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Now for something profoundly uplifting: beautiful sight and sound February 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgy, religious, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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There is a beautiful chant, a lament, precisely, for the Fall of Constantinople.  It must date from after 1453, but it is a classic eastern chant.  I found this on Orbis Catholicus.  Truly beautiful:

To go along with the great aural experience are these glorious photos from the Transalpine Redemptorists, from both Papa Stronsay and Christchurch:

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Let me tell you, the Redemptorists don’t have a lot of money, and even though their chapel is very small, it is far, far more beautiful than 99% of parishes out there.  Great beauty does not have to cost huge sums of money.

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I love the clouds of incense. Even more, I love candlelit Masses.  When, oh when, will we have one locally?!?  It doesn’t have to be a Rorate Mass to be candlelit.  What do you think they did before electric lights?  The Vatican didn’t have electric lights until the 30s!

 

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Some might say, “well, the people won’t be able to follow along.  They won’t be able to see.  The older people, especially, will complain.”  And while I think it is in general very important to follow along at Mass, I also think the Mass is something that at certain times should simply be experienced.  Lighting by natural flame has a special, captivating quality, especially to those of us inured by bright artificial lighting.

The good Redemptorists seem to get it.

 

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I thought something uplifting might be in order after the previous post.

The American “gay mafia” priest’s network February 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, priests, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity.
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There was been great discussion in Rome, going back over a year, on the 300 page dossier on the antics of the local “gay lobby,” or “homosexual mafia,” in the priesthood there.  It is felt by many that this dossier played a decisive role in Pope Benedict’s decision to abdicate.

Of course, this was a great scandal – as was Fr. Dariusz Oka’s unprecedented public analysis of the homosexual network among the Polish clergy.  All this seems new to someone like me, who started getting really involved in the Faith about 8 or so years ago.  But these kinds of revelations have been going on longer than that, going back over a decade, at least to the original outbreak of the “priest abuse crisis” that rocked the Church in this country in the early 2000s.  There is a disturbing amount of data out there.  Suffice it to say, sodomite penetration of the priesthood is a near-worldwide phenomenon.

In this vein, I have started reading Likoudis’ Amchurch Comes Out, and it makes for startling, frightening reading.  This book was published in 2002, when the “sex abuse crisis” was at its height.  But it seems, to me at least, that much of the data contained within has been lost in the creep of time.  Before I excerpt a couple bits, here are some bullet points to always keep in mind:

  1. Over 1000 priests were found guilty of abusing children, the vast majority of them pubescent boys
  2. This scandal has affected every. single. diocese.
  3. Homosexual priests staff – or staffed, at least well into the 2000s – some of the most sensitive, influential posts at the USCCB and in some of the most powerful archdioceses.  That put their influence far out of proportion to their numbers.
  4. Rational people do not upend a Church, or wage a war of oppression, over points of liturgical detail or ecumenical procedure.  They wage such wars in order to squash institutional objections to certain kinds of behavior, especially sexual behavior.

Now, a couple excerpts, from the Introduction:

“…..it has become obvious that the most important issue facing the Catholic people in this country is the rise of a broad-based, exceedingly aggressive homosexual movement, and that the “movers and shakers” of the Catholic Church in this country – bishops, priests, religious, academics, journalists, publishers, and laity – have become co-conspirators in a revolutionary campaign to disorient men, women, and children from the moral law and natural law as it applies to human sexuality. ”

“……..Not a single diocese has been spared the anguish and embarrassment of seeing its priests hauled before a judge and exposed in the media. But most Catholics are completely oblivious to the fact that the public outing of these clerical sexual perverts serves a very valuable function for the sexual revolutionaries in the Church: they demoralize faithful Catholics and deconstruct the traditional understanding and practice of the Faith.”

“The evidence is now irrefutable that an influential and powerful coterie within the Catholic Church – well-embedded and well-protected by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and their peers in the police, the courts, legislatures, and the media – is successfully advancing a sexual liberation agenda that will not end until every social stigma attached to any sexual activity, no matter how bizarre, has been erased.  [literally – dogs, kids, giraffes, you name it.  What will happen when the people who need to kill others to get their sexual thrill come along?  I think it obvious…….]  ………And through all of this, the leadership in the Catholic Church in the United States has pursued a homosexualizing agenda in its grammar and high schools, colleges, and seminaries, its social service agencies…….catechetics, and pastoral ministries at the diocesan and parish level.”

In a later portion, Likoudis reveals a report sent to the US bishops in the early 1980s – that 80s, several years before there was ANY public coverage of the priest boy rape nightmare – that forecast $1 billion in payouts due to priest sex abuse in the coming years:

“With Greene’s [1989] report, many Catholics learned for the first time of a “secret” paper written by Louisiana attorney Roy Mouton and Fr. Thomas Doyle, OP, for the US bishops entitled “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner,” which estimated the problem of pedophile priests would cost the Church in this country $1 billion over the decade from 1985 to 1995.”

This report was sent to all bishops, and discussed at length in the “private session” portion of the annual USCCB (then called the NCCB) meetings.  Thus, the claim that bishops were collectively or individually blindsided by the priest boy rape imbroglio was always patently false.

I am certain there will be more as I read through this book.  Maybe this is old hat to all of you, but most of this data predates my active involvement in the Faith, so it’s new to me.  It’s amazing how things like this can be forgotten, or at least drastically minimized.  Yes, folks recognize there was a crisis, but at times I get the impression folks think this is all in the past.  It’s still waiting for us out there. At some future date, we’ll hear more on this, I am certain of it, because the root problem remains.

 

 

Two important statements from Pope Francis to note February 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, General Catholic, Papa, Society, the return, true leadership.
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Pope Francis, whose pontificate I must admit has left me quite bewildered at times, has made two important recent statements that deserve note.  They deserve note not because they contain anything unusual for a bishop, let alone a pope, to say, but because they stand in marked contrast to the image the secular media and progressive elements in the Church have tried to present of this pope as a harbinger of radical changes in the Church (although, it must be added, that Pope Francis has done a fair amount to perpetuate this easy, self-serving interpretation).

Nonetheless, two recent public statements from the Holy Father show clearly that he is aware of the crisis in the Faith.  The first was a recent exhortation to Notre Dame University, exhorting that sadly fallen institution to return to Catholic orthodoxy and not allow the Dogmas of the Faith to be weakened or undermined (yes, it’s a little late for that, now):

Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

Emphasis in original.  Secondly, and more importantly, was Pope Francis’ declaration during a sermon last week that Catholics can neither pick and choose which doctrine to observe, nor use it as we please:

Speaking during his homily at daily Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis defined the three ‘pillars’ of belonging as ‘humility,’ ‘fidelity’ and ‘special service.’  [change “special service” to charity, and I think it might make more universal sense]

Pope Francis said that fidelity was the ‘second pillar.’ He said: “Fidelity to the Church, fidelity to its teaching; fidelity to the Creed; fidelity to the doctrine, safeguarding this doctrine. Humility and fidelity. Even Paul VI reminded us that we receive the message of the Gospel as a gift and we need to transmit it as a gift, but not as a something of ours: it is a gift that we received.”  [Yes, a gift, but also much more. It is the very bedrock upon which all the virtues, and the very Faith itself, is built. There cannot be a Faith without knowing what it believes and how to practice it.  Faith without dogmas would be a poor philosophy or, worse, just a generalized guide to living like one of the 5000 secular self help books produced every year.  Dogma is how Christ communicates to us, through His Church, how He requires us to live to be pleasing to Him and achieve salvation.]

He continued: “And be faithful in this transmission. Because we have received and we have to gift a Gospel that is not ours, that is Jesus’, and we must not – he would say – become masters of the Gospel, masters of the doctrine we have received, to use it as we please”.  [And in fact, it is much more Pharisaical to twist Scripture to one’s secular, worldly ends than anything supposed traditionalist “pharisees” have ever done.  The Pharisees had distorted God’s revelation and turned much of their faith into a worldly caste system, with them at the top, naturally.  Modern progressives seek to do much the same.]

Quoting Pope Paul VI, Pope Francis said that it was an “absurd dichotomy” to love Christ without loving the Church. He said: “The Christian is not a baptised who receives baptism and then goes on his way. The first fruit of baptism is to make you belong to the Church, the People of God. You cannot understand a Christian without the Church.

“This is why the great Paul VI said that it is an absurd dichotomy to love Christ without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church……

Those are important points, but at the same time, they seem to contradict some other high profile statements the pope has made.  That is one problem with speaking constantly, every day, without a filter.   I rather wish, from my own narrow viewpoint, that papal statements were focused, carefully reviewed, prayed over intently, and rare.  But nobody asked me.

It is my daily prayer that we will see more and more statements like the above from our Holy Father Francis, and fewer and fewer of the type that have appeared in various interviews and some of the less edifying sermons at the Doma Marthae.

We shall see.

Start Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes today! February 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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The Third Class Feast of the Apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes is February 11.  The Novena should have started yesterday, but I wasn’t here, was I?  But you can start it today and finish on the Feast proper, no problem.

Below is the short form of the Novena.  EWTN has a much longer form with individual daily prayers.  Your  choice, but due to space constraints I’ll only list the short one here:

 O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfort to the lady of lourdesAfflicted,

you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it  a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. 

 I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain,  O loving Mother, the granting of my requests.  (mention your intentions here)

Through gratitude for favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.)

Thanks to MJD for the prayer and reminder.

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Tolkien is a big problem? Traditional-type priest says so. February 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disconcerting, error, General Catholic, Interior Life, priests, sadness, Society, Spiritual Warfare.
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I have never been a fan of Tolkien.  While still a kid, I tried reading The Hobbit, but I found it – even at 11 or 12 – boring and pretentious.  That opinion never changed. But I know Tolkien has a ton of fans.  I have been surprised how popular he is among even many tradition-leaning or -embracing Catholics.  The recent movies are also widely embraced.

Before I continue, I should say that I have not completed either video below.  Having said that, what I’ve seen is enough to convince me that this priest – who is anonymous, per Audio/VideoSancto rules – may be on to something.

The priest argues below that Tolkien’s writing, often perceived as “safe” or even virtuous  by many faithful Catholics (Tolkien was, after all, reputed to be a devout Catholic), is actually problematic and/or disordered in many respects.  The talk is long, taken from a conference, and the priest-speaker goes into a great deal of detail.  In essence, he finds in Tolkien’s mythology a sort of competitor for the Christian ethos, and he finds numerous detailed elements that could, possibly quite unintentionally, plant ideas in Catholic minds that could later end them in trouble.

Part I:

Part II:

Now, before anyone gets excited, I want to say that while I think the priest raises many valid points of concern, it is up to the individual soul – well formed, I pray – to determine the risks, if any, posed by reading Tolkien and how to proceed based on this analysis.  I am not taking a strong stand here, declaiming Tolkien and all his works.  As I said, I’ve never been a fan, and I haven’t read fiction in a decade or more.  I’m more of a non-fiction kind of guy.  But I do know a lot of people have a strong attachment to Tolkien and his writings, so this might be upsetting.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

I also want to say something else:  while I’m certain the priest in the videos above is motivated solely by concern for souls and defending Holy Mother Church, I do think we can almost make a habit of scandalizing ourselves, or looking for things to cast aside to prove our superior orthodoxy.  I see a little of that here and there.  I say that only as a slight note of caution, and I don’t intend to dwell too much on it (and bear in mind, I haven’t listened to half of the above, yet).  I strongly recommend reading mostly books related to the Faith, especially those with an author who has an St. in front of their name, but I understand many people cannot only and ever read specifically Catholic books.  I read some secular books from time to time.

At the same time, I recently came to the realization that an author I really liked in  my younger, much more pagan, life, that I recognized held some bad ideas even at that time, now appears to me an unmitigated disaster and a moral monster.  I had already turned away from him, so to speak, knowing now as a Catholic that he espoused some wrong and even immoral beliefs.  But I had a sort of epiphany of late reading something completely unrelated that made me realize what an unmitigated disaster this guy really is.   I need to scour my library and destroy any copies of his books that remain (I don’t think there are any, but some might have made the move).

And I mean destroy.  Arthur C. Clarke was such an advocate of wanton immorality and extreme partisan of God-hatred, I cannot in good conscience put his books back into circulation.

Having said that, I’m not putting Tolkien in the same class.  There may be problems, but he’s not actively advocating for the death of religion and the promotion of the worst kinds of lust.

UPDATE: One final note.  Sort of contradicting myself above, but I would say that the fantasy genre in general is one that is best avoided.  Not so much because of problems with Tolkien, per se’, but most of the rest of the genre is highly problematic to outright immoral. My old best friend had a wall full of that kind of stuff, as did the previous owner of our new home, and if the covers are any indication, the vast majority of those books contain imagery, scenes, and ideas that are extremely toxic.  Tolkien is probably one of the most tame in that genre, but much of what has been published in it in the past 40-50 years is just trash.

Now, if Tolkien serves as a sort of entre into that genre, then that would be a very powerful reason to avoid him.  I think most well-formed Catholics could make the distinction, but some less well formed souls could fall into really bad things, potentially.

Just a thought.

Non sequitur but amazing…..some poor soul gave away a $30k WWII assault rifle for $200 gift card February 3, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, foolishness, General Catholic, non squitur, silliness, Society.
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For aficionados of WWII history, especially those who fall into the “Nazis/SS were really cool” side of things, the StG 44 is one of those “magic bullets” the Nazis developed that if Hitler had only not interfered with so much, could have changed the course of the war.  I’m highly dubious of such claims, and even if the Germans had managed to prolong the war, they would have only made Berlin the first target for the atomic bomb, instead of Hiroshima.

Nevertheless, the StG 44 was the first modern assault rifle, chambering a mid-caliber round halfway between the pistol-type rounds used in submachine guns already in service, and the full-scale rifle rounds used in bolt actions and semi-auto rifles then predominate in service.  It was clearly the progenitor of the AK-47, even if Kalashnikov radically improved the gas operating system and simplified the design.  Each StG consisted of many sheetmetal and welded parts, making it expensive and difficult to build (and so, typically German).  It was also rather flimsy in the field, and prone to damage (again, typically German).  About 3/4 million were built, but they are not terribly common today, so that a working StG in good condition easily fetches well into the 5 figure range.

And so it was that a truly ignorant soul took his rare and very expensive rifle to a government gun buy-back in California, and proceeded to get a whopping $200 gift certificate for his $30k weapon:

A gun buyback program in Los Angeles, California turned up a person willing to sell a World War 2 $30,000 Sturmgewehr 44 for a $200 gift card. The StG-44 was the first modern assault rifle built by the Nazis, who would have likely been big fans of the LAPD’s tactics.

This person gave away an antique  gun isn’t the only person to make this mistake. Another person in Hartford, Connecticut sold one at a police buyback but the officers were nice and told him what he had so he could sell it for what it was worth. “This is a gun that should actually be in a museum rather than in a shredder,” said one of the Hartford police officers.

Nazis loved gun control. That’s why they issued a nationwide registry in order to have a list of who had them so they could disarm and murder them when it came time for the final solution. Americans during World War 2 hated Nazis and their gun control tactics. In 1941, just before Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Congress reaffirmed gun rights by prohibiting registration. And in 1968 two bills proposed to register guns were debated with opponents recalling the days that Nazis asked people to register their weapons.

Nowadays, we don’t need registration because people are willing to turn over their guns, even antique pieces of history, for a mere pittance.

There is a video at the link, where one can see, in addition to the StG 44, a number of other firearms worth far, far more than $200.  Maybe most of them were stolen.  It made me sad and mad to see several pristine looking SKS there on the table, destined for the shredder.  All these things achieve is to disarm law-abiding citizens and drive up the price of firearms.  Brilliant strategy.

There’s one born every minute?