, sad case.

More as it becomes available.


The Empire Strikes Back: USCCB presents quotes of leading Madagascar prelate praising CRS August 5, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society.
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When I wrote the post on a number of bishops and priests of Madagascar castigating Catholic Relief Services (CRS) involvement in immoral activities in that country, I came so very close to putting in a paragraph that stated, to the effect, that I would not be surprised to see the USCCB or CRS produce a quick rebuttal from some figure of the Church in Madagascar that would appear to reject the criticism and embrace all the wonderful “goods” that CRS does.  That paragraph would also have indicated that any such statement would be given under some form of duress. In the end, I decided that doing so would be to give into cynicism.  But lo and behold, today the USCCB issued a press release in which are the contents of a reported conversation between Cardinal Timothy Dolan – head of the USCCB, and thus ultimate overseer of CRS – and Archbishop Tsarahazana, one of the prelates previously quoted as being critical of CRS. The statement contains the following:

Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana, of the Archdiocese of Toamasina and the president of the episcopal conference of Madagascar, expresses strong support for Catholic Relief Services and confirms that Catholic Relief Services does not provide or facilitate access to contraceptive or abortifacient drugs or devices in his archdiocese.  [This particular archbishop never made that accusation – that CRS was distributing contraceptives or abortifacient drugs – but he did list other problems.]

Archbishop Tsarahazana spoke by phone on August 2 with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Gerald Kicanas, chairman of the board of directors of CRS. [And one of the most liberal prelates in the USCCB – which is really saying something] During the open and constructive conversation, Archbishop Tsarahazana stated that in the past there had been some confusion in his archdiocese that was quickly resolved, and that CRS is acting in accord with Catholic teaching and does not provide or facilitate access to contraception or abortion.

Archbishop Tsarahazana said that he will confer with the other members of his episcopal conference to confirm that no such immoral activity is taking place in their dioceses.

Very well.  In his diocese.  But there were much more condemnatory statements from other dioceses.

If I may be forgiven, the cynical, realpolitik side of me has to wonder if there weren’t any veiled threats dropped in this conversation, which could easily be dismissed as not being threats at all, but even acts of charity!  For instance, the USCCB side could state “If you have such problems with CRS in your Diocese/country, perhaps it would be best if CRS pulled out?  We certainly don’t want the good faculties of CRS to be involved in even the hint of scandal.”  In which case, Archbishop Tsarahazana would be faced with being responsible – in a twisted sense – for the blocking of millions of aid dollars to his nation.  He either has to embrace CRS as a good worthy of continuation, or all that aid money would likely go elsewhere.

We may see further such press releases – I imagine it will depend on what PRI/LifeSiteNews respond with, if anything.

As I said, that’s what might have occurred if the Church hierarchy – especially in this country – ever lowered itself to the level of conducting hard-nosed realpolitik of a Kissengerian type. It was Henry Kissenger, through the Club of Rome, who first tied US aid money to developing nations to a requirement that those nations get on the population controal bandwagon, and all that implied – contraception, abortifacients, abortion, etc. For the past 40 years this nation has used the carrot and stick approach to get developing nations to accept the sexular pagan paradigm of small families and socialistic government – those nations that embrace the sexular pagan shibolleths of abortion, contraception, etc., get loaded up with aid money (borrowed from China), while those that refuse get heavy political pressure, no aid money, and economic and cultural isolation.

It has proven to be an eminently successful means of separating any number of countries/cultures from their traditional beliefs. A cynic might wonder if the USCCB/CRS could ever stoop to the same level.  It is interesting to note that the same agency that has been involved all over the world in forcing -more or less – countries to legalize contraception, abortion, and the rest, is the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  And USAID provides over 70% of CRS’ budget.

Thank goodness, I am not a cynic. Yet.

Novus Ordo Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark August 5, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, Tradition.
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As per usual, there will be Novus Ordo Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark in Plano at 7pm.  The schola will not be present. As such, I will try, with less excrutiating rapidity, to lead the Leonine prayers after Mass.  Or, perhaps Fr. Hopka would do so!  Since this Mass without schola more approximates a Low Mass in the TLM, after which the Leonine Prayers are typically made.

Do try to come!  As I’ve said before, this Mass is a great step forward for Liturgy in this Diocese, at least for many of us. If this Mass were to draw large crowds, consistently, I know there will be more.  Some of the recently ordained priests, and more in seminary right now, have a perhaps heightened understanding of the value of the use of the Church’s universal language in the Liturgy, and understand the importance of demonstrating a close unity between the pre- and post-conciliar Rites – in concrete terms.  This understanding brightens the prospect for more traditional liturgies, should attendance indicate there is a strong demand for such.  In the present environment, assuming that the growth of Mater Dei should be all the evidence needed to indicate a strong demand for more traditional liturgies in other parts of the Diocese is simply not realistic.  In the minds of some, there is question whether those attached to Mater Dei are, in essence, a local ghetto of “problem Catholics,” or whether those same people are willing to participate in broader diocesan activities. I recognize that impression may not be fair, but it exists, and supporting this Mass at St. Mark would go far to dispell that, I think false, impression.

Having said all that, I also recognize the history of this Mass, and the fact that many who were coming at one time stopped doing so for very specific, and serious, reasons.  I would like to state, gently, that the situation in question has not repeated itself since that original, unfortunate incident.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to try again.

Thanks to all those who do come!


Homeschool conference at St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco this Wednesday August 5, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Sorry I’m late on this, I just found out myself, but Andrew Pudewa will be hosting a conference on homeschooling at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Frisco this Wednesday, August 7 at 6:30pm.  Based on the flyer, it seems the point of the talk is to encourage parents to homeschool, and also provide some resources on how to do it, as many considering homeschooling often have no idea of where to start.  I can say, there are myriad different homeschool programs out there, including a number of Catholic ones like the Seton program. Some are very formal (and more expensive), requiring mailing in of work to be graded and/or online tests which are also graded.  Programs like Seton require you to buy new materials for each student for each grade – so, you can’t recycle the 3rd grade materials you used for an older child.  I know a lot of people tend to get into one homeschool program and stick to it, but in our familiy we draw materials from a variety of resources and basically make our own curriculum.  I say “we,” my wife does essentially all of that, angel that she is.

The main point is, there are many ways to skin the homeschooling cat, and you don’t have to lock yourself into one particular program.  I should also mention that there are several traditional Catholic sites that offer many resources for homeschooling, and we’ve been leaning more and more in that direction.  To that end, I strongly recommend taking a look at what Our Lady of Victory School has to offer.  They seem to have a comprehensive set of materials on numerous subjects (not just the catachesis) that are very traditional/orhtodox in orientation. These materials are grouped by grade, so you can put together your curriculum through all the various materials they have.  We’ve been very pleased with the books we’ve used from them thus far.  Another source is St. Bonaventure Press.  The problem with some, even outwardly Catholic homeschooling curriculums, is that they either import a fair amount of their materials from protestant sources, or they use materials that are modernist in outlook to varying degrees.  At least, in our estimation.  I know this can be a very touchy subject, we’re all trying to do our best within all the demands of our vocations – I’m simply making some suggestions of some helpful resources that many, in our experience, are not aware of.

The details on the homeschool conference are here—–>>>>>Freedomship Education Flyer. I really don’t know much about this speaker, other than I know I’ve seen his name at other local homeschooling conferences.