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REPOST: To live an interior life, we must keep a guard on our senses December 16, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, priests, religious, Tradition, Virtue.
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I first posted this two years ago, but re-reading it today, it’s good enough for a re-post. I pray you find this edifying!

From Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD, Chapter 16, Guard of the Senses:

To live a serious interior life, one that is wholly concentrated on seeking God, it is necessary to prevent the outside world from entering the soul and filling it with distractions; it is necessary, therefore, to guard its doors assiduously.  The senses are precisely the doors which open to earthly things – without a discreet mortification of the senses, the soul, the living temple of the Holy Trinity, becomes like a market place, open to all kinds of traffic, open to every wind of scandal.  A temple fo the Blessed Trinity by Baptism, the consecrated soul or the soul attempting to live an interior life is doubly so by reason of its desire for a close relationship with God, and is thus doubly obliged to guard the recollection of its spirit, in order to make it really a “house of prayer.”  According to St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, “It suffices to keep well closed the outside doors, that is, the senses, so that the soul and the heart cannot go elsewhere than to their center, which is God.”  This was her method: “I shall fix my gaze on my heart and raise my heart to God.”  Mortification of the senses is an indispensable exercise for all souls, that they may become recollected and wholly concentrated upon God.

St. John of the Cross says that we should use our exterior senses in such a way as to not disturb our recollection. “The faculties and senses must not be employed wholly upon things, but only insofar as is unavoidable.  With this exception, all  must be left free for God.”  The “unavoidable” is indicated by what duty requires, and when we use the powers of our soul only to this degree, which is that determined by God’s Will, the soul cannot be harmed in any way.  But the Saint continues: “If there present intself to a man the pleasure of listening to things that tend not to the service and honor of God, let him not desire that pleasure, nor desire to listen to them [thus, I have striven not to listen to much popular music, including the C&W music I love, as an offering to God, and because there is much in that music that is not of God]; and if there present itself the pleasure of looking at things that help him not Godward, let him not desire the pleasure or look at these things; and if in conversation or in aught else, such pleasure present itself, let him act likewise.”  This means that we should not use our senses for anything that is not required by duty or which cannot serve to raise our mind to God.  However, those who are obliged to have almost continual contact with the world will not always be able to keep strictly to this rule [obviously!].  Therefore, St. John of the Cross adds that “if by reason of necessity or expedience the soul cannot avoid seeing or hearing such things, it suffices that he desire not to have this pleasure.”  In other words, it is necessary to learn how to pass over such sense satisfactions, without stopping at the pleasure we find int them, nor allowing them to take full possession of our senses, thus always maintaining that interior  liberty which permits the soul to elevate itself to God in all things.  Make use of the senses only insofar as is necessary; the rest must be “left free for God.”

[END QUOTE]

Obviously, the above guidance is most challenging.  One can see some of the severity of Carmelite spirituality in the above – severity in terms of self-denial and denial of the world and all its “charms.”  Although my family and I have given up TV/cable, I have many attractions that present themselves visually – the internet has become a sort of “replacement TV” in terms of entertainment at times for me.  There are endless videos to watch on Youtube, the constant back and forth of politics, scandals of the world, interesting technical items – all of these can be or are a distraction from keeping the mind focused on God.  I know a good man who has given up the internet for Advent – that is a glorious sacrbifice, and would be quite challenging for me.  That doesn’t mean I want you to go away (I’m kiling myself here!)!!  We are not all called to Carmelite spirituality, although all authentically Catholic spirituality should look at the world at least warily.  I note with some irony my own two posts earlier today of a purely frivolous nature – shame on me!

We need to be very careful what we allow into our minds and souls.  Hopefully, if we are growing in faith, we should feel a stronger and stronger attraction to surround ourselves with things of the Faith and perhaps have a diminishing interest in things secular.  But everyone needs a break sometimes – even the good nuns! (and thus the reason for me occasional off-topic posts).  But the problem for many of us, myself included, is that we fill our minds and hearts with waaay more distractions than we need, and those distractions have a way of worming their way into our interior thoughts and even prayers, so that we are distracted and not focused on giving glory to God during those intimate periods of reflection.

Perhaps some thoughts to turn over in the mind as we head into the final days of Advent?  Perhaps we can make a resolution to greet our Lord this year with a heart more focused on serving Him than on our own desires?  I pray that I may do so.  And I pray that everyone may be abundantly blessed this coming Christmas season!

Formerly Catholic Belgium approves exceedingly liberal euthanasia law – for children December 16, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, Basics, disaster, error, General Catholic, horror, martyrdom, sadness, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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As if enough children were not killed via abortion, formerly Catholic Belgium has now approved the world’s most liberal laws approving euthanasia for children – with no lower age limit!  Post-birth abortion is here to stay:

the Belgian Senate voted in the night to agree on the euthanasia for children today. The Belgian euthanasia law, which previously forbade euthanasia for minors, now may also be applied to very young children of any age.

With 50 votes to 17, the Belgian Senate approved the amendment. Now the House must vote on it, then the second and final vote in the Senate. Only a quarter of the senators refused to vote for euthanasia by children’s consent. The Belgian euthanasia law stipulates that the patient concerned must submit a request for euthanasia to the judggment of a psychologist who will evaluate the suitability of the applicant. A child is considered with good reason as having no legal capacity, who can not vote and does not have a license. However, for the vast majority of Belgian senators, a three year old child may be able to decide to want to be euthanized.

Therefore, critics accuse the proponents of intending to create a law for the annoying and costly, in order to be able to kill the disabled and sick children legally. The mechanisms to “protect” against abuse, are pure farce, as already is proven in a dramatic way by the euthanasia law in force since 2002 for adults. The ability to euthanize children, would not “help” the kids, but allows adults, to whom they are entrusted, to do away with them.

The Belgian euthanasia law is the most liberal in the world. The senators refused to set an age limit up to which at least one child is safe when in need of protection of his life. A five year old child suffering from “excruciating pain” or a terminal illness is in the “final phase”, and can be euthanised in Belgium if the relatives are in agreement and a psychologist’s judgment is obtained. The safety barriers, however, apply in practice only as “a nice facade for a murder law.

Ahead of the vote, several pediatricians supported the euthanizing of children. Some of these doctors are also active in Catholic children’s hospitals. Other doctors warn on euthanasiestop.be of the “dangerous piece of legislation which puts the safety of our seriously ill children at risk”. After approval by the Senate, these doctors have accused the senators, “to have voted for a law without weighing the consequences. The value of a child’s life now has a price which is set by adults, of which the children will certainly be affected in the desired sense. Sick children do not think about euthanasia.

“With great rapidity a new form of barbarism is spreading.”  Indeed.  How long before laws are passed allowing unwanted infants and children to be abandoned to die by parents, no questions asked?  Or, being the very “compassionate” culture that we are, and not wanting the little dears to suffer, I’m sure we’ll find some painless or “humane” way to put them out of our misery. This is simply horrifying.

I have had young children in the hospital a number of times.  They did not have some dreadful disease like cancer, they did not suffer as badly as some, but they suffered, and sometimes quite a bit.  A few times a couple of our children were very, very ill. And yet, the idea that the appropriate response was to “end their suffering” by killing them was the furthest possible thing from our mind.  It is unthinkable that a three  year old child, suffering horribly perhaps, would be asked (or forced) to die.  It is beyond my comprehension that parents, ANY parent, could ever want that for their child, no matter how great their suffering. Even the thought breaks my heart.

When will all this nightmare of satanic evil end?  That is the thing about our culture, everyone, from doctors to parents to legislators to nurses to who scads of regular folks, fails in their duties. And then we create laws in which we try to appear virtuous, when we are actually committing acts of monstrous barbarity.  And so still more victims are offered up to moloch.

But remember, Archbishop Muller claims that the new Mass is the best possible tool to oppose the exploding barbarity of the neo-pagan West.  So this must just be some strange outlier.

Wow – very moving anti-abortion vid from Poland December 16, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, contraception, disaster, General Catholic, horror, secularism, sickness, Society, true leadership, Virtue.
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Uff da this is hard to watch.  I will tell you this is a pretty explicit video. Those with sensitive, well developed consciences may not want to watch.  It shows a woman having a late term abortion in some gory detail.  But this is also a critically important matter that deserves to be seen by the world, to be confronted with the reality of what abortion really is.  

This video comes from Poland, one of the few Western countries that is in some ways still demonstrably Catholic, even though the rot of the past several decades is starting to set in there in observable ways, too.  I can’t think of a pro-life video as powerful, nor as openly Catholic, as this one, in quite some time.  

Having a Catholic culture, even one with serious and growing faults, makes a difference:

 

Cartoon on FFI situation December 16, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, martyrdom, persecution, religious, Saints, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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The blog That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill has made a cartoon of the Franciscans of the Immaculate situation, especially regarding the “oath” to be administered wherein the Franciscans will have to swear fealty and obedience to the many headed beast that is Vatican II, and, it seems, even its incredibly ill-defined “spirit.”

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The cartoon is a bit of a joke incorporating some of the text from Fr. Jon Hunwicke’s own analysis of this oath, and how self-contradictory and even illusory such an oath would be.

How can one swear allegiance to a set of documents that are often self-contradictory?  And as regards the “spirit,” it has been in almost constant opposition to many direct declarations of Vatican II from the beginning.  As Fr. Hunwicke notes:

An oath requiring subscription to precise doctrinal statements, such as the Anti-Modernist oath or subscription to dogmatic decrees of a pope or council, may be hard enough to parse accurately in hermeneutic terms. But those problems are nothing compared with giving meaning to the concept of “accepting” the body of documents emerging from Vatican II, a “pastoral Council”. The Superior of SSPX said that his brethren accepted “95%” of the Council, and asked whether ‘liberals’ (one thinks of the associations of dissident priests in Ireland, Austria, and elsewhere, and the recent meeting of IMWAC … International Movement We Are Church) accept anything like as much. Of course they don’t. Does Hans Kueng? And Fr Aidan Nichols has said that one particular Conciliar decree “occasions a genuine difficulty for orthodox Catholics”. Take, also, the Conciliar decree on the Church in “the Modern [hodiernus = ‘of today’] World”. The ‘today’ of 2014 is many ways  very different from the ‘today’ of 1963. The Holy Father has just pointed this out (EG 84; alluding to the ‘naive optimism’ of the conciliar period, and adding: “We are more realistic”). So has the Magisterium decided which parts of that document still apply and which do not? Or is everyone free to decide that for themselves?

The gist seems to be, Vatican II means whatever the powers that be in Rome at a particular moment in time take it to mean.  And given how vaguely worded and even self-defeating many of the documents of Vatican II were and are, this could mean enormous swings from one pontificate – or episcopate – to the next, with all the self-contradiction, confusion, and despair that implies.

One of the most tragic aspects of the materialist-oriented construct of “democratic liberalism” the vast majority of us live in today is that the “power of the people” is really an illusion, that with the undoing of the Rights of God and their replacement with the rights of man there is no solid foundation for society.  We have thus devolved into a near-totalitarian construct where the only thing that matters is power, who wields it, and what they want.  Is the Church to be the same?  Is will to power the name of the game, now?

What happened to the rock of stability that the papacy has been for centuries?  Is it now to swerve wildly in one direction after another depending on who holds the Chair of Peter?

On the plus side, all the suffering going on is a huge opportunity for mortification and sanctification!  Speaking of, I pray you are keeping the Franciscans of the Immaculate in your prayers?

Archbishop Muller: Novus Ordo Mass has crushed cultural godlessness December 16, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disconcerting, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, sadness, scandals, secularism, shocking, the return.
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This is one of those “Wait, did he really say that?” moments that come around every once and a while (or not, we’ve been getting a whole bevy of whoppers of late) that make one question the rationality of the person in question.  In this case, as reported by The Tablet and picked up by Louis Verrecchio, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Gerhard Muller has claimed that the Novus Ordo Mass has staunched the slide of the West into neo-pagan godlessness, and if you fail to realize that, why, you’re just a lousy Catholic:

“It is precisely because the liturgy was renewed in spirit and rite that it has proved an effective remedy against a godless culture.”

The renewed liturgy was “a good means of evangelizing”, he said. “All Catholics who think and feel with the Church realize that the reform was a success.”

Some comments from Verrecchio:

Make no mistake, he isn’t simply expressing his personal opinion here; he is letting us know that “the mind of the Church,” read, the mind of those now running the show in Rome, has changed.  No longer do we have a pope who recognizes, as Pope Benedict did, that the so-called “reform” of the sacred liturgy following Vatican II has been a disaster.

In other words, no longer is the state of the liturgy understood as a problem to be solved, it’s considered the solution, and more than this, you can be sure that this presumed “success” of the liturgical reform will form a substantial part of the bedrock upon which the “reform” of the Church’s structures to come will be constructed.

Obviously, there has been a sea change at the highest levels of the Church. Anyone with eyes to see can discern this, but it seems many refuse to do so, some for valid reasons, many for less so.

“All Catholics who think and feel with the Church recognize the reform was a success.”  Well, then, I guess the previous pontiff did not “think and feel with the Church?”  He most certainly recognized the “reform,” or, really, revolution against the Liturgy, as one of the biggest calamities afflicting the Church, and said so on many occasions.  Pope Benedict thought that reform could be righted and made effectual, through moderation and adopting various aspects of the traditional Liturgy, but he plainly held that the Liturgy as most Catholics experienced it was a “fabrication” of dubious merit and with the inherent tendency to undermine the right practice of the Faith.

Muller is no fool, politically.  He knows which way the wind is blowing.  We now have two very recent statements from extremely influential individuals in the Church to the effect that “tradition bad, “reform” good.”  And not just good, but something which all Catholics must wholeheartedly and enthusiastically embrace, or else.  The message is extremely simple: there is a new sheriff in town, and he is laying down the reformist law with uncompromising thoroughness.

How many statistics could I cite that would prove Muller wrong in his proclamation?  How much have vocations declined in the West since 1965?  How many priests left their apostolates?  How many religious orders have been closed down?  How many churches are being torn down in France every week due to total lack of attendance?  How much have conversions to the Faith, or reversions, or baptisms, or marriages, collapsed, in the last 40+ years?  And yet the new Liturgy is “a good means of evangelizing?”

I had hoped I would stay away from this topic this week. I guess I failed.

MUST WATCH – Video on Franciscans of Immaculate situation December 16, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, disconcerting, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Papa, persecution, religious, scandals, secularism, shocking, the return, Tradition.
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Please watch the video below from The Remnant.  Michael Matt interviews Christopher Ferrara on the ongoing persecution of the FFIs, and what it means for the Church.

There is much insightful analysis below, as well as recognition of a huge amount of scandal and hypocrisy, a good bit of which I myself missed.  I’ll add some brief summations below the video:

If after watching this video and perhaps meditating on all the coverage from last week on the absolutely savage persecution of the FFIs, you still do not think this Pope has an inveterate, ideological hostility towards the entire cause that is known as “Tradition” within the Church, I’d like to enter into a long-term contract involving extensive real estate investments with you.

I saw some commentary from an Opus Dei priest still trying to pretend this matter has to do with “dissension” within the order.  So, dissension by FIVE whole friars (out of 100 times that many, or 1%) is sufficient cause to completely all but obliterate a growing, vibrant, holy religious order, THEN EVERY SINGLE OTHER RELIGIOUS ORDER IN THE WORLD SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE THEY ALL HAVE TRIVIAL AMOUNTS OF SUCH “DISSENT.”  Dealing with dissent from such a tiny percentage is the typical job of an order’s leadership, and certainly hasn’t required such a huge and destructive intervention from the Vatican over the past 50 years.

As Matt and Ferrara note repeatedly, to anyone capable of cogent thought, whether inside or outside the Church, this persecution looks absolutely terrible.  We have been told for decades that strict enforcement of discipline was “impossible” in today’s Church due to nebulous changes brought about by the Council.  Thus, religious orders totally gone over to the most extreme, hateful heresies, seminaries so full of sexual perversion and even rampant boy-rape as to boggle the mind, and the most open, flagrant graft and outright thievery at the Vatican Bank have gone almost totally unpunished.

There has not been a religious order dealt with so severely in DECADES.  You might have to go back before WWII to find a similar such violent suppression.  And for what?  The FFIs are NOT EVEN TRADITIONALIST!  THEY STILL OFFER THE NOVUS ORDO ALL THE TIME!  Oh, but they had a drift, a drift towards Tradition!  CRUSH THEM!

As Matt observes, don’t think the secular media don’t notice this massive, hypocritical disparity.  The next time some bishop is exposed as a boy rapist, the Vatican won’t be able to say “oh, we can’t do much, we’re so sorry,” the media will quickly bring up the FFI episode.  Apparently, there IS a wherewithal to engage in harsh, even radically uncharitable and savage discipline in the Vatican, but it is reserved for faithful Catholics. The heretics get a pass.

It is inconceivable that such massive moral, doctrinal, and financial corruption can exist in the Church for so long, with constant statements from the highest levels that sadly, nothing can be done, and now we are confronted with THIS. As the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  There is not a will to stamp out the hideous, festering scandal of a huge homosexual cabal in the priesthood and even Vatican, there is no will to enforce doctrinal orthodoxy, but there certainly IS a will to insist that all genuflect at all times before the nebulous “spirit of Vatican II,” whatever that means.

So, it appears the only Dogma left in the Church today is that of swearing fealty to the modernist revolution rapidly destroying the Church.  Do you know, the Arians did the same thing, requiring those who had fought them to take oaths now claiming adherence to the Arian heresy and rejecting Jesus Christ as the 2nd Person of the Trinity?   Well, modernists make you reject a good deal more than that.  And thus, the FFIs, such good, holy men, are now being made to sign what amounts to a modernist oath, swearing allegiance to Vatican II, or whatever that means.

I agree very much with Matt and Ferrara’s assessment of the Pope’s enormous worldly popularity, including man of the year and all that.  It is a tremendous danger for a prelate or pope to be loved and adored by the world.

If one wants to speak of a “war,” or a repression, the biggest war Matt/Ferrara see right now is Pope Francis’ war against the previous two pontificates. He appears to be trying to undo as much as he possibly can from the past 35 years, as quickly as he can.

One last thing, Michael Matt points out that Bishop Fellay now looks very wise to have rejected the Vatican’s “peace offer” in 2012.  I find it difficult to argue with that assessment.